David Bowie’s lost 2001 album Toy, which was shelved due to problems with his record label, will receive its first official release next year.
The album, which leaked online back in 2011, features re-recorded and revamped versions of some of Bowie’s 1964-71 tracks. It was originally to be released as a follow-up to 1999’s Hours…, but then problems with his former label, EMI/Virgin, occurred.
Toy was recorded live in the studio shortly after Bowie’s 2000 Glastonbury performance. He planned to surprise release it immediately, but EMI/Virgin stalled the release. Some say this led to Bowie’s move to Columbia Records.
The news of Toy's release also comes alongside the announcement of David Bowie 5: Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001), the latest in a series of box sets which are running through the legendary glam rock artist’s career. That box set will be released November 26, while Toy is set to drop on January 7, 2022 (a day before Bowie's birthday).
“Toy is like a moment in time captured in an amber of joy, fire and energy,” said co-producer Mark Plati of the album, which he recorded alongside Sterling Campbell, Gail Ann Dorsey, Earl Slick, Mike Garson, Holly Palmer, Emm Gryner, Lisa Germano, Gerry Leonard, and Cuong Vu.
Plati continued, “It’s the sound of people happy to be playing music. David revisited and re-examined his work from decades prior through prisms of experience and fresh perspective—a parallel not lost on me as I now revisit it twenty years later. From time to time, he used to say ‘Mark, this is our album’—I think because he knew I was so deeply in the trenches with him on that journey. I’m happy to finally be able to say it now belongs to all of us.”
Toy will be released in box set versions. Bonus discs will feature alternative versions of songs, proposed B-sides, and the “Tibet Version” of “Silly Boy Blue” recorded in 2001 with Philip Glass on piano and Moby on guitar. Another disc will include “Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric” mixes of 13 Toy tracks. The box set will also come with an 84-page book with rare photos and technical notes from producers.
In other Bowie news, the estate of the artist has approved a new deal with Warner Music Group that will see the company overseeing Bowie's full back catalogue of albums. Warner Music previously had his 1968-1999 catalogue, but now the company also owns the artist’s back catalogue of music between 2000 to 2016. This means the Bowie albums Heathen, Reality, The Next Day, and ★ (AKA Blackstar) are among the works that will come into the Warner Music fold in 2023. They were originally released via Sony Music.
Toy box sets are now available for pre-order. In the meantime, a re-recording of Toy's third single, "You've Got a Habit of Leaving," has been shared to the public.
Listen to "You've Got a Habit of Leaving" below.
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