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Previously unheard versions of David Bowie’s ‘Karma Man’ and ‘Silly Boy Blue’ are now streaming

The new tracks preface two huge boxset releases

By Joe Goggins

David Bowie performs live
David Bowie performs at Glastonbury Festival in 2000.

Previously unreleased versions of David Bowie’s ‘Karma Man’ and ‘Silly Boy Blue’ have arrived on streaming services today (October 15th).

The tracks preface a pair of box set releases, ‘David Bowie 5. Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001)’ and ‘Toy’, set for release on November 26th and January 7th, respectively.

The original ‘Karma Man’ was released officially in 1970 on ‘The World of David Bowie’, although it had been aired on John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 show as early as 1968. He then reworked the song in 2000, with the help of the backing band from his iconic Glastonbury headline set the same year.

‘Toy’, the record it was destined for, was then infamously shelved after a falling-out between Bowie and then-label Virgin. That version of ‘Karma Man’ is now available to stream, along with an ‘Alternative Ending Mix’ of the 1967 song ‘Silly Boy Blue’.

The upcoming boxsets are part of an ongoing re-release series that is giving Bowie’s catalogue an expansive reappraisal. ‘Brilliant Adventure’, which collects much of his divisive work from the 1990s, will be available in huge 11-CD and 18-LP formats, while superfans be will able to pick up ‘Toy’ either on 3 CDs or a six-piece 10-inch vinyl set.

The latter arrives just one day before what would have been the rock icon’s 75th birthday. Extensive celebrations are planned under the ‘Bowie 75’ banner, including the opening of two pop-up shops and ‘experiences’ in London and New York.

The former location is at 14 Heddon Street, where the instantly recognisable cover art for ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ was shot, with the latter at 150 Wooster Street in NYC, near to where Bowie made his home in the city.