LISTEN: David Bowie, SHADOW MAN (Two Previously Unreleased Versions)

Friday, January 7, 2022
David Bowie seen here performing on the pyramid stage at Glastonbury. 25th June 2000. (Photo by Staff Western Gazette/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

ISO Records/Parlophone Records today announces the release of "Shadow Man (Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric Mix)," which is a stripped-down mix of a re-recording of a song David Bowie initially recorded in late 1970. "Shadow Man" appears on the album Toy, which features in the David Bowie 5. Brilliant Adventure (1992 – 2001) boxed set and the "Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric Mix" is on the Toy (Toy: Box) boxed set, which are both available now.

The "unplugged" studio recording is coupled with an early studio demo version recorded in the closing months of 1970 — not recorded during the Ziggy Stardust album sessions as often stated, and exclusive to this single. Listen to both versions below.

Bowie initially recorded "Shadow Man" in late 1970, once more in Autumn 1971, and then 30 years later for the legendary "lost" album Toy. The song finally saw the light of day in 2002 on singles from the album Heathen and again on the Nothing Has Changed compilation in 2014.

Toy was recorded following Bowie’s triumphant Glastonbury 2000 performance. Bowie entered the studio with his band, Mark Plati, Sterling Campbell, Gail Ann Dorsey, Earl Slick, Mike Garson, Holly Palmer, and Emm Gryner, to record new interpretations of songs he'd first recorded from 1964-1971. Bowie planned to record the album "old school" with the band playing live, choose the best takes and then release it as soon as humanly possible in a remarkably prescient manner. Unfortunately, in 2001 the concept of the 'surprise drop' album release and the technology to support it were still quite a few years off, making it impossible to release Toy, as the album was now named, out to fans as instantly as Bowie wanted. In the interim, Bowie did what he did best; he moved on to something new, which began with a handful of new songs from the same sessions and ultimately became the album Heathen, released in 2002 and now acknowledged as one of his finest moments.

The third CD/set of 10"s features 'Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric’ mixes of 13 Toy tracks. Producer Mark Plati: "While we were recording the basic tracks Earl Slick suggested that he and I overdub acoustic guitars on all the songs. He said this was a Keith Richards' trick, sometimes these guitars would be a featured part of the track, and at other times they'd be more subliminal. Later while mixing, David heard one of the songs broken down to just vocals and acoustic guitars; this gave him the idea that we ought to do some stripped-down mixes like that and that maybe one day they'd be useful."

Toy (Toy: Box) is a special edition of the Toy album. The "capture the moment" approach of the recording sessions are extended to the sleeve artwork designed by Bowie featuring a photo of him as a baby with a contemporary face. The package also contains a 16-page full-color book featuring previously unseen photographs by Frank Ockenfels III.

Included in Toy: Box is a second CD/set of 10”s of alternative mixes and versions including proposed B-Sides (versions of Bowie’s debut single “Liza Jane” and 1967’s “In The Heat of The Morning”), later mixes by Tony Visconti and the "Tibet Version" of “Silly Boy Blue” recorded at The Looking Glass Studio at the time of the 2001 Tibet House show in New York featuring Philip Glass on piano and Moby on guitar. The third CD/set of 10”s features the aforementioned "Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric" mixes of 13 Toy tracks.