Reissues, remixes, remasters

Lodger was first released on compact disc by RCA in 1984.

In 1991 Rykdisc/EMI reissued the album with two bonus tracks: ‘I Pray, Olé’, a previously-unreleased recording from 1979; and a newer version of ‘Look Back In Anger’, recorded in 1988.

Lodger was re-released once again by EMI in 1999, with 24-bit digitally remastered sound, but no bonus material.

The 2017 box set A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982) contained two versions of Lodger – a remastered version of the 1977 release, and a more recent remix by Tony Visconti. The 2017 remaster was given a standalone release on CD, vinyl and digital download the following year.

A remix of Lodger had been discussed by Bowie and Visconti for many years, although work commitments hadn’t given them the opportunity to properly revisit the multitrack tapes. That changed ahead of the David Bowie Is exhibition, which opened in London in 2013 and contained a mashup of Bowie recordings created by Visconti.

The subject of remixing Lodger came up many times over the past decades, but we could never agree when to begin. We had very busy parallel lives and when we talked recording it was always about the next studio album. For the making of the 15-minute mash up used in the March 2013 Bowie Is… exhibition, I needed many multi-track masters of albums from the archives, including Lodger. We were also putting finishing touches on The Next Day. David left the making of the mash up to me. With both projects overlapping, the idea of remixing Lodger remained dormant.
Tony Visconti, April 2017
A New Career In A New Town book

Visconti created an initial remix during a break in the nine-month period in which he and Bowie worked on the Blackstar album. The recording of the album contained several breaks, too brief to allow Visconti to embark upon production work with another artist, so he turned instead to creating a remix of Lodger‘s opening song ‘Fantastic Voyage’.

I decided to make a start with ‘Fantastic Voyage’, to plumb the sonic depths of what I had to work with. The separated tracks sounded very well recorded – the first time I’d heard them this way since we mixed in New York all those years ago. I was assured that if we mixed in a high end studio at the time Lodger could have sounded every bit as good as Scary Monsters. So I commenced on making a new aural landscape for ‘Fantastic Voyage’. I wouldn’t tell David until I had something impressive to play to him. If the difference was minimal then I wouldn’t waste his time. ‘Fantastic Voyage’ turned out really great, but I felt that three impressive remixes would stand a better chance of piquing David’s interest.
Tony Visconti, April 2017
A New Career In A New Town book

Lodger (2017) artwork

Visconti’s first task was working on Dennis Davis’s drum sound, which he felt had never been done justice in the original New York mixes.

David and I always strove for a great drum sound and the original Lodger mixes just never got there. I tackled the drums first. I noticed how the toms were always too quiet when Dennis Davis played a spectacular fill. You can hear them now – Scary Monsters level!

I was able to pay more attention to David’s voice, to make it more present and inviting. I made better reverbs and echos, applying subtle alterations to different sections. I found some extra vocal parts we could have, should have added in the mixes long ago. I’ll leave it up to the listener to find them.

Tony Visconti, April 2017
A New Career In A New Town book

Bowie was initially unaware that Visconti was remixing Lodger. He was given a preview once the first five songs had been done, and immediately gave his blessing to continue. Sadly, he did not live to hear the final results.

By the time I had the first half of the album mixed, from ‘Fantastic Voyage’ to ‘Red Sails’ (I couldn’t stop after three), I felt it was time to play them to David. One day when he came to my studio to work on the Blackstar album, I told him I had a surprise for him. Would he like to hear something amazing? Well, of course he would say yes to that. I prefaced the playback with something he always said to me – I told him it was an experiment and if he didn’t think it could fly we’d drop it. That said, I pressed play. INSTANT JOY! David said he was thrilled and asked me to finish it in my own time. It was his idea to release both versions side by side. With more of Blackstar to work on, I left the final five mixes to much later.
Tony Visconti, April 2017
A New Career In A New Town book

The Lodger remix had a more detailed rendering of Brian Duffy’s Polaroid of Bowie on the cover, rotated so Bowie’s face was visible on the front. Derek Boshier’s lettering and the postcard design was mostly retained, although the “c/o R.C.A. Records” portion was omitted.

The inner gatefold featured another Duffy image of Bowie from the photo shoot, in place of the original collage. The remixed cover design was credited to Scott Minshall of the London-based creative agency GAS Associates.