A new box set of seven-inch singles features nine previously-unreleased David Bowie demos. The set, called Spying Through a Keyhole arrives via Parlophone Records this spring to mark the 50th anniversary of Bowie’s 1969 self-titled album, which was later reissued under the name of its famous title-track, Space Oddity.
The nine “new” demos were recorded during the Space Oddity era, and though they were briefly released on streaming services last December, this is the first time they will be available in a physical format.
The track list for Spying Through a Keyhole also includes early versions of Bowie tracks like “In the Heat of the Morning” and “London Bye, Ta-Ta,” as well as rarer offerings like “Mother Grey” and “Love All Around” (the latter features the lyric from which the new collection gets its title: “I see a pop tune spying through a keyhole from the other room”). Spying Through a Keyhole also boasts what’s believed to be the first ever recorded demo of “Space Oddity,” as well as another early version of the song made with Bowie’s early collaborator, John Hutchinson.
A statement about the release on Bowie’s website noted that the audio quality of some of the early demos will not reach studio levels: “This is partly due to David’s enthusiastic strumming hitting the red on a couple of the tracks, along with the limitations of the original recording equipment and tape degradation. However, the historical importance of these songs and the fact that the selections are from an archive of tracks cleared for release by Bowie, overrides this shortcoming.”
Spying Through a Keyhole marks the latest posthumous Bowie release. Last year, Parlophone teamed with BBC Studios and Glastonbury Festivals to issue the musician’s legendary headlining set at Glastonbury 2000. The label also released the box set, Loving the Alien (1983 – 1988), which followed three other era-specific compilations, Five Years (1969–1973), Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976), and A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982).
Spying Through a Keyhole Track List
1. “Mother Grey” (demo)
2. “In The Heat Of The Morning” (demo)
3. “Goodbye 3d (Threepenny) Joe” (demo)
4. “Love All Around” (demo)
5. “London Bye, Ta-Ta” (demo)
6. “Angel, Angel, Grubby Face” (demo version 1)
7. “Angel, Angel, Grubby Face” (demo version 2)
8. “Space Oddity” (demo excerpt)
9. “Space Oddity” (demo – alternative lyrics, with John Hutchinson)