Single release: ’Tis A Pity She Was A Whore

David Bowie’s demo recording of ‘’Tis A Pity She Was A Whore’ was released as a digital download on 10 November 2014.

It received its radio premiere on BBC Radio 6 Music on the morning of 10 November, on Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show.

The song came out one week before the ‘Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)’ single, on which it appeared as a b-side.

You know, the song that’s the b-side to ‘Sue’ was ‘’Tis A Pity She Was A Whore’, and that original version of the song – in demo form – was David. He had played all of the instruments, and that was him on sax. And I really loved his sax playing on that song, it was really soulful.
Donny McCaslin
Observer.com, 20 January 2016

Cover artwork for ’Tis A Pity She Was A Whore

Here’s the original press release, published on 10 November:

’TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE is a brand new demo track from DAVID BOWIE available for digital download now and taken from the forthcoming limited edition 10” single of SUE (OR IN A SEASON OF CRIME) which is released on Parlophone on November 17th.

’TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE is described by Bowie as “If Vorticists wrote Rock Music it might have sounded like this”.

The song acknowledges the shocking rawness of the First World War and the title is a play on ‘’Tis Pity She’s A Whore’ a John Ford Restoration play first performed in 1629 at the Cockpit Theatre in London. The demo track was recorded, played and written by David Bowie in his home studio.

The artwork for ’TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE was again designed by Jonathan Barnbrook continuing the linking theme of the NOTHING HAS CHANGED sleeves of Bowie looking into a mirror.

’TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE is also featured on the limited edition 10’ single and digital bundle of SUE (OR IN A SEASON OF CRIME) which was described by The Daily Telegraph as “the latest example of Bowie’s genius for self-reinvention. Yes, there’s the sound of a big band in the background, but it’s a deeply strange sound, without a trace of nostalgia. And as for the voice, it’s as uncanny as ever, but freighted with decades of experience. The song seems familiar and deeply strange at once, with an extraordinary blend of nostalgia and irony. If jazz is the “sound of surprise”, then Bowie has certainly found it”.

Album release: The Next Day
Single release: Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)
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