Released: 8 March 2013
David Bowie: vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards, percussion
Gerry Leonard: guitar, keyboards
Tony Visconti: guitar, bass guitar, recorder
David Torn, Earl Slick, Morgan Visconti: guitar
Gail Ann Dorsey: bass guitar, vocals
Tony Levin: bass guitar
Henry Hey: piano, keyboards
Zachary Alford, Sterling Campbell: drums, percussion
Alex Alexander: percussion
Antoine Silverman, Maxim Moston, Hiroko Taguchi, Anja Wood: strings
Steve Elson: saxophone, clarinet
Janice Pendarvis, Erin Tonkon: vocals
The Next Day was David Bowie’s 24th and penultimate studio album. It was released in March 2013, a full decade after his previous album Reality.
The 14 remaining tour dates were cancelled, and a week later news emerged that Bowie had undergone emergency heart surgery in Hamburg to relieve an arterial blockage. Bowie spent two weeks in hospital before being discharged, and returned to New York to convalesce.
I’m so pissed off because the last ten months of this tour have been so fucking fantastic. Can’t wait to be fully recovered and get back to work again. I tell you what, though, I won’t be writing a song about this one.
Bowie never again toured, although he made onstage appearance on a handful of occasions. The first was on 8 September 2005 at Fashion Rocks in New York, where he performed with Mike Garson and Arcade Fire. He appeared with the band again on 15 September to perform ‘Queen Bitch’ and their song ‘Wake Up’.
Bowie made an unannounced appearance on 29 May 2006 with David Gilmour at London’s Royal Albert Hall, where they performed Pink Floyd’s ‘Arnold Layne’ and ‘Comfortably Numb’. Bowie’s final live appearance was on 9 November, where he sang ‘Wild Is The Wind’ with backing from Mike Garson, before performing ‘Fantastic Voyage’ with Alicia Keys’ band and duetting with her on ‘Changes’.
Further rumoured shows came to nothing, and Bowie’s profile became greatly reduced, although he did make a handful of public appearances. His absences led to ill-founded speculation about his health, including heart trouble and cancer, which were refuted by Tony Visconti after The Next Day’s release.
They’re categorically not true. He does not have cancer. If there’s one thing I would like to dispel it’s the rumours about his ill-health. He’s incredibly fit and takes care of himself. Obviously after the heart attack he wasn’t too thrilled, but he has an amazing family and friends.
The Times, 12 January 2013
Bowie had retreated from the public eye before, but never to such a degree. During his hiatus he reportedly had little desire to perform live, but spent time focusing instead on recording what would become The Next Day.