COMPILATION ALBUMS

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The World Of David Bowie
Images 1966-1967
ChangesOneBowie
The Best Of Bowie
Another Face
Don't Be Fooled By The Name
ChangesTwoBowie
The Manish Boys/Davy Jones And The Lower Third
Fashions
Bowie Rare
Golden Years
Lifetimes
A Second Face
Love You Till Tuesday
Fame And Fashion
David Bowie: The Collection
Rare Tracks
1966
Sound + Vision
ChangesBowie
Introspective
Rock Reflections
Early On (1964-1966)
The Singles Collection
All Saints
RarestOneBowie
London Boy
BBC Sessions 1969-1972 (Sampler)
The Deram Anthology 1966-1968
The Best Of David Bowie 1969/1974
Earthling In The City
The Best Of David Bowie 1974/1979
I Dig Everything: The 1966 Pye Singles
Bowie At The Beeb
All Saints: Collected Instrumentals 1977-1999
Best Of Bowie
Club Bowie: Rare And Unreleased 12" Mixes
Musical Storyland
David Bowie: The Collection
The Platinum Collection
The Best Of David Bowie 1980/1987
iSelectBowie
David Bowie: Deluxe Edition
David Bowie: Deluxe Edition

A staggering number of Bowie compilations has appeaed over the years: what follows is a comprehensive guide to UK releases. Promo albums are generally ignored. Full track-listings are given only for key compilations of otherwise unavailable material, while individual tracks of importance are mentioned in each entry.

THE WORLD OF DAVID BOWIE

  • Decca SPA 58 - March 1970

Issued in the wake of "Space Oddity", this compilation of Deram recordings included the first official releases of "Karma Man", "Let Me Sleep Beside You" and "In The Heat Of The Morning". It was reissued in April 1973 with a Ziggy-era sleeve photo.

IMAGES 1966-1967

  • Deram DPA 3017/18 - May 1975

Originally released in the USA in 1973, this is another compilation of Deram tracks.

CHANGESONEBOWIE

  • RCA Victor RS 1055 - June 1976

  • RCA PL81732 - 1984

  • Parlophone COBLP2016/COBCDX2016 - May 2016

Bowie's earliest official "greatest hits" compilation saw the first appearance of "John, I'm Only Dancing" on an album (its first in any format in America); some pressings included the original 1972 cut, others the Aladdin Sane out-take version. Packaged in austere Station To Station-style monochrome with the same unspaced lettering, the album hit number 10 in America and number 2 in Britain, where it was kept off the top spot by ABBA's Greatest Hits. A fairly pointless reissue appeared in 2016 on CD, vinyl and download.

THE BEST OF BOWIE

  • K-Tel NE 1111 - December 1980

This very successful post-Scary Monsters package included newly edited versions of "Life On Mars?" (3'36") and "Diamond Dogs" (4'37"), while "Fame" and "Golden Years" were the 7" edits rarely issued on compilations. The track-listing differed on some international editions, several of which featured further unique edits of tracks including "Diamond Dogs", "Young Americans", "Fame", "Golden Years", "Heroes" and, on the Australia/New Zealand edition, a 4'02" edit of "TVC15" which underwent some particularly brutal surgery just after the intro.

ANOTHER FACE

  • Decca TAB 17 - May 1981

Another reissue of early material, including both sides of the "Liza Jane" and Deram singles, with the mono recordings presented in faux-stereo.

DON'T BE FOOLED BY THE NAME

  • Pye PRT BOW1 - September 1981

This 10" EP was the first of numerous repackages of Bowie's three 1966 Pye singles and B-sides.

CHANGESTWOBOWIE

  • RCA BOW LP 3 - November 1981

  • RCA PL84202 - 1984

RCA's second compilation was assembled without consulting Bowie, and apparently he was far from pleased with the result. He did, however, consent to promote it by filming a video for the six-year-old "Wild Is The Wind", released as a single in November 1981. ChangesTwoBowie saw the first appearance of "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)" on long-playing format.

THE MANISH BOYS/DAVY JONES AND THE LOWER THIRD

  • See For Miles CYM 1 - October 1982

  • See For Miles SEA 1 - June 1985

  • See For Miles SEA CD 1 - December 1989

  • Parlophone GEP 8968 - April 2013

Originally released as a 10" EP, then as a 12" single and finally a CD, this four-track compilation of David's two 1965 singles and their B-sides is the only official reissue of the single versions of "I Pity The Fool" and "Take My Tip". A download EP called Bowie 1965! followed in January 2007, and the same title was given to a 7" Record Store Day release in April 2013.

FASHIONS

  • RCA BOWP 101-110 - November 1982

A limited edition of 25,000 packs of ten RCA singles, here reissued as picture discs in a plastic wallet.

BOWIE RARE

  • RCA PL 45406 - December 1982

A year after ChangesTwoBowie, RCA made a cynical grab at the Christmas market with this hotch-potch from the archives. None of the tracks was previously unreleased, although most had appeared only as B-sides and some, like the Italian version of "Space Oddity" and the American 7" edit of "Young Americans", had never been released in the UK. Although the album provided a useful round-up for the completist, it was a pretty shabby affair - three of the B-sides had only just been reissued in RCA's Fashion set, "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)" had appeared on ChangesTwoBowie, "Holy Holy" was the 1972 version rather than the genuinely rare original, and did anyone really need "Young Americans" with a verse missing? To add insult to injury the lyric sheet was a farrago of inaccuracies. Bowie let it be known that he considered the album "horrendous", "atrocious" and "offensive".

     All but one of the tracks on Bowie Rare have since become available on other releases: the sole exception is "Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola", which is a needle-drop of the original mono single, as opposed to the smart but inauthentic new stereo mix which appeared on 2009's Space Oddity reissue and was later edited for Re:Call 1.

GOLDEN YEARS

  • RCA BOWLP 004 - August 1983

After the ill feeling over Bowie Rare, David's former label sought his cooperation for this opportunistic package of oldies, all of which featured in 1983's Serious Moonlight set-list. Bowie assented on the condition that no attempt would be made to suggest that the album was a concert recording, and vetoed the use of the words "Serious" and "Moonlight" in the title.

LIFETIMES

  • RCA - August 1983

Although containing nothing that couldn't be found elsewhere, RCA's individually numbered limited edition promo remains a collector's rarity, containing a representative track from every album between Space Oddity and Scary Monsters with the exception of Stage.

A SECOND FACE

  • Decca TAB 71 - August 1983

Another collection of Deram material.

LOVE YOU TILL TUESDAY

  • Deram BOWIE 1 - April 1984

  • Pickwick PWKS 4131P - 1992

Released in 1984 to accompany Kenneth Pitt's unveiling of the Love You Till Tuesday film, this compilation features slightly remixed versions of the sondtrack songs, plus a couple of 1960s tracks that don't appear in the film at all. Until 2010's David Bowie: Deluxe Edition it was the only official source of the 1968 rarity "When I'm Five". The 1992 CD reissue has a re-ordered track-listing, includes "The London Boys" instead of "The Laughing Gnome", and substitutes the David Bowie album versions of "Love You Till Tuesday", "Sell Me A Coat" and "When I Live My Dream". More importantly, it features the previously unreleased full-length version of the original "Space Oddity" (4'35"), otherwise only available on the 1996 compilation London Boy: the vinyl version offers the shorter film edit, as does The Deram Anthology 1966-1968.

FAME AND FASHION

  • RCA PL84919 - April 1984

Another predictable compilation of RCA material which, like Golden Years, made the top 40. Both albums were among the label's first (and now rarest) Bowie CDs. Curiously, on the LP's second side and the corresponding CD tracks, the original stereo channels are swapped.

DAVID BOWIE: THE COLLECTION

  • Castle Communications CCSLP 118 - November 1985

  • Castle Communications CCSCD 118 - 1992

A double LP of Deram tracks and the three 1966 Pye singles with their B-sides.

RARE TRACKS

  • Showcase SHLP 137 - April 1986

A 12" repackage of the Pye singles and B-seides.

1966

  • Pye PRT PYE 6001/PYX 6001 - October 1987

  • Castle Classics CLACD 154 - 1989

Yet another reissue of the Pye tracks. For those who craved more, there was a 12" picture disc. This is not to be confused with the 2015 release also entitled 1966, which features a different mix of "Do Anything You Say" (see I Dig Everything: The 1966 Pye Singles).

SOUND + VISION

  • Rykodisc RCD 90120/90121/90122/RCDV1018 - September 1989

  • Rykodisc RCD 90330/90331/90332 - October 1995

  • EMI 72439 451121 - December 2003

  • Parlophone DBSAVX1 - September 2014

In 1986 Bowie's licensing contract with RCA expired, meaning that the pre-Let's Dance albums became scarce. In common with many early CD reissues, the mastering and packaging of RCA's Space Oddity to Scary Monsters CDs had been of different quality, but they nevertheless went on to command impressive sums among collectors.

     In 1989 Bowie negotiated a new reissue programme with the small Massachusetts-based company Rykodisc. "What knocked me out about them is the care they take with the product," he explained, "so there really was no question of who I wanted to go with to release all the old stuff." As an added incentive, the Rykodisc reissues were not only to feature remastering and luxury packaging, but bonus tracks comprising rare B-sides and previously unreleased recordings. "I would look for old obscure tracks and demos and so on," said Bowie, "And they had their fingers on stuff I'd forgotten about, so between us we compiled a lot of original things that hadn't seen the light of day - and probably never should have!" The balance shifted from Low onwards, as Rykodisc's Jeff Rougvie explained at the time: "Our deal was with Bowie and his former managers, MainMan, who co-owned the bulk of the material. Everything up to Station To Station was kept in a shared vault, and we had access to all of that. But Bowie himself has the masters to the Berlin albums, so although he's said that there are 50 cuts left over, we don't have them! He did go in and pull out the bonus tracks for the CDs, but I don't know how much else is really there, or what state it's in."

     Between 1990 and 1992, all thirteen studio albums from Space Oddity to Scary Monsters were reissued, together with the three live albums and the new hits compilation ChangesBowie. Initially each UK release appeared on both CD and vinyl, although the last three (Scary Monsters, Stage and Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture) were issued only on CD - while in America, Ryko stopped their vinyl programme after David Live. Spearheading the campaign was the lavish four-CD (or six-LP) box set Sound + Vision. Although officially released only in America, it was widely imported to Britain. A limited edition of 350 wooden-boxed versions, each containing a certificate signed by David, commanded premium prices. Sound + Vision remains probably the finest Bowie compilation, offering roughly three tracks from each album session (including three apiece from the live LPs), and boasting some unusually imaginative choices. The main attraction is the array of rarities, including the April 1969 demo of "Space Oddity" (5'07"), the superior alternative cuts of "John, I'm Only Dancing" (2'41") and "Rebel Rebel" (2'58"), the rare original versions of "The Prettiest Star" (3'09") and "Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud" (4'48"), and several previously unreleased gems: "London Bye Ta-Ta" (2'33"), "1984/Dodo" (5'27"), "After Today" (3'47") and "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City" (3'46"). "Round And Round" (2'39") was a different mix from the original B-side version, and there was also a new 3'37" remix of "Helden". The CD format included a fourth disc, subtitled Sound + Vision Plus, which contained three live tracks recorded in Boston on October 1st 1972: "John, I'm Only Dancing" (2'40"), "Changes" (3'18"), and "The Supermen" (2'44"), together with a CD video version of "Ashes To Ashes" (3'34").

     Both the vinyl and CD formats originally came in an LP-sized plastic box. Sound + Vision was reissued in November 1994, this time with a CD-ROM version of "Ashes To Ashes". In October 1995 it reappeared as a more modest CD-sized box set, minus the bonus disc.

     In December 2003 EMI released a deluxe repackage of Sound + Vision, again minus the bonus disc (whose live 1972 tracks had by now appeared on the Aladdin Sane 30th Anniversary Edition). This time Sound + Vision was upgraded to four full-length CDs to incorporate the post-Scary Monsters material in EMI's reissue catalogue. The significant new rarities on the 2003 edition included an extended 4'57" B-side version of "Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud" with David's spoken introduction, a previously unreleased 2'33" stereo mix of "London Bye Ta-Ta", another new 2'39" remix of "Round And Round" (featuring, contrary to the sleeve notes, the same vocal as the original), the CD debut of two of the Baal tracks and the live B-side version of "Modern Love", and the previously unavailable "Nite Flights (Moodswings Back To Basics Remix Radio Edit)" (4'21") and "Pallas Athena (Gone Midnight Mix)" (4'21"). Every studio album up to 1993 was now represented by an average of three tracks (although only one song from Never Let Me Down made the grade), marking the first major appearance of Tin Machine on a Bowie compilation. The termination of 2003's Sound + Vision after The Buddha Of Suburbia was dictated by the fact that Columbia held the rights to the albums from 1.Outside onwards, although the set closes with 1997's live "Pallas Athena". A further repackage of the 2003 edition followed in 2014.

CHANGESBOWIE

  • EMI DBTV 1 - March 1990

  • EMI BDTV 1 - March 1990

EMI's chart-friendly 1990 companion to the Sound + Vision box set was a predictable trip through Bowie's back catalogue distinguished (if that's the word) only by the remix single "Fame 90". Ryko's AU20 limited edition gold CD reverted to the original album version of "Fame". Not surprisingly ChangesBowie did very well, knocking Sinead O'Connor's I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got off the number 1 spot and spending 29 weeks in the UK chart.

INTROSPECTIVE

  • Tabak CINT 5001 - 1990

Another reissue of the 1966 Pye singles, with a 1990 interview tacked on as an added incentive.

ROCK REFLECTIONS

  • Deram 8205492 - 1990

A heavily imported Australian CD reissue of Images 1966-1967.

EARLY ON (1964-1966)

  • Rhino R2 70526 - 1991

  • Liza Jane [2.28] (CD Only)

  • Louie, Louie Go Home [2.12] (CD Only)

  • I Pity The Fool [2.09]

  • Take My Tip [2.16]

  • That's Where My Heart Is [2.29]

  • I Want My Baby Back [2.39]

  • Bars Of The County Jail [2.07]

  • You've Got A Habit Of Leaving [2.32]

  • Baby Loves That Way [3.03]

  • I'll Follow You [2.02]

  • Glad I've Got Nobody [2.32]

  • Can't Help Thinking About Me [2.47]

  • And I Say To Myself [2.29]

  • Do Anything You Say [2.32]

  • Good Morning Girl [2.14] (CD Only)

  • I Dig Everything [2.45]

  • I'm Not Losing Sleep [2.52]

Imported from the USA, this diligent compilation is a valuable addition to the archives, amassing on a single CD every official release from Bowie's pre-Deram career - except for "I Pity The Fool" and "Take My Tip", which are instead the previously unreleased alternative takes. The only official CD of the single versions can be found on 1989's The Manish Boys/Davy Jones And The Lower Third. Even better are the five exclusive demos unearted in the 1980s by Bowie's early producer ShelTalmy. "That's Where My Heart Is", "I Want My Baby Back", "Bars Of The County Jail", "I'll Follow You" and "Glad I've Got Nobody" all date from 1965, and were unavailable until this release.

THE SINGLES COLLECTION

  • EMI CDEM 1512 - November 1993

  • Rykodisc RCD 10218/19 - November 1993 (US Version)

The title of this compilation is actually a bit of a misnomer given that tracks like "Ziggy Stardust" were never released as A-sides, but let's not be pedantic: until it was superseded by Best Of Bowie in 2002, The Singles Collection provided an invaluable starting point for the beginner, and for the fan it marked the CD debut of several rare 7" edits. An oddity is the mid-length 3'43" mix of "TVC15", which is unique to this compilation. Collectors will prefer the US release (entitled The Singles 1969 To 1993) which, although omitting five tracks from the UK selection and substituting an inauthentic hacked-down 3'31" edit of "Space Oddity" and a newly created 4'39" edit of "Loving The Alien", includes two rarities: the full-length original version of "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (6'43") and, on a bonus CD with the first 40,000 pressings, "Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy" (4'23"), complete with David and Bing's spoken preamble. The two releases feature different versions of "Under Pressure", neither of which is the original 7" edit: the UK album has the slightly edited 3'58" version previously found on Queen Greatest Hits 2, while the US album features the 4'01" remix from Classic Queen.

ALL SAINTS

  • ALLSAINTS 1/2

In 1993 Bowie compiled this exclusive double CD of instrumentals from Low, "Heroes", Black Tie White Noise, The Buddha Of Suburbia and Philip Glass's "Low" Symphony, as a Christmas present for friends and colleagues. Limited to 150 pressings, privately distributed and never commercially available, the original All Saints has become a desirable and costly collector's item. A subsequent single-disc compilation, released in July 2001 and also called All Saints, featured a similar if condensed track-listing.

RARESTONEBOWIE

  • Trident Music International/Golden Years GY014 - June 1995

  • Dolphin BLCK 86008 - 1997

  • All The Young Dudes [4.10]

  • Queen Bitch [3.15]

  • Sound And Vision [3.24]

  • Time [5.12]

  • Be My Wife [2.44]

  • Foot Stomping [3.24]

  • Ziggy Stardust [3.21]

  • My Death [5.49]

  • I Feel Free [5.20]

Although running to a paltry 36 minutes, MainMan's 1995 follow-up to Santa Monica '72 is a minor treat. The highlight, despite its ropey sound quality, is the 1974 live recording of "Foot Stomping" (here inaccurately listed as "Footstompin"). Other attractions include the first proper release of Bowie's studio version of "All The Young Dudes" and a 1973 radio commercial for Pin Ups, lurking as a hidden track at the beginning of the CD. The remainder of RarestOneBowie comprises live oddities from the 1970s, including a spunky "Queen Bitch" recorded on March 23rd 1976, and a brace of last-night rarities - "Sound And Vision" and "Be My Wife" - from Earls Court on July 1st 1978. Also on offer are The 1980 Floor Show's version of "Time" and a live rendition of "My Death" from Carnegie Hall on September 28th 1972. On the desperate side are the gratuitous reappearance of the Santa Monica '72 version of "Ziggy Stardust" and an atrociously muffled recording of "I Feel Free" from Kingston Polytechnic on May 6th 1972.

     As with Santa Monica '72, the packaging features some pleasing archive photos and reproductions of MainMan memorabilia, including Mike Garson's receipt for the Diamond Dogs sessions and a deposit note for an Atlantic crossing by "Mr & Mrs Bowie (Jones) and child" on the QEII. A 1997 Japanese reissue was augmented by a further six tracks from Santa Monica '72.

LONDON BOY

  • Spectrum Music 5517062 - 1996

Another repackage of Deram material, notable for its inclusion of the full 4'35" mix of the original "Space Oddity" otherwise available only on the Love You Till Tuesday CD.

BBC SESSIONS 1969-1972 (SAMPLER)

  • NMC/BBC Worldwide Music NMCD 0072 - July 1996

As a taster for their proposed three-volume compilation of Bowie's BBC radio sessions, NMC and BBC Worldwide Music released this seven-track sampler. The project was shelved, leaving only this limited-edition CD. Despite offering slim pickings by comparison with EMI's subsequent double-disc set Bowie At The Beeb, it should be noted that this CD boasts a couple of otherwise unavailable cuts: "Waiting For The Man" (4'28") from the Hype session of March 25th 1970, and "Andy Warhol" (2'54") from the acoustic Bowie/Ronson session of September 21st 1971. All the other tracks reappear on Bowie At The Beeb.

THE DERAM ANTHOLOGY 1966-1968

  • Deram 8447842 - June 1997

After 30 years of repackages Decca released this valuable round-up of Bowie's Deram recordings in 1997, adding the independently recorded "Ching-A-Ling" (2'02") and Space Oddity (3'46") for good measure, albeit in the truncated edits used in the Love You Till Tuesday film. This release plugged a major gap in Bowie's early work until it was superseded by 2010's excellent David Bowie: Deluxe Edition which, although omitting "Space Oddity", far outclassed The Deram Anthology 1966-1968 with its selection of single versions, alternative mixes and unreleased rarities.

THE BEST OF DAVID BOWIE 1969/1974

  • EMI 7243 8 21849 2 8 - October 1997

Bowie's 1997 re-sale of his back catalogue to EMI brought forth yet another hit compilation. "John, I'm Only Dancing" is the 1973 "sax version", and other attractions are the stereo version of 1970's "The Prettiest Star" single (previously on Sound + Vision in mono only, although the stereo mix later appeared on that compilation's 2003 reissue and on the 2009 edition of Space Oddity), and a cleaned-up remastering of Bowie's "All The Young Dudes" which is superior to the one on RarestOneBowie (this would later resurface on the 2003 reissue of Aladdin Sane). The Japanese edition dropped "Suffragette City" but added "Lady Stardust". This disc was later repackaged as part of 2005's The Platinum Collection.

EARTHLING IN THE CITY

  • AT&T/N2K 8116501 - October 1997

Given away with the November 1997 American edition of GQ magazine, this six-track CD offers exclusive live versions of "Little Wonder" (3'44") and "The Hearts Filthy Lesson" (5'03") recorded at Bowie's fiftieth birthday concert. The remaining tracks were available on other formats of the Earthling singles.

THE BEST OF DAVID BOWIE 1974/1979

  • EMI 7243 4 94300 2 0 - April 1998

EMI's sequel to 1969/1974 includes "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City", previously only availavble on Sound + Vision. "Young Americans" is the 3'11" US single version (its first time on CD), while "Golden Years", "TVC15" and "Heroes" are also the single edits. The promo version substituted the 7" mixes of "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)" and "D.J." in place of the full-length ones. The disc was later repackaged as part of 2005's The Platinum Collection.

I DIG EVERYTHING: THE 1966 PYE SINGLES

  • Essential ESM CD 712 - June 1999

  • Essential ESM 10765 - June 2000

  • Sanctuary Records BMGRM047CD - April 2015

  • Sanctuary Records BMGRM047LP - April 2015

  • Sanctuary Records BMGRM096LP - September 2015

Yet another repackage of Bowie's three Pye singles, this time in a beautiful boxed set of three individual CDs or 7" singles and, a year later, a 10" EP. The version of "Do Anything You Say" included on this release is a previously unavailable alternative mix. The same selection, rare mix and all, was issued in 2015 on CD and 12" under the title 1966, with an additional limited edition white vinyl 12" for Record Store Day. Further US reissues on vinyl and CD followed the next year, meaning that by 2016 the dedicated collector was able to own these six tracks in a total of eight different editions.

BOWIE AT THE BEEB

  • EMI 7243 5 28629 2 4 / 7243 5 28958 2 3 - September 2000

  • Parlophone DBBBCLP 6872 - February 2016

Disc One:

  • In The Heat Of The Morning [3.01]

  • London Bye Ta-Ta [2.34]

  • Karma Man [2.59]

  • Silly Boy Blue [4.36]

  • Let Me Sleep Beside You [3.16]

  • Janine [3.01]

  • Amsterdam [2.56]

  • God Knows I'm Good [3.10]

  • The Width Of A Circle [4.50]

  • Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed [4.54]

  • Cygnet Committee [8.16]

  • Memory Of A Free Festival [3.17]

  • Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud [4.42]

  • Bombers [2.53]

  • Looking For A Friend [3.08]

  • Almost Grown [2.16]

  • Kooks [3.02]

  • It Ain't Easy [2.51]

Disc 2:

  • The Supermen [2.50]

  • Eight Line Poem [2.52]

  • Hang On To Yourself [2.48]

  • Ziggy Stardust [3.23]

  • Queen Bitch [2.57]

  • I'm Waiting For The Man [5.22]

  • Five Years [4.21]

  • White Light/White Heat [3.46]

  • Moonage Daydream [4.56]

  • Hang On To Yourself [2.48]

  • Suffragette City [3.25]

  • Ziggy Stardust [3.22]

  • Starman [4.03]

  • Space Oddity [4.13]

  • Changes [3.28]

  • Oh! You Pretty Things [2.55]

  • Andy Warhol [3.12]

  • Lady Stardust [3.19]

  • Rock'n'Roll Suicide [3.08]

Disc 3:

  • Wild Is The Wind [6.21]

  • Ashes To Ashes [5.03]

  • Seven [4.12]

  • This Is Not America [3.43]

  • Absolute Beginners [6.31]

  • Always Crashing In The Same Car [4.06]

  • Survive [4.54]

  • Little Wonder [3.48]

  • The Man Who Sold The World [3.57]

  • Fame [4.11]

  • Stay [5.43]

  • Hallo Spaceboy [5.21]

  • Cracked Actor [4.09]

  • I'm Afraid Of Americans [5.29]

  • Let's Dance [6.20]

EMI's long-awaited compilation of highlights from Bowie's legendary BBC sessions materialised in September 2000, initially boxed with an exclusive 15-track bonus disc culled from Bowie's concert at the BBC Radio Theatre on June 27th that year. Bowie At The Beeb offers a rich feast of archival delights, unearthing several very obscure recordings including the elusive "Memory Of A Free Festival" from the 1970 Sunday Show concert. The album's appeal was nevertheless mainstream, as demonstrated by its number 7 peak in the UK chart - the best showing for any Bowie compilation in a decade - and the reviews were universally ecstatic. Following David's triumphant homecoming at Glastonbury the previous June, Bowie At The Beeb sealed his critical status as the millennium's elder statesman of popular music; in November 2000 a survey conducted among contemporary musicians in the NME voted Bowie the most influential artist of all time.

     The breakdown of tracks is as follows: the first four tracks on Disc One hail from the Top Gear session recorded on May 13th 1968; the next two are from The Dave Lee Travis Show recorded on October 20th 1969; "Amsterdam" to "Memory Of A Free Festival" come from The Sunday Show recorded on February 5th 1970; "Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud" is from Hype's Sounds Of The 70s set on March 25th 1970; and the remainder of Disc One is culled from In Concert: John Peel on June 3rd 1971. Disc Two begins with a pair of tracks from the acoustic Bowie/Ronson session of September 21st 1971 (one of Bowie's finest BBC sessions, and sadly among the least well represented here), followed by the complete five-song Sounds Of The 70s session of January 18th 1972, and then the excellent five-song set from John Peel's Sounds Of The 70s show taped on May 16th. "Starman " to "Oh! You Pretty Things" comprises the entire Johnnie Walker Lunchtime Show set of May 22nd 1972, and the last three cuts hail from Bowie's final BBC session of the decade, recorded for Sounds Of The 70s on May 23rd 1972.

     On the initial pressing, a mastering error resulted in tracks 4 and 12 on the second disc being identical: both were in fact the version of "Ziggy Stardust" recorded on May 16th 1972. With admirable efficiency, EMI responded to this mistake by promptly issuing a one-track replacement CD of the missing track (BEEBREP2) which was mailed to purchasers on request. Later pressings of the album corrected the error.

     The attractive sleeve painting, based on a 1972 Mick Rock photo of David in the studio, was the work of Diamond Dogs veteran Guy Peellaert. "Guy works in a collage way," explained Bowie, "so what you see is a combination of photo and paint." It was to be the pair's final collaboration before Peellaert's death in November 2008. The Japanese release (EMI TOCP 65631) included a deluxe 72-page booklet and an extra track in the form of "Oh! You Pretty Things" from the acoustic session of September 21st 1971. Pre-publicity generated an array of promo and sampler CDs featuring tracks from the album, including free cover-mounts on various magazines and a very handsome eight-track sampler (BEEBPRO-6872) encased in a mock reel-to-reel tape box. EMI even issued a portable radio in the shape of an old-fashioned microphone, complete with a Bowie At The Beeb logo which lit up when the set was switched on.

     The limited-edition bonus disc, entitled BBC Radio Theatre, London, June 27, 2000, offers a beautiful selection from Bowie's post-Glastonbury concert at Broadcasting House: there are joyous renditions of new material like "Seven" and "Survive", while fresh life is breathed into older numbers including a superb "Always Crashing In The Same Car" and a truly exhilarating revamp of "Let's Dance". The curious decision to fade the audience sound to silence at the end of each track rather mars the overall atmosphere, but otherwise it's a splendid memento of the 2000 mini-tour - and arguably the best recorded of all Bowie's live albums.

     In 2016 Bowie At The Beeb made its vinyl debut, in a four-LP set which omitted the 2000 concert but included the September 21st 1971 "Oh! You Pretty Things" previously restricted to the Japanese release, and added an exclusive in the form of the first official release of Hype's March 25th 1970 rendition of "The Supermen".

ALL SAINTS: COLLECTED INSTRUMENTALS 1977-1999

  • EMI 7243 5 33045 2 2 - July 2001

This single-disc commercial reshuffle of Bowie's in-house 1993 compilation All Saints (see above) adds "Crystal Japan" and "Brilliant Adventure" to the original track-listing, but removes "South Horizon" and all three Black Tie White Noise instrumentals. As on the first All Saints, "Some Are" is Philip Glass's "Low" Symphony version; the others are the original Bowie cuts. The cover image was to have been selected by BowieNet members from a shortlist of eight different designs, but in the end David changed his mind and opted for an image that he designed himself. The blurred, negative-effect Bowie with beard and shoulder-length hair is hardly the most appealing of his album sleeves, but the compilation itself makes for an efficient and impressive summary of his more experimental work.

BEST OF BOWIE

  • EMI 7243 5 39821 2 6 - November 2002

  • EMI/Virgin 72435-95692-0-8 - November 2003 (US/Canada reissue with bonus DVD)

Whether the world really needed yet another Bowie compilation by 2002 is a moot point, but the critical success of Heathen, alongside EMI/Virgin's retention of Bowie's back catalogue following his departure to Columbia, meant that it was more or less inevitable.

     Released alongside the excellent DVD of the same title, Best Of Bowie superseded 1993's The Singles Collection and EMI's brace of 1997/1998 Best Ofs to become Bowie's standard greatest hits album. The UK version offers a sturdy chronological trip through the classics, skimming through the post-Let's Dance 1980s and bypassing Tin Machine before resuming the story with "Jump They Say" and a smattering of 1990s tracks.

     However, the story doesn't end there. The elaborate gimmick used to promote Best Of Bowie was that its track-listing varied considerably from country to country, the better to reflect which songs had been popular in each territory. Accordingly, no fewer than 20 different versions of the album were released in October and November 2002; some countries released double-disc sets, others a single CD, while the US and Canada had both. Most releases are identifiable by the national flags reproduced in the hinge panel of the CD cases (the exceptions being the flag-less UK, Eastern European and Argentinian/Mexican editions).

     Most of the variant tracks on the different editions are readily available elsewhere, but collectors wishing to take advantage of the rarities on offer will be particularly interested in the New Zealand edition (EMI 7243 5 41925 2 4) which includes a previously unreleased 4'01" edit of "Magic Dance" (wrongly labelled as the single version - it isn't), and the first ever CD release of the single mix of "Underground", which also appears on the Chilean edition. Other minor rarities include the radio edit of "Black Tie White Noise" (Denmark), the live version of "Tonight" with Tina Turner (the Netherlands, where it was a number 1 hit in its day), and the US single version of "Rebel Rebel" (Chile). In a solitary foray into the Tin Machine years, the US/Canada two-disc edition includes "Under The God". The UK, Greece and US/Canada editions feature the CD debut of the 7" edit of "Scary Monsters", while several non-UK versions (USA/Canada, New Zealand, Greece, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway/Sweden, Chile, and Germany/Switzerland/Austria) carry the hard-to-find 7" edit of the original "Cat People". The last of these also includes the 1989 Sound + Vision remix of "Helden", while the last two feature the radio edit of "When The Wind Blows".

     Some tracks, ("Golden Years", "Heroes", "Ashes To Ashes", "China Girl", "Modern Love", "TVC15", "Young Americans") vary between the album and single versions on different editions. Others are more consistent: notably, "Slow Burn" is the previously hard-to-find 3'57" radio edit.

     Best Of Bowie's sleeve was a composite of David's face from different periods of his career, designed by 'hours...' veteran Rex Ray; it also appeared on the accompanying DVD. Reviews of both were of the five-star variety and sales were healthy: while the DVD topped the UK music chart, the album initially peaked at number 11. Nearly a year after its release, the album was given a sales boost by the media coverage of Reality: in September 2003 Best Of Bowie leapt back up to number 25 in the UK chart, and by the following month it had spent no fewer than 45 weeks in the top 75. It re-entered the UK chart once again in 2004, climbing as high as number 22. In the wake of David's death in January 2016, Best Of Bowie hit new chart peaks on both sides of the Atlantic, reaching number 3 in the UK and number 4 in the US while Blackstar topped the charts in both countries.

     In November 2003, the US/Canada single-disc version was reissed in a limited edition sleeve accompanied by a new bonus DVD consisting mainly of video and audio remixes from Club Bowie, while 2004's "Asian Tour Edition" (EMI 7243 5 7749 2 3), released to coincide with the Far East dates of A Reality Tour, combined the UK version with a bonus disc of Club Bowie.

CLUB BOWIE: RARE AND UNRELEASED 12" MIXES

  • Virgin/EMI VTCD591 - November 2003

  • Loving The Alien (The Scumfrog vs David Bowie) [8.21]

  • Let's Dance (Trifactor vs Deeper Substance Remix) [11.02]

  • Just For One Day (Heroes) (Extended Version) (David Guetta vs Bowie) [6.37]

  • This Is Not America (The Scumfrog vs David Bowie) [9.12]

  • Shout (Original Mix) (Solaris vs Bowie) [8.02]

  • China Girl (Riff & Vox Club Mix) [7.08]

  • Magic Dance (Danny S Magic Party Remix) [7.39]

  • Let's Dance (Club Bolly Extended Mix) [7.56]

  • Let's Dance (Club Bolly Mix Video) (CD-ROM)

The lurid day-glo orange packaging of this compilation, released at the height of the Reality boom, offers some indication of the eye-opening material within. Completists will value Virgin/EMI's collection of some of the more prominent club remixes of Bowie's work, but many of the unusual noises included on this CD will challenge even the most passionate collector. On the plus side are the Scumfrog remixes of "Loving The Alien" and "This Is Not America", both of which are likeable dance tracks, while the Asian remixes of "Let's Dance" and "China Girl" are certainly intriguing. However, the obscure repetitiveness of the remaining tracks will probably make sense only to the most chemically enhanced of hardcore clubbers - not exactly Bowie's natural fan constituency. The video of the "Let's Dance (Club Bolly Mix)" is included in CD-ROM format.

     The release threw up a number of variant formats, including a CD-R promo which featured the otherwise unavailable "Starman (Metrophonic Remix)" and the variant versions "Just For One Day (Heroes) (Club Mix)", "Shout (Amazon Dub)" and "Magic Dance (Danny S Cut N Paste Remix)".

MUSICAL STORYLAND

  • Worlds In Ink/Universal Music B0001073-02 - April 2004

One of the more unusual Bowie-related projects, this book-and-CD release was the brainchild of California-based artist Jamilla Naji who, combining her love of Bowie's Deram recordings with her desire to publish a children's picture book, created an illustrated companion to ten of Bowie's late 1960s songs. Naji's acrylic paintings illustrate her interpretations of each song in an attractive style, poised somewhere between the naive primitivism of Henri Rousseau and the dreamlike surrealism of Marc Chagall, while the accompanying CD allows children (and adults) to listen to the original recordings.

THE COLLECTION

  • EMI 7243 8 73496 2 9 - May 2005

This budget-range CD offers a sample track from each of Bowie's studio albums between 1969 and 1980 save Pin Ups. "Sweet Thing" is a 3'40" edit of the opening segment of the "Sweet Thing/Candidate" sequence from Diamond Dogs. While the promotion of Bowie's less familiar work is to be applauded, one wonders whether this baffling compilation of readily available album tracks was bought by anyone other than the hardcore collector.

THE PLATINUM COLLECTION

  • EMI 0946 3 31304 2 5 - November 2005

Less than three years after Best Of Bowie, EMI released yet another hits repackage, this time a straight reissue of their two 1997/1998 Best Ofs (see above), together with a third disc covering the years 1980-1987. All the tracks on the third disc are single edits save "Loving The Alien", which is the seven-minute album version. Of particular interest to collectors is "Under Pressure", here released in its original 4'09" single mix for the very first time on a David Bowie compilation.

THE BEST OF DAVID BOWIE 1980/1987

  • EMI 00946 3 86478 2 9 - March 2007

Released in EMI's "Sight & Sound" series, this compilation offers a straightforward duplicate of the third disc in 2005's The Platinum Collection (see above), together with a bonus DVD compiling video clips from the same period.

iSELECTBOWIE

  • UPDB001 - June 2008

  • Astralwerks/EMI ASW 36640 / 5099923664029 - September 2008

  • Parlophone DB1-SLP1 - March 2015

The June 29th 2008 edition of the UK tabloid The Mail On Sunday included this free CD of tracks hand-picked by David, whose extensive liner notes were published in the accompanying paper. For hardcore fans the main attraction was the new "MM Remix" of "Time Will Crawl" (4'24"), later included on the 3CD format of Nothing Has Changed, while the addition of the live 1972 recording of "Hang On To Yourself" was by way of a plug for EMI's remastered version of Santa Monica '72, released the following day. Also of note was an unbroken 8'47" single-track version of the "Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)" sequence. In September 2008 iSelectBowie enjoyed a commercial release in most territories outside the British Isles. In this version Bowie's liner notes were reproduced in the CD booklet which, unlike The Mail On Sunday, trusted its readers sufficiently to forego the inclusion of a clumsy parenthesis explaining the word "Weltschmerz". In 2015 came a limited edition red vinyl version, exclusive to the David Bowie is exhibition and launched at its Paris residency.

DAVID BOWIE: DELUXE EDITION

  • Deram 531 79-5 - January 2010

Decca's excellent 2010 reissue of Bowie's debut album merits a mention here on the strength of its second disc, a comprehensive round-up of rarities from the Deram-period which, in both scope and audio quality, comfortably supplants 1997's The Deram Anthology 1966-1968. With the exception of the original version of "Space Oddity", everything that appeared on that compilation is present and correct here in sparklingly remastered form, with "Ching-A-Ling" now restored to its full length and presented in a previously unreleased stereo mix. There are further previously unreleased stereo mixes of "The Laughing Gnome", "The Gospel According To Tony Day", "Did You Ever Have A Dream", "Let Me Sleep Beside You" and "Karma Man", and a previously unheard mono vocal version of "In The Heat Of The Morning". Also included is the entirety of Bowie's first BBC radio session for Top Gear on December 18th 1967 - very welcome, given that none of this session appeared on Bowie At The Beeb - and the icing on the cake is the first official release of the original 1968 recording of "London Bye Ta-Ta", albeit a different version from the one that has appeared on bootlegs. There's even a "hidden track" at the end of the disc in the form of a couple of seconds of studio banter from the recording of "The Gospel According To Tony Day". With the first disc featuring both the stereo and mono mixes of the David Bowie album itself, this beautifully packaged release is one of the finest Bowie reissues, and for devotees of his early work it's an essential purchase.

NOTHING HAS CHANGED

  • Parlophone 825646205745 - November 2014 (2CD Edition)

  • Parlophone 825646205769 - November 2014 (3CD Edition)

  • Parlophone 825646205769 - November 2014 (Double LP Edition)

  • Parlophone 2564620569 - November 2014 (1CD Australian Edition)

  • Warner WPCR-16186 - November 2014 (1CD Japanese Edition)

Released in a variety of physical formats, this beautifully packaged compilation (its title taken, of course, from the opening line of the Heathen album) offers pleasures and frustrations in equal measure. First, the good news: the 3CD edition boasts the first official release of the Toy recording of "Let Me Sleep Beside You" (3'12"), and the first release on a physical format of the previously download-only track "Your Turn To Drive" (4'54"). Various formats include the digital debut of several rare mixes, namely the 2003 Ken Scott mix of "Life On Mars?" (3CD edition only), the "loud" single mix of "Starman" (all formats), the stereo mix of "All The Young Dudes" (2CD and 3CD editions), the 2007 Tony Visconti mix single edit of "Young Americans" (3CD edition only), and the 4'46" promo edit of "Absolute Beginners" (1CD and 2CD editions).

     Making its CD debut on Nothing Has Changed was the then brand-new single version of "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)", appearing in its full 7'24" glory on all formats bar the 1CD edition, which at the time of writing remains the only commercial CD release of the 4'01" radio edit. (The 1CD edition was released in only a handful of territories: in Australia and Argentina its tracklisting included "Golden Years", which in Japan was dropped in favour of "Lady Stardust".) Meanwhile the 4'08" radio edit of the "Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix)" is exclsuive to the 2CD and 3CD formats.

     The less good news is that several other tracks are not quite what they purport to be. The so-called "UK stereo single edit" of "Space Oddity" on the vinyl and 1CD editions is misleading (the UK single was, after all, in mono); it is in fact an inauthentic 4'33" edit sourced from the same master as the subsequent 2015 album reissue. "Diamond Dogs" is a new 5'50" edit with a sloppy fade-in and an early fade-out. "Fashion" is not the original single version but a new and alarmingly slapdash effort, while the edits on "Scary Monsters" are also suspect, possibly due to tape deterioration.

     Other points worth noting are that "Under Pressure", "Dancing In The Street" and "Buddha Of Suburbia" are all the original single versions despite not being labelled as such, while "Ziggy Stardust" undergoes a minor edit, omitting the final guitar notes. The Tin Machine years are represented by a deafening silence; perhaps more surprising is the absence of live numbers, and the fact that the three "Berlin" albums merit just one track apiece.

     With design overseen by Jonathan Barnbrook, each format offers a different principal sleeve image, selected from a series of shots taken over the decades showing Bowie studying his reflection in a mirror. Nothing Has Changed performed well, entering the UK chart at number 9 on its release, and rising to a new peak of number 5 in the wake of Bowie's death. The reversed tracklisting of the 3CD edition, beginning with "Sue" and ending with "Liza Jane", is a refreshing notion, and despite the compilation's sundry peculiarities it's an impressive record of the 50 years which separate those two singles.