Hear David Bowie’s Long-Shelved ‘Karma Man,’ Which Made His Producer Cry
Ahead of the release of David Bowie’s long-shelved 2001 LP Toy, Parlophone/ISO Records have shared another unreleased track from the long-lost LP: “Karma Man,” as well as the single’s exclusive B-side “Silly Boy Blue (Alternative Ending Mix).”
Both “Karma Man” and “Silly Boy Blue” date back to the late Sixties; the former was performed by Bowie during BBC sessions, while the latter appeared on Bowie’s self-titled debut album in 1967. Three decades later, Bowie revisited the songs — like much of Toy, a collection of reworked songs from his pre-Space Oddity era — in the studio alongside the band that accompanied him to Glastonbury in 2000. However, Bowie’s label at the time chose not to release Toy, and the iconic singer instead moved on to his 2002 LP Heathen.
Toy producer Mark Plati said of the single in a statement, “‘Karma Man’ is notable for Cuong Vu’s opening and closing lines, and especially the glorious backing vocals from Holly Palmer, Emm Gryner, and Lisa Germano — they had so much to do with the sound of Toy, and this is a prime example. When I re-listened to these tracks, the sound of fall 2000 came flooding out of the speakers, from a song I’d not heard since then. I’m not too proud to say I shed a bit of a tear, something that happened a few times while mixing it.”
While the original mix of “Silly Boy Blue” appears on the upcoming Toy box set, due out January 7th, 2022, this version with an “Alternative Ending Mix” is exclusive to the “Karma Man” single.
Additionally, Bowie’s 5. Brilliant Adventure (1992 – 2001) will arrive in November, containing Toy along with 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.