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On board the luxury liner the QE2, Southampton, UK, January 1973Photography Mick Rock, courtesy of Taschen

David Bowie’s long-lost album Toy is finally here

The 2001 record features reimaginings of some of Bowie’s earliest tracks

Two decades after its intended release, David Bowie’s album Toy is officially here. The 2001 record – which Bowie recorded just after headlining Glastonbury in 2000 – was first created as a follow-up to Bowie’s 1999 album Hours…

Bowie hoped to surprise-release the record in 2002, however, his label disagreed – prompting him to set up his own label with Columbia Records. There, he cancelled the album and created his 2002 album, Heathen, instead. 

In 2011, Toy was leaked online with two songs missing from the tracklist. Now, ten years later, the record has been officially released in the fifth series of Bowie’s multi-album collectibles.

Created in collaboration with long-time producer Tony Visconti, producer Mark Plati, and Bowie's touring band from 1999's Hours, “Toy” features reimaginings of some of Bowie’s earliest tracks – including 1968’s “In The Heat of the Morning” with the strings taken out and the 1971 demo, “Shadow Man”, with strings added in. Bowie also re-recorded his first ever single,1964’s “Liza Jane”.

“David revisited and re-examined his work from decades prior through prisms of experience and fresh perspective – a parallel not lost on me as I now revisit it twenty years later,” Plati told the Irish Examiner. “From time to time, he used to say, ‘Mark, this is our album’ – I think because he knew I was so deeply in the trenches with him on that journey. I’m happy to finally be able to say it now belongs to all of us.” 

He continued: “Toy is like a moment in time captured in an amber of joy, fire and energy. It’s the sound of people happy to be playing music.”

Visit the gallery above for a look through Mick Rock’s stunning photographs of Bowie in the early 1970s, and purchase Bowie’s new box set here.