Parlophone has announced a new release of David Bowie rarities on what would have been the singer’s 72nd birthday, to additionally mark the milestone of 50 years since the release of breakthrough single “Space Oddity.”
Spying Through a Keyhole: Demos and Unreleased Songs will feature nine rare recordings, including versions of familiar songs (“Space Oddity,” “London Bye Ta Ta,” “In The Heat Of The Morning”) as well as the heretofore-unknown “Love All Around,” a lyric of which gives the set its title.
While very much a historical set–the press release admits these tracks were briefly released to streaming services last year, no doubt to retain copyright on them, and is also up-front that “the recording quality isn’t always of a usual studio fidelity”–it’s an exciting new move for posthumous Bowie projects, which have previously been limited to a series of album box sets, live shows and vinyl ephemera, almost all of it previously released.
Neither an exact release date nor side breakdowns for Spying Through a Keyhole have been confirmed (“limited to a vinyl only release in the spring,” the press release notes, “however, the recordings may appear in the future on other formats”) but a track-by-track breakdown provided by the estate is below.
In other Bowie news, the studio and live discs in last year’s Loving The Alien (1983-1988)–remastered versions of Let’s Dance (1983), Tonight (1984) and Never Let Me Down (1987), as well as the live albums Serious Moonlight (Live ’83) and Glass Spider (Live Montreal ’87)—are slated for individual release February 15. Hi-res (192/24 and 96/24) digital versions of Let’s Dance, Serious Moonlight and Glass Spider, as well as a 96/24 hi-res version of Never Let Me Down (2018) and standard digital breakouts of Never Let Me Down and the remix collection Dance, will be available the same day.
Finally, those who missed it in real space (or those who didn’t) will want to download the mobile app version of the stunning David Bowie Is exhibition.
TRACK NOTES FOR SPYING THROUGH A KEYHOLE: DEMOS AND UNRELEASED SONGS
Mother Grey (demo): This mid-tempo tale of a fledgling son fleeing the nest features multi-tracked vocals, guitars and harmonica from David.
In The Heat Of The Morning (demo): A well-known early Bowie song but presented here in demo form with final lyrics.
Goodbye 3d (Threepenny) Joe (demo): A charming demo from 1968.
Love All Around (demo): A delightful love song from whence the title of this collection came: “I see a pop tune spying through a keyhole from the other room.”
London Bye, Ta-Ta (demo): An early demo version of the song with completely different lyrics in a couple of the verses compared to those of the later full band versions.
Angel, Angel, Grubby Face (demo version 1): The first and only previously known demo of this song.
Angel, Angel, Grubby Face (demo version 2): A later version of the same song with alternative lyrics.
Space Oddity (demo excerpt): The lyric and arrangement variations lend weight to the theory that this is possibly the first ever recorded demo of one of Bowie’s most famous songs.
Space Oddity (demo – alternative lyrics) (with Hutch): Originally conceived as a song for a duo to perform, this is the first known version to feature John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson again with lyric and arrangement variations.