David Bowie / DJ seven-inch picture disc

Features previously unreleased audio on both sides of the single

David Bowie‘s 1979 single ‘D.J.’ will be the next 40th anniversary seven-inch vinyl picture disc to be issued, next month.

The song was the second (and final) single in the UK from the Lodger album and was accompanied by a superb David Mallet-directed video, with those memorable scenes of Bowie walking down Earls Court Road in London staying in character as he is accosted by members of the general public!

Both sides of this picture disc are previously unreleased. Side A features a new single edit of the 2017 Tony Visconti mix of ‘D.J.’ while the ‘AA’ side includes a completely different version of the previous single ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ that was performed on The Kenny Everett Video Show

It’s a really interesting take, recorded by Tony Visconti in Soho in London on the 9th April 1979 and features Sean Mayes on keyboards, Tony Visconti on bass, Simon House on violin, Andy Duncan on drums, Brian Robertson (of Thin Lizzy) on guitar and Ricky Hitchcock on guitar. The Kenny Everett Video Show was filmed the very next day and broadcast on the following day and broadcast on 23rd April, 1979.

I’m not going to apologise for repeating the complaint that this kind of rare audio is rather wasted on the picture discs. With no download code included with these singles, one assumes we will have to wait for a deluxe expanded edition of Lodger to get this alternate recording of Boys Keep Swinging on an optical disc or black vinyl. Considering the A New Career In A New Town box set covered that era less than two years ago, that’s surely a long way off.

This ‘D.J.’ picture disc will be released on 28 June 2019. The price in the UK should come down to £9.99 before the release date. ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ is due before this and is released on 17 May.

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David Bowie

D.J. seven-inch pic disc


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About the sound quality of picture discs in general, is it possible that it varies between labels and manufacturers? My single of Madonna’s ‘Music’ is noticeably quieter than other formats, but Smells Like Teen Spirit makes a proper racket. I don’t know about these Bowie reissues as I don’t have any of them, but I’m hoping that Ashes To Ashes will be the album version, not that terrible edit that was on the original single. I do feel it’s one of those songs where you need the whole thing, but it will certainly be a stunning piece of visual art in any case.

Kevin Henry

HMV Sheffield had 15 copies of the Boys Keep Swinging single.


More fun on the way with the £60 Space Oddity 50th boxed double 7”.


How many ways are EMI/Parlophone going to think of to get us Bowie diehards to part with our cash on old material? There are already 2 x 40th anniversary picture disc singles (Boys Keep Swinging and DJ (with another version of Boys Keep Swinging on the ‘B’ side)) being released within weeks of each other at £10 a pop. Now the Space Oddity boxset of 2 x 7″ singles, featuring the same songs on both, with new mixes of both by Tony “I do more on this record than people realise” Visconti on disc 2, a poster and a photo print for £36 (preorder) on Amazon. And there was I thinking the latest Depeche Mode 12″ single boxset at £100 being a ripoff. But at least there are 7 x 12″ singles with that.

Ian Hartley

Does anyone have or can anyone point me towards a complete list of these discs? I think I may have missed one or two along the way and am collecting them all. Any help gratefully received.
Thanks all.



There was also a 7″ picture disc of Lady Stardust released in Japan for the David Bowie Is exhibition which may or may not be considered part of this series (I think most would say not). Rock’n’roll Suicide was not released in the US and 1984, which was released at the same time, wasn’t released in the UK. 1984 is pretty expensive.


These are lovely picture discs and I would buy them if they were cheaper (£5 max). Not a big fan of picture discs but some are nice collectors items to own. For example, I have Clash picture discs from the Combat Rock era and they look great. I don’t play them, just bought them for the artwork.

My only complaint is the price but not just for pictute discs, for 7” singles in general.
30 years ago, a 7” single would cost approx 25% of the price of an album. Nowadays it’s often 50% ! It’s a shame because I love the format and would buy more 7′ singles if they were cheaper.

Anyway, with all the Bowie 7″ box sets consisting of demos, I’m still waiting for 7” box sets covering Bowie’s entire career (like the Who did). They would be good companions to the LP box sets released by Parlophone .


Totally (will maybe not totally) off-topic but thanks for posting the clip.

I had forgotten this existed. I saw it at the time as I was a huge fan of the Kenny Everett show but I don’t think I spotted that it was a total re-recording of the song.

I love the stripped-back version of Space Oddity that he did on the show (which is of course now readily available).

Chris Squires

Some of the best 70s / 80s music clips came from these types of programmes rather than good ole Top of the Pops. Funnily enough I watched the Kenny Everett Episode with Kate Bush just a couple of days ago.

I don’t know if ITV was the same as the BBC but it was something that came out of a programme about “The Young Ones”. If they were just allied to the BBC comedy department their budget was restricted but if they included music (such as Motorhead / Madness / Dexy’s / Amazulu etc) they classed the show as “General Entertainment” and the budget was much, much larger. Sneaky.


Tony Visconti does a bit too much Bowie re-hashing.


And nobody asks him to. He just turns up and does it!


I heard he breaks into the vaults at night, Mission Impossible style, to do all his re-hashing – in the morning the record company people find a pile of completed masters, and thank the elves!


I have almost all of these picture-discs, and even of the sound isn’t THAT bad, the amount of scratches, clicks, noises etc… due to the disc being in a hard plastic bag is huge.
Even when brand new they sound like beaten up copies.


Actually the sound on all of these is pretty good. The derogatory comments from some of you as to ”who” buys these, is frankly offensive, and just plain inaccurate.


Your “pretty good” might be someone else’s “not good enough”…???
Inaccuracy is open to debate; being offended is just plain over-sensitive.
Sometimes the truth hurts…
Collect and enjoy what you like, it’s a free world.
The main issue here is that the record company/Bowie estate is not making any choice availble.
While some collectors of picture discs are being over defensive and rationalising their fondness for an inferior audio medium,
rather than actively supporting appeals that these exclusive tracks also be made available in other better formats.


“one assumes we will have to wait for a deluxe expanded edition of Lodger to get this alternate recording of Boys Keep Swinging on an optical disc or black vinyl”

I have a ‘feeling’ (based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever I hasten to add!!!) that they might compile all these picture disc tracks into some kind of ‘alternative’ best of/ singles compilation at some point. It just has the ring of the sort of thing that ‘they’ might do… especially given the artist (allowing the use of the word ‘alternative’ would sit well), that they like releasing compilations from him, and this would be a way of creating a ‘new’ compilation with all the well-known tunes with less scope for the scraping the barrel/squeezing the pips criticisms (except from anyone who says ‘oh, but these aren’t new, they were all on the picture discs’). I can even see the strapline: ‘Now, David Bowie as you’ve never heard him – all your favourite hits reimagined’. :)

As for picture discs – I’ve always had a soft spot for them: the sound quality was always terrible – what do you expect if you try and sandwich a layer of cardboard between two thin layers of vinyl! I bought some in the 80s and 90s, and if I see one going cheap on eBay that I like the look of I may well consider it. Some smug types say they’re a novelty (so what? Buying old film posters for living room walls is a novelty, buying barely edible garnish for the side of plates is a novelty, etc.) but so what! Some say they’re a con – only if you don’t know what you’re getting. There seems almost a utilitarian argument that function is all (how dull!) – picture discs can just look good and be nice objects in themselves. It would just be nice if the music being flung on these was made available in some other, more functional, format as well.


We all [well at least most of us] agree that releasing exclusive tracks on only one format is alienating many long term dedicated Bowie fans.
That the chosen much reviled picture disc format is objectively one of the worst sounding in HiFi history raises even more hackles…
So that much some of us readily agree on…

But however much lovers of picture discs may try to rationalise their fondness for them,
even as far as rejecting ‘common sense’ opinions on their inadequacy as an audio media;
even being snide about objectors to Bowie’s posthumous product release strategy.
The fact remains picture discs are, and always have been, regarded as anathema
to anyone who cares about best possible music sound quality.
To refute this, indicates a deep state of denial.

A poster is nothing more than something to decorate a wall.
It has no other function than pleasing the eye.
There’s nothing to criticise about collecting posters – freedom of choice and all that.
But it is wrong to compare posters as like for like with pictuer discs.
These records are intended to communicate audio,
which seems secondary to their decorative purpose.
Why even bother pressing music tracks into them if many new younger collectors never break the seal and play them…!!!???
‘The ‘more money than sense’ arguement still holds as valid,
and this is what corporate holders of rights to Bowie’s music are gleefully exploiting and profiteering from.
For as long as they can get away with it.
Amyone still defending this blatant ripping off of Bowie fans needs to consider they maybe aren’t as smart as they think they are…?????

Bootleg CDs were never cheap and more often less than perfect sound quality,
but even bootleggers tried their best to provide optimum available audio quality,
an aspiration these picture discs are flagrantly disrgarding.

adam shaw

You’ll probably get better audio if you rip this video . I’ll still buy it for the collection .
The only Bowie pic disc I played was the Jean Jeanie , I wanted to hear the BBC version. There was a bump half way through on the vinyl, never again !


Picture discs were a joke 40 years ago.
They were just novelties to get kids into the record shops boosting the first week’s chart placing.
Audio quality was dreadful on a decent Hi-Fi system;
hardly any better than the free flexi discs given away with magazines.
The corporate f@kwits now selling this tat,
and gullible trendy collectors,
probably weren’t even born when anyone with any sense was ignoring picture discs back in 1979…


Well, “anyone with any sense was ignoring picture discs back in 1979…” would have missed the Spanish picture disc of BKS that was heavily imported (probably by Adrians in Wickford) at the time – for about £5 (a whole pound dearer than the Tubeway Army AFE pic disc) but whereas AFE now sells for £20 max, the Bowie one is at the very least £120…


Willliam – Oh yes, the hoarding of music artifacts for speculaitve investment and profit
matters more than the joy of actually listening to music in optimum audio quality…

I did buy a Wreckless Eric LP picture Disc on spec in case I liked the new tracks.
But only because it was reduced to pennies to clear an unsold box load of ’em.
One crackly distorted listen convinced me to buy the proper black vinyl release.
So at least that one picture disc served a positive purpose.

I can now chuckle at myself buying every EMI Anarchy 7″ in the Woolworths reduced to clear box,
at 20p each…
Aged 18, and studying an Economics A Level, I’d learned that any ‘Ltd Ed’ tat might be worth BIG money one day…
But us well informed teenagers were still savvy enough to understand the corporate intentions behind endless weekly Ltd Editions
in all sorts of novelty formats…

“I must buy something hardly anyone else has got, and it’ll be worth a fortune when I’m fat and grey haired..”

I must check the value of my investments now retirement is on the horizon…

What? Bowie? Worry?

I assume that is also the same teens and kids that kept Star Wars figures in the blister packet and never played with them in 1978-1983?


Yes, that level of collecting is ripe for comedy, and serious analysis…
Just a guess, but there are by now proably more than a few PhD papers
on the psychology, sociology, and economics, of obsessive fan memorabilia collectors…???

For instance.. my sister was diagnosed with mental health issues,
She also spent a fortune collecting and hoarding Xena: Warrior Princess merchandise.
She was a member of various elite super fan collector groups.
Many of them had similar personality issues…
Most of her collection proved worthless after her premature passing.
It was tough enough having to clear out her home.
Without the added burden of trying to find serious buyers for Xena tat…

An old schoolmate is now 60, still living at home with his very elderly mum,
submerged under his 50 year accumulation of comics…
He knows some of them are worth a fortune.
But he can’t part with them, and has no heirs to leave them to.
Unless he has a will donating his collection, they’ll all probably end up in a council skip…

Collecting is an odd preoccupation…


That’s not what I was pointing out at all…
I did buy BKS the week it came out – wasn’t issued in a picture sleeve here, so I was buying the import copies too as they all had different picture sleeves – that was part of the fun from ’77 onwards when I realised that foreign releases had picture sleeves when the UK editions didn’t and I ended up with about 10 of them plus a 12″ from Holland(?). I probably didn’t play any of them apart from the UK single. That’s about the time the the record companies started printing “limited edition” picture sleeves (first 20,000 copies!!) and then they realised that if they issued a picture disc or different coloured vinyl they could secure multiple purchases from fans when before once a fan had bought one copy…that was it! And that takes us back to the point Paul was making – only being able to play the exclusive version on picture disc format.

Ben Williams

I wish these were all picture sleeves on black vinyl with a download code and I’d have bought each ones in the series but with no download code and it being a picture disc, it’s like people have said, the audio is a bit wasted. A lot of people want to keep these sealed and those that do listen to them, picture discs don’t exactly offer the best quality.


“to get this alternate recording of Boys Keep Swinging on an optical disc or black vinyl”

Are these picture discs unplayable or is it more a case of people being reluctant to break the seal and diminish its desirability / sell on value in the process?

Norrie MacLean

Looking forward to both of these – have managed to get all these releases. But I do accept the point that at least a download code would be appreciated.


The ‘tap is on tight’? Really? You’ve had all the major albums with bonus tracks, a box set with a bunch of unreleased stuff, box sets gathering all the LPs, B-sides, stray 45s and previously released versions of tracks, they even made up an lost album for one box, alternative live sets from 74,76 and 78, pic discs with odd rarities here and there, demos from the 60s coming at pace- 2 EPs and an LPs worth this year already. What more do you want exactly?

Norrie MacLean

Very well made point.


What more do you want?
Hmm, outtakes and demos from the 70’s/early 80’s (up to Scary Monsters), same as a lot of Bowie-nuts. Them giving us everything but (bracing myself for 4 discs dedicated to Tin Machine this autumn) seems to be a piss-take.

What? Bowie? Worry?

Great for fans of vinyl, but for us that don’t own a turntable anymore, it really is a kick in the balls, and also a great way to alienate Bowie fans, over the rare audio featured on these picture discs. The picture discs are great, but don’t they damage over time? I doubt if any of this will be collated as a standalone package of all the rare material on CD like they are for the overpriced demo box sets later this year, massive fume.


I totally agree!!!

Chris Marsh

Agreed. This kind of stuff isn’t for music-lovers; it’s for nick-nack collectors.


DJing in a rain coat… how cool is that?


These are neat little discs. I purposely avoided them initially but now somwhat regret that decision, regardless, it is a nice bonus that these have something extra on them in the way of exclusive audio. A lot of this stuff is a bit lo-fi mono tv audio etc, probably well suited for picture discs. However, due to the lack of any extensive rarities anthologies, a collection of alternate takes mixes, demos and lost songs would be a welcome release on something that could, say, be played in the car. But the tap on Bowie is tight, so likely all we get is to wait as they will be releasing “new” Bowie in 40 years.