David Bowie’s Lost Album Toy Getting Official Release
You see that? That grotesque image up there is the cover art for Toy, the album David Bowie intended to release in 2001. Although it leaked 10 years later, it’s now getting official release in January, the day after Bowie’s birthday. Before that, Bowie’s estate is also releasing David Bowie 5: Brilliant Adventure, the latest in a series of archival box sets, this one chronicling 1992-2001.
Bowie recorded Toy after Glastonbury 2000 with his live band at the time: Mark Plati, Sterling Campbell, Gail Ann Dorsey, Earl Slick, Mike Garson, Holly Palmer, and Emm Gryner. It comprises songs he originally had recorded between 1964-1971 along with the then-new closing track “Toy (Your Turn To Drive).” The idea was to capture a live-in-the-studio feel and to drop it by surprise as soon as possible, a release strategy that apparently didn’t correspond with the technological possibilities of the moment. When that didn’t work out, Bowie moved on to recording 2002’s Heathen and Toy was shelved.
A word from Plati, who co-produced Toy with Bowie:
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. 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. 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.
In addition to the standalone Toy release, there will of course be an expanded edition called Toy:Box featuring all sorts of alternate takes and mixes plus B-sides. Toy is also included in David Bowie 5: Brilliant Adventure along with Black Tie White Noise, The Buddha Of Suburbia, Outside, Earthling, hours…, and two titles exclusive to the box: the live album BBC Radio Theatre, London, June 27, 2000 and the odds and ends collection Re:Call 5.
For a taste of Toy, here’s the radio edit of “You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving.”