A special limited edition box set of The Buddha Of Suburbia was released in the UK in 1993, exclusive to WH Smith stores.
The set included the CD album along with Hanif Kureishi’s novel, housed in a fold-out clear PVC box.
The Buddha Of Suburbia was released in the US on 24 October 1995.
This version – and those which followed – sported a different cover photograph. Gone was the montage of characters from the BBC TV series, and in its place was a photograph of David Bowie from a 1995 photo shoot – a similar shot appeared in the press pack for 1.Outside.
Virgin/EMI rereleased the album on 17 September 2007, with the new artwork, and with Bowie’s extensive sleeve notes from the original UK release.
The reissue coincided with the release of the BBC TV series as a two-disc DVD edition.
In 1993, Bowie privately released All Saints, a compilation of instrumental recordings limited to 150 copies, and given as Christmas gifts to friends and family. It included the Buddha Of Suburbia tracks ‘The Mysteries’, ‘Ian Fish, UK Heir’, and ‘South Horizon’.
In 2001 the album was given a commercial release, with new artwork and as a single-disc set. This dropped ‘South Horizon’ and all the tracks from Black Tie White Noise, replacing them with ‘Brilliant Adventure’ and ‘Crystal Japan’.
Despite its botched release and poor commercial performance, Bowie remained proud of The Buddha Of Suburbia. It gave him artistic freedom to reject the mainstream, the boldness to reclaim and rework his past achievements, and set the scene for the greater experimentation of 1.Outside and Earthling.
My own success as a songwriter and performer, I think, really flies or not on whether I’m doing it with a personal integrity. All my biggest mistakes are when I try to second guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it and just do what I want to do. Even if they’re dismissed, and perhaps rightly, there were a couple of albums in the ’80s that did exceptionally well for me—and I’m not a huge selling artist—but they’re not albums I’m proud of. I’d much prefer to say that I did Buddha Of Suburbia. I feel much more comfortable about that than about say Never Let Me Down even though it was a really big seller.
The Word, October 2003