Released: 8 January 2017
David Bowie: vocals, guitar
Donny McCaslin: saxophone
Ben Monder: guitar
Tim Lefebvre: bass guitar
Jason Lindner: keyboards
Mark Guiliana: drums, percussion
All four of the EP’s songs had been written for Bowie’s Broadway musical Lazarus, which had its opening night on 7 December 2015 – Bowie’s final public appearance.
In the play each song was performed by the cast (other parts of the play featured Bowie’s original recordings). Michael C Hall sang ‘Lazarus’ and ‘Killing A Little Time’. He also duetted with Krystina Alabado on ‘When I Met You’. ‘No Plan’ was performed by Sophia Anne Caruso.
Bowie recorded his own versions of the songs in 2015, during the recording sessions for the Blackstar album, and using the same musicians.
The Lazarus soundtrack album was released on 21 October 2016. It contained the cast recordings of all four songs from the No Plan EP, as well as Bowie’s versions of each. As such, it was the first release to contain previously-unheard music from the Blackstar sessions.
The No Plan EP brought together all four of the Bowie songs. It was released as a digital download on 8 January 2017, on what would have been Bowie’s 70th birthday.
The EP reached number two on the the iTunes album chart in eleven countries, and peaked at 131 on the US Billboard 200.
A music video for the title track was released at one minute past midnight on 8 January. The director was Tom Hingston, who had previously made a video for the original version of ‘Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)’.
Bowie’s official website store announced three physical editions on 6 February 2017: a CD version on 24 February; a black vinyl 12″ out on 21 April; and a limited edition white vinyl 12″ with an exclusive lithograph, out on 26 May. Both vinyl versions had a laser etching on the b-side.
The white vinyl version was individually numbered and made to order, priced at £36.99 plus postage. The number pressed is not known. It was housed in a die-cut sleeve designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, through which the record was visible. The 12×12″ lithograph was a photograph of Bowie by Jimmy King, housed in a generic white sleeve.
A third 12″, this time on clear blue marbled vinyl, was released on 21 April 2017 for Record Store Day, and was sold only in independent shops and online. It had the same laser etching on the b-side as the other vinyl versions.