Like many of the Toy tracks — including the earlier single “Karma Man” — Bowie initially recorded “Can’t Help Thinking About Me” during his pre-Space Oddity era, only to revisit the song in the late-Nineties. The song was originally released as a single in 1966 and all but forgotten by the singer until he surprisingly revived it for his VH1 Storytellers special in August 1999.
The track would remain in the setlists during Bowie’s tour in support of 1999’s ‘hours…’; a live and since-unseen performance of the track from Paris’ the Elysée Montmartre was released along with the studio take on “Can’t Help Thinking About Me.”
In October 1999, Bowie would again perform the track, this time at London’s Maida Vale Studios for the Mark Radcliffe BBC Radio 1 Show; a recording of that performance serves as the B-side for a new vinyl single dedicated to “Can’t Help Thinking About Me.”
Radcliffe said in a statement, “I’m so pleased that this track is being released as it was such a joy and surprise when he included it in his set at Maida Vale that day. I remember that occasion so fondly. David was wearing an excellent shirt and was on such great, twinkly form. I recall David dancing with Gail Ann Dorsey to ‘I Try’ by Macy Gray, which was playing on the radio. I interviewed Gail Ann a year or so ago, and she too remembered that moment vividly. It was one of the few cherished and special days I got to spend with him for which I remain ever grateful.”
Bowie’s Toy — which his label at the time opted not to put out in 2001 and, barring a low-quality leak, has remained unreleased — will finally arrive on Nov. 26 as part of 5. Brilliant Adventure (1992 – 2001), a collection featuring remastered editions of Black Tie White Noise, The Buddha of Suburbia, Outside, Earthling, and ‘hours…’ along with the live album BBC Radio Theatre, London, June 27th, 2000, and the exclusive collection Re: Call 5. Additionally, the three-disc Toy:Box is out Jan. 7.