Press announcements

Is It Any Wonder? was announced on 8 January 2020, on what would have been Bowie’s 73rd birthday, along with the ChangesNowBowie album.

To coincide with the announcement, the first instalment of the Is It Any Wonder? EP was made available on streaming services. This was the ChangesNowBowie version of ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, the first of six tracks released online over six weeks.

The Man Who Sold The World

Is It Any Wonder? (2020) cover artwork

“We spoke of was and when”

It’s likely that some of you have been expecting something on what would have been David Bowie’s 73rd birthday, after announcements on 8th January for the past couple of years. Indeed, if the calendar has clicked over to that date where you are, then you have possibly already found something.

Now it’s 8th January in the country of his birth, here’s that announcement…

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DAVID BOWIE IS IT ANY WONDER? – STREAMING EP OF UNRELEASED & RARE MATERIAL

‘THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD’ (CHANGESNOWBOWIE VERSION) FIRST OF SIX TRACKS TO BE RELEASED OVER SIX WEEKS

CHANGESNOWBOWIE LIMITED EDITION NINE TRACK LP/CD OF PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED MATERIAL TO BE ISSUED FOR RECORD STORE DAY 18th APRIL, 2020

8th January 2020 London

Parlophone Records is proud to announce DAVID BOWIE IS IT ANY WONDER? a six track EP of unreleased and rare tracks to be released over six weeks.

The first of these is a previously unreleased version of ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, released today as a streaming-only 1 track digital single in celebration of both David’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of the writing and recording of this classic. Five more songs will be released on a weekly basis from 17th January.

‘THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD’ (CHANGESNOWBOWIE VERSION) is taken from the 9-track session ChangesNowBowie, recorded for radio and broadcast by the BBC on David’s 50th birthday on 8th January, 1997.

I Can’t Read ’97

The second Is It Any Wonder? track to be unveiled was ‘I Can’t Read ’97’, on 17 January 2020.

Confusingly, on this date Parlophone uploaded a rehearsal version of the song, recorded prior to Bowie’s 50th birthday concert in January 1997, which had often been included on ChangesNowBowie bootlegs. Spotify, however, carried the correct version, an outtake from the Earthling sessions. That recording had also been used as the basis for a version used in the film The Ice Storm, with some amendments including a re-recorded chorus.

I Can't Read ’97 cover artwork

DAVID BOWIE IS IT ANY WONDER? STREAMING EP OF UNRELEASED & RARE MATERIAL

‘I CAN’T READ ’97’ (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED) AVAILABLE NOW

THE SECOND OF SIX TRACKS TO BE RELEASED OVER SIX WEEKS

Parlophone Records is proud to unveil ‘I CAN’T READ ’97’, the second instalment of DAVID BOWIE’s IS IT ANY WONDER? EP of six unreleased and rare tracks being released once a week.

‘I CAN’T READ’ originally appeared on Tin Machine’s eponymous debut album in 1989, and was a staple in the band’s live set. In the autumn of 1996, during the mixing stages for Earthling, David re-recorded the track – which, at one stage, appeared on a mastered version of the album.

While the song’s second incarnation, ‘I CAN’T READ ’97’, was David’s preferred solo version (the version available today), it was ultimately cut from Earthling and replaced at the last minute with ‘The Last Thing You Should Do’.

An alternative version, featuring minor chords and a darker sound for the chorus, was recorded for Ang Lee’s film The Ice Storm. The full length version appeared on a single in 1998, while an edit featured on the film’s soundtrack album in 1997, both released by VelVel Records.

‘I CAN’T READ ’97’ written by David Bowie & Reeves Gabrels is produced by David Bowie, co-produced by Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati, and mixed by Mark Plati. The track was recorded and mixed at Right Track Recording in New York and features Gail Ann Dorsey on bass and vocals, Mike Garson on piano, and Reeves Gabrels on guitar and vocals.

DAVID BOWIE ‘I CAN’T READ ’97’ IS AVAILABLE TO STREAM NOW ON PARLOPHONE

Stay ’97

The third Is It Any Wonder? track to be unveiled was a 1997’s re-recording of ‘Stay’, a song originally on Bowie’s 1976 album Station To Station.

Stay ’97 cover artwork

DAVID BOWIE IS IT ANY WONDER? STREAMING EP OF UNRELEASED & RARE MATERIAL

‘STAY ’97’ (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED) AVAILABLE FRIDAY 24TH JANUARY THE THIRD OF SIX TRACKS TO BE RELEASED OVER SIX WEEKS

Parlophone Records is proud to announce ‘STAY ’97′ the third instalment of DAVID BOWIE’s IS IT ANY WONDER? EP of six unreleased and rare tracks being released once a week.

‘STAY’ originally appeared on the ‘Station To Station’ album in 1976 and was released as a single in North America and Japan in August of that year.

The previously unreleased 1997 re-recording of ‘STAY’ began at The Factory in the Dublin Docklands during the pre-Earthling tour rehearsals while David, Mark Plati and Reeves Gabrels were preparing the backing/sequencer tracks before the rest of the band arrived, and the rehearsals started in earnest.

David wanted to ‘update’ some of his live show staples so they would sit well sonically with the Outside/Earthling material. The recording was completed later, potentially for use as a ‘B-side’, and mixed at Right Track Recording studios, New York in May/June 1997.

‘STAY ‘97’ is produced by David Bowie, co-produced by Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati, and mixed by Mark Plati. The track features Gail Ann Dorsey on bass and vocals, Mike Garson on piano/keyboards, Mark Plati on programming/keyboards, Zachary Alford on drums and Reeves Gabrels on guitar/synths

DAVID BOWIE ‘STAY ’97’ IS AVAILABLE TO STREAM FRIDAY 24TH JANUARY ON PARLOPHONE

Baby Universal ’97

‘Baby Universal ’97′ was revealed as the fourth Is It Any Wonder? song on 31 January 2020.

Baby Universal ’97 cover artwork

DAVID BOWIE IS IT ANY WONDER? STREAMING EP OF UNRELEASED & RARE MATERIAL

‘BABY UNIVERSAL ‘97’ (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED) AVAILABLE NOW

FOURTH OF SIX TRACKS TO BE RELEASED OVER SIX WEEKS

‘BABY UNIVERSAL ’97’ is now available for streaming as the fourth of six tracks making up DAVID BOWIE’s IS IT ANY WONDER? EP (Parlophone) of unreleased and rare tracks being released once a week.

With lyrics by David and music co-written by David and Reeves Gabrels, ‘Baby Universal’ was initially recorded by Tin Machine for Tin Machine II. Released as the band’s penultimate single in October 1991, it was performed during the final Tin Machine US television appearance on Saturday Night Live.

‘Baby Universal’ was regularly performed on Bowie’s ‘Outside Summer Festivals Tour’ in 1996. The version now being released as ‘BABY UNIVERSAL ’97’ was re-recorded for the Earthling album, originally intended to be sequenced between ‘I’m Afraid Of Americans’ and ‘Law (Earthlings On Fire)’. The song was ultimately removed from the final album master, but David was very fond of this version and before the track was dropped was quoted as saying: “I thought ‘Baby Universal’ was a really good song and I don’t think it got heard. I didn’t really want that to happen to it, so I put it on this album… I think this version is very good.”.

‘BABY UNIVERSAL ’97’ is produced by David Bowie, co-produced by Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati. It was recorded at Looking Glass Studios and mixed by Mark Plati at Right Track Recording, both in New York. The track features Gail Ann Dorsey on bass and vocals, Mike Garson on piano/keyboards, Mark Plati on programming/keyboards, Zachary Alford on drums and Reeves Gabrels on guitar, synths and vocals.

DAVID BOWIE ‘BABY UNIVERSAL ‘97’ IS AVAILABLE TO STREAM NOW ON PARLOPHONE

Nuts

The previously-unreleased Earthling outtake ‘Nuts’ was first played on Mary Anne Hobbs’s BBC Radio 6 show on 6 February 2020, and was available on streaming services the following day. It was the fifth and penultimate Is It Any Wonder? track to be unveiled.

Nuts cover artwork

DAVID BOWIE IS IT ANY WONDER? STREAMING EP OF UNRELEASED & RARE MATERIAL

‘NUTS’ (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED) AVAILABLE NOW

THE FIFTH OF SIX TRACKS TO BE RELEASED OVER SIX WEEKS

‘NUTS’ (previously unreleased) is to be made available by Parlophone Records for streaming today as the penultimate release of DAVID BOWIE’s IS IT ANY WONDER? EP of six unreleased and rare tracks being released once a week.

The unreleased semi instrumental ‘NUTS’ was jointly written by David, Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati. It was recorded during the final Earthling sessions in November 1996, the same session during which ‘The Last Thing You Should Do’ was written and recorded.

Both songs were being recorded as bonus tracks but then, at the last minute David swapped out ‘I Can’t Read’ (released as track two from this streaming E.P. on 17th January) with ‘The Last Thing You Should Do’. However, ‘NUTS’ has remained unreleased until today.

‘NUTS’ Features Bowie on vocals, Reeves Gabrels on guitars & Mark Plati playing keyboards and programming. It was produced by David Bowie, co-produced by Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati and was recorded and Mixed by Mark Plati at Looking Glass Studios, NYC.

The last track from the EP will be announced next week with a final extra surprise.

Eno mix, CD and vinyl

On 14 February 2020 the final Is It Any Wonder? track was made available on streaming sites. It was ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ (Live Eno Mix), which dated from 1995.

On the same day, limited vinyl and compact disc editions of the EP were made available to order online. An accompanying note on Bowie’s website stated: “This product is available for pre-order and it is anticipated to ship on or around March 20th.” The press release also revealed that ‘Fun’ (Clownboy Mix) would replace the ChangesNowBowie version of ‘The Man Who Sold The World’.

IS IT ANY WONDER? EP STREAMING AND PHYSICAL

“Back into the funhouse, music is sublime…”

You’re no doubt getting a bit used to this and are expecting the final track of the Is It Any Wonder? streaming EP. Well, that track is ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ (Live Eno Mix), originally released as a single in 1995, when it was coupled with ‘Strangers When We Meet’.

‘The Man Who Sold The World’ (Live Eno Mix), will be available where you are as the calendar turns to Valentine’s Day, Friday 14th February.

The even better news is that the Is It Any Wonder? EP will also be released on 12” vinyl and CD through the Bowie Official Store on Friday 20th March, with the CHANGESNOWBOWIE version of ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ replaced by ‘Fun’ (Clownboy Mix). Here’s the tracklisting:

SIDE 1
Baby Universal ‘97
Fun (Clownboy Mix)
Stay ’97

SIDE 2
I Can’t Read ’97
Nuts
The Man Who Sold The World (Live Eno Mix)

To sum up, here’s the schedule:

~ Complete 6-track IS IT ANY WONDER? streaming EP available Friday 14th February.
~ Limited Edition IS IT ANY WONDER? physical EP on 12” vinyl and CD released Friday 20th March. (Pre-order details will be posted here tomorrow, Friday 14th February.)
~ CHANGESNOWBOWIE LP and CD to be released on Record Store Day, Saturday 18th April.

Keep reading for the full press release.

#BowieIIAW

DAVID BOWIE IS IT ANY WONDER? STREAMING E.P. OF UNRELEASED & RARE MATERIAL

’THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD’ (LIVE ENO MIX) AVAILABLE NOW THE LAST OF SIX TRACKS RELEASED OVER SIX WEEKS

PHYSICAL FORMATS WITH ALTERNATIVE TRACKLISTING TO BE RELEASED VIA DAVIDBOWIE.COM EXCLUSIVELY ON MARCH 20th

Parlophone Records is proud to announce ‘THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD’ (LIVE ENO MIX), the final instalment of DAVID BOWIE’s IS IT ANY WONDER? streaming EP of six unreleased and rare tracks released over six weeks.

With this rare version of one of the most iconic Bowie songs of the last 50 years, the IS IT ANY WONDER? EP is now available to stream in its entirety. The six-track EP will also be made available on 12” vinyl and CD with an alternative tracklisting including ‘FUN’ (CLOWNBOY MIX).

Now available for the first time since its 1995 release, ’THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD’ (LIVE ENO MIX) was previously issued as a double A-side green vinyl 7” single and CD single in various territories with the Outside version of ’Strangers When We Meet.’ The Live Eno Mix version of this classic song is based on the fairly radical trip-hop reworking performed on the Outside World Tour. Longtime Bowie collaborator Brian Eno reshaped, overdubbed and mixed this live recording of the song at Westside Studios in London on 30th October, 1995, recalling the session in his diaries: “I added some backing vocals and a sonar blip and sculpted the piece a little so that there was more contour to it.”.

The physical formats of IS IT ANY WONDER? on 12” vinyl and CD will feature ‘FUN’ (CLOWNBOY MIX) replacing ’THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD’ (CHANGESNOWBOWIE version), leaving the CHANGESNOWBOWIE version exclusive to the CHANGESNOWBOWIE LP and CD to be released on Record Store Day, 18th April.

‘FUN’ (CLOWNBOY MIX) originated as a modern revamp of the Bowie classic ‘Fame’, performed under the name ‘Is It Any Wonder?’ during David’s ‘club set’ on the Earthling tour.

The basic backing and sequencer tracks were worked at the Factory in Dublin docklands during pre-tour rehearsals in early 1997. A live version of ‘Fame,’ recorded at the Amsterdam Paradiso on 10th June, 1997, was further worked on by Mark Plati and Reeves Gabrels at Looking Glass Studios in New York and mixed at Sony Music Studios in New York in February 1998. At one point the live version of ‘FUN’, as it was now being called, was considered for inclusion on the BowieNet exclusive Liveandwell.com album and appeared on early reference masters. Referenced in interviews by Reeves as ‘Funhouse’, the song further developed lyrically and musically and, by the time Danny Saber created the Clownboy mix in May 1998, it was a completely new piece of work written by David and Reeves and featuring no elements of ‘Fame’. The Clownboy mix has previously only appeared on a BowieNet subscriber exclusive CD-ROM in 1998 and on Virgin Records in-house CDR’s along with four other Clownboy mix variants.

‘THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD’ (LIVE ENO MIX) is produced by David Bowie, and mixed by Brian Eno. The track features backing vocals by Eno, Gail Ann Dorsey on bass and vocals, Peter Schwartz on synths, Zachary Alford on drums, Carlos Alomar on guitar and Reeves Gabrels on guitar and vocals.

‘FUN’ (CLOWBOY MIX) is produced by David Bowie, Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati. It was recorded by Steve Guest and Mark Plati and was mixed by Danny Saber at Ocean Way Recording May 1998, the mix was engineered by John X. The track features David Bowie on vocals, Zachary Alford on drums, Gail Ann Dorsey on bass/vocals, Mike Garson on piano, Reeves Gabrels on guitars/vocals and Mark Plati on keyboards/programming.