David Bowie’s unreleased 1997 version of the Tin Machine track “Baby Universal” is the latest offering from the Is It Any Wonder? EP, a six-track EP highlighting rare tracks Bowie recorded in the Earthling era.
Originally recorded by the Bowie side project Tin Machine and released in 1991 as the penultimate single from Tin Machine II, Bowie and Tin Machine guitarist and long-time collaborator Reeves Gabrels revisited “Baby Universal” in the studio while working on Earthling; the track had reemerged as a live staple during Bowie’s 1996 tour.
“Baby Universal ’97″ was originally slotted to appear between “I’m Afraid of Americans” and “Law (Earthlings on Fire)” at the back end of Earthling, but it was ultimately removed before its release. Despite subsequent expanded editions of the album, the version remained unreleased until its official dropFriday as part of the Is It Any Wonder? EP
“I thought ‘Baby Universal’ was a really good song and I don’t think it got heard. I didn’t really want that to happen to it, so I put it on this album,” Bowie said of the song in 1997. “I think this version is very good.”
Is It Any Wonder? features fellow Earthling-via-Tin Machine castoff “I Can’t Read ’97” as well as Earthling-era re-recordings of “Stay” and “The Man Who Sold the World.” The six-week unveiling of the EP’s contents will continue with newly unearthed tracks on February 7th and 14th.
Hear the Tin Machine II version of “Baby Universal” below: