Unreleased Ziggy-era David Bowie album to be released for Record Store Day (sort of)

A new Bowie release could be on its way.

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As a mega-fan of an artist who's no longer with us, my standard for what constitutes new material is very low. I would be very surprised to find an album's worth of unreleased David Bowie tracks (though I like to believe that there's a vault of unreleased material somewhere like Prince had) soWaiting in the Sky (Before The Starman Came to Earth) may well be the closest thing possible to a new David Bowie album we'll ever see.

Waiting in the Sky is basically 1972's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars slightly rejigged to match the tracklisting on the quarter-inch tapes from Trident Studios from December 1971. So, there are a few tracks that weren't on the final version of the Ziggy Stardust album that we all know and love.

The "new" tracks "Holy Holy," "Velvet Goldmine," and covers of Jacques Brel's "Amsterdam" and Chuck Berry's "Round and Round" were all previously released as b-sides; "Velvet Goldmine" is particularly known as one of his best-loved b-sides.

A "new" David Bowie album could be on its way

A cynic would point out that you could assemble Waiting In The Sky by putting together a Spotify playlist. But Waiting in the Sky is a Record Store Day Exclusive, and the purpose of RSD is to encourage the support of a non-digital medium. These songs may be available elsewhere, but not all together on one beautifully packaged vinyl LP. In fact, Waiting In The Sky will not be released on CD.

Similarly, we've seen the Bowie albums Young Americans and The Man Who Sold The World rejigged and repackaged to recreate earlier versions. Young Americans was rereleased as The Gouster, with two new tracks in 2017, and The Man Who Sold The World was rereleased as The Metrobolist in 2020. The Metrobolist didn't even have any new tracks, and was simply a remix.

Now, we could criticise the powers that be for exploiting fans with unnecessary repackagings, but in the age of digital music, vinyl itself is an unnecessary repackaging. We love vinyl, despite this. Besides, Bowie fans have been sold sillier merchandise.

Waiting in the Sky (Before The Starman Came to Earth) will be released on Record Store Day (20 April 2024) via Parlophone and will be available at participating independent record shops.

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