David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’: There Are Apparently Five More Songs From The Sessions

Robbie Daw | January 12, 2016 3:06 pm

Last Friday (January 8), before the world knew it was about to lose David Bowie to a battle with cancer — and upon the day of Bowie’s 69th birthday and release of his 25th album Blackstar — the Los Angeles Times ran a piece that featured an interview with the Thin White Duke’s longtime producer Tony Visconti, who’s worked with Bowie here and there on albums ranging from 1969’s Space Oddity on up through the iconic rocker’s latest.

As it turns out, one key tidbit was buried at the end of the piece that should intrigue all those who’ve enabled Blackstar to shoot to #1 following the passing of Bowie on January 10: There are apparently five more songs from the recording sessions that have yet to be released.

In its entirety, Blackstar is a seven-track album with a running time of 41 minutes. And of those seven songs, two had been previously released in a different form, but re-recorded for the new album: “Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)”, initially a collaboration with the Maria Schneider Orchestra, first made its way into the world as a single off 2014 Bowie compilation Nothing Has Changed, while “‘Tis A Pity She Was A Whore” was available as a vinyl-only b-side to “Sue.”

Some highlights from the L.A. Times chat with Visconti include the following: “When [Bowie] was making records in the ’70s and ’80s, he was always on tour and living in hotel rooms, being a father — just too much pressure. He’d come into the studio with maybe two or three great songs. I know Nile Rodgers would tell you same thing. Everyone who worked with him had the same experience. This used to frustrate me, as a producer. He comes in with no songs and says, ‘Let’s jam.’ I’d say, ‘Oh, no, how’s this gonna turn out?'”

Visconti then refers to Bowie’s two most recent albums, which he handled production on: “Blackstar and Next Day were stress-free, no problems. He comes prepared now. This is an old dog with new tricks. Now, by not announcing he’s making a record, he gives himself the time to be creative. Playing saxophone on these demos, bringing in radical guitar parts. He really is making music for himself these days. There’s no fluff about David Bowie anymore. There never was, really.”

With the heightened interest now in Bowie’s current album and back catalog, it’s not hard to imagine those five additional cuts getting a proper release sometime soon.

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