David Bowie's "lost" 2001 Toy album is finally getting an official release

29 September 2021, 10:43 | Updated: 30 September 2021, 08:57

David Bowie in 2001
David Bowie in 2001. Picture: Getty

By Mayer Nissim

You can stream 'You've Got A Habit Of Leaving' from David Bowie's upcoming Toy album right now.

Back in 2001 on the heels of his successful 'hours...' album and headlining performance at the 2000 Glastonbury Festival, David Bowie presented his new album Toy to his record label.

The record was a mix of brand new songs and re-recordings of some of Bowie's less well-known material from the 1960s and early 1970s.

Incredibly, EMI/Virgin decided that they didn't want to put out a David Bowie album, and he soon left the label, releasing his next albums Heathen and Reality (and eventually The Next Day and Blackstar) on his own ISO label, together with Columbia.

David Bowie - Brilliant Adventure
David Bowie - Brilliant Adventure. Picture: Warner Music

Some of the songs originally destined for Toy ended up on Heathen ('Uncle Floyd', renamed 'Slip Away', and 'Afraid').

Others were shunted to B-sides or bonus disc status ('Baby Loves That Way', 'Conversation Piece', 'Shadow Man', 'You've Got a Habit of Leaving').

A few more eventually saw the light of day on the deluxe edition of the 2014 Nothing Has Changed compilation ('Let Me Sleep Beside You', 'Toy (Your Turn to Drive)' and 'Shadow Man').

Somewhere in the middle, a "full" version of Toy leaked on to the internet in 2011, though it's not known if that was exactly the album that Bowie had been planning.

But now it's been confirmed that Toy is getting a proper, official release in full, as part of the 11CD/18LP Brilliant Adventure (1992 – 2001) box set on November 26, 2021, and then as a standalone 3CD /LP Toy: Box set on January 7, 2022.

A remake of his 1965 single 'You've Got A Habit of Leaving' is available to stream now.

Slightly different from the 2011 leak, the official tracklisting of Toy is as follows:

  1. I Dig Everything
  2. You've Got A Habit Of Leaving
  3. The London Boys
  4. Karma Man
  5. Conversation Piece
  6. Shadow Man
  7. Let Me Sleep Beside You
  8. Hole In The Ground
  9. Baby Loves That Way
  10. Can't Help Thinking About Me
  11. Silly Boy Blue
  12. Toy (Your Turn To Drive)

Disc Two of the box-set continues:

  1. Liza Jane
  2. You've Got A Habit of Leaving (alternative mix)
  3. Baby Loves That Way (alternative mix)
  4. Can't Help Thinking About Me (alternative mix)
  5. I Dig Everything (alternative mix)
  6. The London Boys (alternative version)
  7. Silly Boy Blue (Tibet version)
  8. Let Me Sleep Beside You (alternative mix)
  9. In The Heat Of The Morning
  10. Conversation Piece (alternative mix)
  11. Hole In The Ground (alternative mix)
  12. Shadow Man (alternative mix)
  13. Toy (Your Turn To Drive) (alternative mix)

Disc Three is made up of "Unplugged & somewhat slightly electric mixes" of the Toy songs.

  1. In The Heat Of The Morning
  2. I Dig Everything
  3. You've Got A Habit of Leaving
  4. The London Boys
  5. Karma Man
  6. Conversation Piece
  7. Shadow Man
  8. Let Me Sleep Beside You
  9. Hole In The Ground
  10. Baby Loves That Way
  11. Can't Help Thinking About Me
  12. Silly Boy Blue
  13. Toy (Your Turn To Drive)

Earlier this month, the David Bowie Estate announced a partnership with Warner Music, which added Bowie's work from 2000-2016 to the previous deal, which covered 1968-1999.

There have been four extensive box sets – each 11 or 12 CDs – covering Bowie's back catalogue released by the partnership so far: Five Years (1969–1973), Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976), A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982), and Loving the Alien (1983–1988).

After Brilliant Adventure (1992–2001), there are plans for one final box set covering 2002-2016.

The only missing period from the compilations will be 1988-1992, which covers Bowie's two studio albums and one live album with Tin Machine, as well as his greatest hits 1990 Sound+Vision Tour.