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The clue to the sound of Bowie’s last album of the 20th century was there for all to see on its cover. There he sat, Bowie cradling his younger self (complete with Earthling hair). Was this the David Bowie of 1999 saying goodbye to the David Bowie of the 1990s, the aging rock star who had embraced electronica and drum & bass? Hours definitely feels like it’s the beginning of a new chapter in the Bowie story, even if its sounds echo his past.

The album had an unusual genesis. Bowie and longtime collaborator Reeves Gabrels had, in early 1999, been invited to contribute to the soundtrack of a video game, Omikron: The Nomad Soul. The commission would provide the springboard for the Hours album, and seven of its songs would, in moderately different guises, be included in the game.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Long Live Vinyl - Vinyl Buyer's Bible: David Bowie
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Other Articles in this Issue

Long Live Vinyl
The 27 studio albums, innumerable singles, multitude
Since his untimely passing just days after releasing his final album in 2016, the music world has been in mourning for David Bowie. Andy Price presents an exhaustive guide to collecting the great man on vinyl…
Before Deram, there was Pye and although this incredibly early slice of Bowie history was recorded by the band he was fronting at the time, their credit mysteriously disappeared from the label. Unsurprisingly, the band didn’t last long after that
This reworked cut was a commercial failure on both sides of the Atlantic. While that wasn’t great news for Bowie at the time, it is now great news for contemporary collectors. A Norwegian picture sleeve is a particularly rare beast sought after by the die-hards
Better known as an album track on Aladdin Sane, this Marc Bolan-inspired track had a pre-history as an early Mercury 45. If you ever come across the German pressing with a pristine picture sleeve we’ll be very surprised
Bowie’s man-canine genitals were deemed unsuitable for public consumption and airbrushed out of the artwork. However, some sleeves still exist and to Bowie hardcore completists they are regarded, appropriately enough, as the dog’s bollocks
David Bowie’s Deram debut was a notorious flop, but it also proved to be the making of a musical icon. Paul Trynka charts this key phase in David’s journey…
It may have been panned by the critics upon release and hardly sold any copies at all, but the demand from completists for Bowie’s self-titled debut remains strong
Bowie’s second eponymous LP is, for many, the first major album in the canon, featuring some strong songwriting that hints at the greatness to come. Ground Control to Andy Price
One of his heaviest albums and the record where many of the core ingredients of David Bowie began to crystallise, Andy Price explains why it’s Bowie’s first bona fide classic
Cartoon cowboys, blue satin dresses and Bowie’s head on a winged hand, the sheer number of sleeve variants alone is enough to make the average collector feel queasy
Bowie’s first RCA release was a watershed moment, which saw him feed a wide array of styles through his unique prism to create his first work of genius. John Pickford faces the strange
Bowie’s much-loved fourth album saw him on the brink of superstardom. Numerous reissues and variants exist, with the slightest of differences creating a treasure trove of collectables
The record that propelled Bowie and his extraterrestrial alter-ego to super-stardom, Ziggy Stardust is still a mesmeric listen. Andy Price leans back on his radio…
With more copies manufactured from the outset, there are less variants out there. Saying that, the Japanese first issue complete with obi strip is still desirable
Following Ziggy wasn’t an issue for Bowie, who by 1973 had begun to live as the glam-rock messiah. Aladdin Sane reflected this new outlook. Meanwhile, Andy Price is waiting in the wings…
With over 100,000 pre-orders for Bowie’s post-Ziggy album, a first press is hardly rare, but a mint copy still takes some finding. Look out also for Japanese and Italian variants
Bowie’s next move was to pause his prodigal skill for writing new material and release a covers album of assorted tracks that influenced his younger self. Andy Price stacks up the 45s
Bowie’s first major post-Ziggy work was a dark onslaught of Orwellian paranoia. Andy Price explores an album of new surroundings, and the artist’s ‘glitter apocalypse’
A funky detour to the heart of Philly saw Bowie reinventing his look and his sound to produce a mesmeric album of style and substance. Mark Lindores feels the soul
Homesickness, coke and a passion for electronic music fuelled the emergence of the Thin White Duke, who took centre stage for Bowie’s most experimental work yet. Mark Lindores buys a ticket
Bowie fled LA for Berlin, seeking seclusion and creative freedom in Europe. Andy Price draws the blinds, sits right down and spins the first instalment of the Berlin Trilogy
Bowie’s love letter to Berlin followed hot on the heels of Low, towards the end of one of the most prolific years in any artist’s life. Andy Price can’t say no to “Heroes”…
The value of Bowie’s 12th album is increasing steadily, with some white label variants proving to be valuable, but, as ever, beware of bootleg and counterfeit copies
The Berlin Trilogy’s final entry saw Bowie ditching the ambient instrumentals for songs and experimental vocals. An irrelevant conclusion? Not a bit of it, argues Will Salmon
At the end of the 70s, David Bowie’s re-engagement with pop music led to one of his most celebrated records. Andy Price says you better not mess with Scary Monsters
Both the UK and US first pressings of Scary Monsters are relatively commonplace. Bowie collectors, meanwhile, will have their eyes on the mythical purple vinyl edition
David Bowie’s blistering array of singles soundtracked the summer of 1983, with the parent album becoming his best-selling record. Andy Price puts on his red shoes
Bowie raised his profile but alienated his fans on an album that sits among his most challenging listens. But is it really as bad as all that? Will Salmon spends an evening with David…
Bowie followed the disappointing Tonight with a record many consider to be his nadir. Despite this, argues Andy Price, the LP does offer glimpses of the once-inventive artist who could still surprise
Do the two Tin Machine records even count as ‘Bowie albums’? Well, they were certainly a creative motivator that helped rejuvenate the great man for a new decade. Andy Price opens the Tin Machine…
Tin Machine’s final album was released to an even more muted reception than the first, despite it containing hints that Bowie’s spark was returning. Andy Price goes back into the machine…
The renaissance starts here! Bowie’s first solo LP in six years was an album of unions, reunions and political turmoil. His best since Scary Monsters? Too right, says Will Salmon
Weird? Difficult? Pretentious? Most definitely. But 1. Outside also finds David Bowie at his art-rock best. Will Salmon tolls the bell for Bowie’s mid-90s reunion with Brian Eno…
“Bowie’s drum ‘n’ bass record?” Will Salmon argues that Earthling is, in fact, a back-to-basics pop album that’s far better than its reputation suggests…
1997’s Earthling witnessed Bowie experimenting with drum ‘n’ bass and electronica. Original copies weren’t pressed in any great numbers, so remain in demand
Bowie’s end-of-the-century album finds him in reflective mood and embracing the past, while plotting a new future. Steve O’Brien re-examines Hours…
Bowie’s reunion with trusted producer Tony Visconti resulted in his most acclaimed album in years. Steve O’Brien examines Heathen’s haunted melancholy…
First pressings are rare due to low numbers, but there are also some very collectable variants. These include a special orange vinyl pressing rarely seen on the open market
Bowie’s last album for almost a decade was partly influenced by the post-9/11 landscape but still doggedly managed to raise a smile. Steve Harnell delves into the fascinating diversity of Reality
Refreshed and rejuvenated following his decade-long studio sojourn, Bowie’s return saw him wax lyrical on subjects old and new. As Mark Lindores discovers, he still had the magic touch
The mighty Blackstar isn’t just David Bowie’s final album, says Will Salmon, it’s also one of the defining triumphs of the great man’s incredible career
The announcement of Bowie’s death just two days after the album’s release meant, inevitably enough, that Blackstar became a much sought-after album for collectors