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Twenty years ago, David Bowie was talking about releasing an album called Toy, which was going to feature re-recorded versions of some of his songs from his early years (1964-1971) with his then-new current Mark Plati, Sterling Campbell, Gail Ann Dorsey, Earl Slick, Mike Garson, Holly Palmer, and Emm Gryner. He wanted to record the album and release it right afterward – years before surprise album drops were a thing. Back then, of course, albums were mainly released on compact disc, so quick turnarounds were difficult or impossible.

Of course, Bowie being Bowie, he soon became excited about his next album of new music and he moved on. He started working on Heathen, which was released in 2002. But now, Toy is finally set for release, nearly two decades later.

Bowie’s  co-producer Mark Plati said in a press release, “Toy is like a moment in time captured in an amber of joy, fire and energy. 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‘s genesis came in 1999 during the making of an episode of VH1 Storytellers. Bowie wanted to perform something from his pre-“Space Oddity” career, so he reached back to 1966 and dusted off “Can’t Help Thinking About Me” for the first time in thirty years. The song remained in the setlist for the short promotional tour for the ‘hours…’ album, and in early 2000 Bowie and producer Plati compiled a list of some of Bowie’s earliest songs to re-record.

The album will be available on January 7 (the day before Bowie’s birthday) in 3-CD or 6×10” vinyl formats. If you can’t wait that long to hear it, it will be released a few weeks before that, on November 26, as part of a new box set, DAVID BOWIE 5: BRILLIANT ADVENTURE (1992 – 201). The box will feature all of his albums from that era: 1993’s Black Tie White Noise, 1993’s The Buddha Of Suburbia (available on vinyl for the first time in nearly 30 years), 1995’s 1.Outside, 1997’s Earthing, and 1991’s ‘hours…’ along with the expanded live album BBC Radio Theatre, London, June 27, 2000, the non-album/alternative version/B-sides and soundtrack music compilation Re:Call 5.

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