On September 25th, David Bowie will release a massive new box set covering the first successful phase of his long, highly regarded career. According to his official website, Five Years 1969-1973 will feature six studio albums, two live records, and a two-disc collection of single mixes, B-sides and rarities. It will be available in a 12-CD package as well as a separate 13-LP collection.
Space Oddity (AKA David Bowie (1969) and Man Of Words, Man Of Music), The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane and the covers album Pin-Ups have all been remastered once again specifically for this set. The 2003 stereo remix of The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars, only previously available on DVD, will also be included.
On top of that, Five Years will also feature the double-disc Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture soundtrack and Live Santa Monica ’72, a Ziggy-era bootleg that was first released officially in 2008.
Finally, there’s Re:Call 1. Sadly not available as a separate stand alone release, this exclusive two-disc compilation will feature 24 additional songs, many of which appeared as bonus tracks on previous studio album reissues as well as being a part of earlier box sets & greatest hits compilations. Far from comprehensive (not all the extra songs from the Rykodisc & 30th Anniversary versions are restored here, unfortunately), it does showcase most of the non-album A-Sides & B-Sides from the era. (The UK single edit of Space Oddity is on the track list, but neither of the two US single edits made the cut.)
Amongst a lot of familiar hits & flipsides are several genuine rarities, the biggest of which is Holy Holy. Originally a three-minute single issued in 1970, only the two-and-a-half minute 1971 re-recording (a Ziggy Stardust outtake eventually issued as a B-Side to Diamond Dogs in 1974) has ever made it on a Bowie CD, including this box set. Now, for the first time ever, the original three-minute version can be heard digitally, as well. It was only previously available officially on 45.
Also making its debut on CD is a rare, unreleased single mix of All The Madmen from The Man Who Sold The World and the German single edit of Drive In Saturday from Aladdin Sane.
Fans of John, I’m Only Dancing will be happy to know that the original mix and the sax version are included on disc two of Re:Call 1, marking the first time that both have appeared on the same release. Other highlights of the collection include the Arnold Corns versions of Moonage Daydream and Hang On To Yourself (but not the rare vinyl-only B-Side The Man In The Middle), the Italian version of Space Oddity (Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola), the single edit of Time from Aladdin Sane and Velvet Goldmine.
Five Years will also include a new book filled with rare photos, new liner notes written by Bowie producers Ken Scott and Tony Visconti, plus a foreword from The Kinks’ Ray Davies.
According to the official press release on davidbowie.com, this is only the first “in a series” of box sets to cover the six-decade career of The Thin White Duke himself.
Furthermore, regarding Five Years, the website promises “updates, pre-order links and more shortly.” Hopefully, one of those updates will note whether this box set is coming to Canada.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, June 22, 2015