David Bowie / “Heroes” picture disc

Parlophone continue their David Bowie 40th anniversary seven-inch picture discs, with this rather striking new edition of the “Heroes” single, scheduled for release in September.

The single followed up Be My Wife and was originally released in the UK on 23rd September 1977 and was the first single to be taken from the album of the same name, the second of the so-called ‘Berlin Trilogy’ of albums.

“Heroes” was recorded in English, French and German and indeed these variants are celebrated on a special EP in the forthcoming A New Career In A New Town box set.

The A-side of this limited edition picture disc features the 2017 remaster of the single version of “Heroes” whilst the B-side (actually a double A-side) contains a previously unreleased live version of the track from Marc Bolan’s Marc TV show, which happened to be the first public performance of the song. The track was recorded on the 7th of September 1977 but wasn’t broadcast until later that month, by which time Bolan had died in a tragic car accident.

The images used on the A-side is taken by Sukita in Japan 1977, and the AA side picture you might recognise from the performance during the recording of the ‘Marc’ show 07/09/77.

“Heroes” is released on 22 September 2017.

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David Bowie

Heroes (40th Anniversary Picture Disc) [7" Vinyl]


A-Side “HEROES” (Single version 2017 Remaster)
(Lyrics by David Bowie, Music by David Bowie and Brian Eno)
Produced by David Bowie & Tony Visconti
Recorded at Hansa by the Wall, Berlin and Mountain Studios, Montreux

AA-Side “HEROES” (‘Marc’ show version)
(Lyrics by David Bowie, Music by David Bowie and Brian Eno)
Recorded for the television show ‘Marc’ on 7th September 1977 and broadcast on 20th September 1977
Previously unreleased

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Another release related to a box set with a track not in the box set.


Amazon UK price currently £10:07.

Martin Barden

Correction: TX for “Heroes” on the final Marc show was 28 September 1977.

Mic Smith

Paul, the heading above your price comparator says 12″ vinyl…..

Chris Lancaster

Adey, sadly not. My Loving The Alien picture disc is barely recognisable any more. I’d throw it away, but it would hurt to do so.

Similarly, does anybody own a FGTH WTTPD album shaped picture disc set that hasn’t gone brown? I’m sure they exist, but I haven’t seen one recently…


Going slightly off topic, does anybody know of, or has seen a copy of the “loving the alien” picture disc which HASN’T gone a horrible dark brown colour?

Matthew Best

Here’s Bowie doing “Heroes” on the Marc show:


Ben Williams

Blimey, came here to read people’s thoughts on the disc and now I’m terrified my record and CD collection are in jeopardy from pvc sleeves!

I keep all my vinyl albums in plastic sleeves. Is this not a good thing then as the plastic will harm the cover?


Ben, PP sleeves are fine, they don’t do any harm. Just take care when using PVC sleeves. I recently threw them all away and replaced them with the common PP sleeves everyone uses.

Michael Khalsa

God I hope the managers of Prince’s estate are as big of whores as David Bowie’s. He seems to have releases constantly. Paul I thought you might be interested after you your review of the the SHM cd’s that I bought the ‘Lovesexy’ SHM CD. Sounds great. But the album (as intended) is formatted as 1 track.

Michael Khalsa

Also missing 1999 (I’ve heard there is a bootleg remaster which I buy), Around The World In A Day & Sign O The Times. Purple Rain SHM was released as non paper sleeve edition so avoid that. Cheers.


baward, I must say am not an expert on chemistry, maybe it’s the different kind of softeners they put into the material. All I can tell is that direct contact over a long time is essential in order to ruin the discs. It affects any kind of plastic, I once put shrink wrapped LPs into PVC sleeves and after a short while the wrapper plastic was a total mess. Vinyl itself is PVC, so I guess the softeners diffuse from the PVC sleeves and move into the record’s PVC material, causing visible damage over time. Putting them into paper sleeves was never an option for me because as many others I kept them sealed. As mentioned above, I’d rather have no seal at all or picture discs in PP sleeves. At the moment I get through them every couple of months and blow fresh air into the sleeve, maybe it helps. But I was already thinking about cutting the seals open and do what Marshall Gooch said.


Yes – it is Bolan’s lead guitar work that you are hearing on the B-Side.

Randy Metro

I mentioned this in another thread a while back. Many years ago I purchased 100 soft plastic CD holders from Univenture. They folded like a book and held both the CD and booklet in separate pockets. The CD pocket had one side with a soft cloth material to protect the playing side. They took up less room than hard jewel cases. At some later time (a few years), I noticed that the plastic had lifted the print off the face of all my Ryko Bowie CDs! The same with all of my Bette Midler CDs on the Atlantic label. I don’t remember much about any other labels as I was way too busy replacing all of them back into their jewel cases which still had the back inserts.


Not quite sure why the price of these picture discs has suddenly rocketed 40%…


AHH. September 23 1977. My 17th birthday. I remember this


Taking the records out of the plastic sleeves upon purchase will not protect them – the damage has already been done long before they reach you. The gases emitted from the sleeves will permanently damage the playing surface regardless of whether there’s a “protective” paper sleeve in there or not. It’s not a picture disc issue; I’ve got about a dozen records (of all colors including black) ruined by those sleeves. The problem seems to be that the factories are now putting the records in the sleeves long before they’re finished cooling and they’re emitting a toxic gas that’s fatal to records. By the time you get them the sleeve has already cooled. It can sometimes take a while for the damage to become apparent (maybe as long as a year) and sometimes the records arrive already pre-ruined.


My Blackstar clear vinyl got affected by that horrible plastic sleeve it came in. Anyway this picture disc looks good. Nice to see the Marc show version there.

Mic Smith

The AA side image is striking. I’ll get mine from What Records to avoid the issues with Amazon packaging discussed elsewhere.

John Sayers

I would have preferred to see the entire facial shot, though.


Not listed on What Records yet, but it no doubt soon will be!

I really do not see the point of all these Bowie re-issues. Do you know if all these were planned before his death Paul or is the record company just taking advantage of his vast amount of previous releases?

Mark R

I have Life on Mars 7″ which was reissued In 2013. So, almost three years before his death.


The point is obvious – people are willing to pay £10 or more for them. Most people are buying them not for the music, or even the aesthetics – but as an “investment”. Physical product is dying not so much because of streaming or downloading, but by the influx of “investors” whose interest is only in making money.


Synthgrizz, sorry for your experience, but I have various picture discs in (I assume) PVC sleeves from when I started collecting in about 1978 and they’re all fine. Perhaps the PVC they use nowadays is more destructive to vinyl discs than it used to be.


I have some from the early 80s. Some sound great, others are destroyed. I even have some that the vinyl turned brown. Still play ok.

andrew r

I avoided all these 7 inch picture discs , what are you supposed to do with them?
you have the music already in multiple forms ,you can’t play them you can’t display them
and as the poster above notes the PVC will react with the records overtime and ruin the vinyl.
Ispeak as someone who requires the flimsiest excuse to buy anything Bowie related but these…
and the price.. mmm

David S

I can confirm that you can play them. I have tried!


It’s not the PVC sleeves that cause the problems. It is the pressings themselves. Getting a ‘bad’ one is just poor luck, nothing else. All sorts of a theory has been mentioned over the years but no-one really knows what causes picture discs or any other than black vinyl pressings to develop visual faults!


I do think it’s expensive though isn’t it? I mean, it’s a single and it’s more expensive than a cd album!


Price wise it’s because vinyl is still a niche market and therefore they can sell things at premium prices, whereas in previous years vinyl was the only (or major) format so they accepted lower margins to sell units. Plus there still aren’t many vinyl manufacturers so they can charge more to make them. And of course they have to make up for sales they don’t get now because of streaming rather than buying. So don’t stream

Randy Metro

T.Rex supplied the musical backing on the MARC Show version of “Heroes” according to a very good Bolan & T.Rex music book called “A Guide to the Outtakes of Marc Bolan 1964 – 1977” written by Irving Campbell. The book documents all of Marc’s recordings not just the outtakes and is my Bible for all things T.Rex.


Ta for that !
Don’t do picture discs very often but Bowie backed by T Rex, yes please.


I wonder if many people know what happens to vinyl when kept in PVC sleeves over a long period of time. The materials react from the start, very slowly. After 10, 15 years the vinyl starts to change its look, turning the shiny surface into a frosted one, looking grey-ish and cloudy. You can tell the process has already started when the PVC sticks to the discs. All the „sealed“ copies will be worthless in 20 years. I bought all the Bowie 7“ picture discs myself and don’t know what to do. I wonder why they do that? So many colour vinyl is sold in those PVC sleeves, I guess the record companies just don’t know.


For me, it’s all this silly sealing of vinyl nowadays that gets me crazy! I mean, is it really necessary? All it means is that people feel that the item is devalued if it’s ‘opened’ and so they’re generally left sealed, which means that, as in this case, the records can’t be taken out and placed into non-plastic sleeves for protection. I bought the Queen “Stormtroopers in drag” pink vinyl single and within the year, the plastic cover had caused the record surface to dull and mark. The same has happened the double header reissues on coloured vinyl that show up on various record store days (such as Dionne Warwick/The Stranglers “Walk on by” and Donny Hathaway/Ceelo Green “This Christmas”). The plastic sleeves have permanently marked and degraded the copies I have. Let’s face it, most of these vinyl reissues are bunged out for collectors to snap up with little thought about longevity of the artifact.

Mic Smith

Funnily enough a friend of mine advised me of this problem only yesterday – there is a company called Blake that sell non PVC clear plastic sleeves and it’s believed these offer a solution other than for the fact that the stickers on the pic discs would need removing and resticking.
Apparently the PVC sleeves used to house normal vinyl in card sleeves can also cause problems.
I have quite a few Picture discs including most (all but 2) of the Bowie singles and I have stuff purchased in 1982 but it’s showing no symptoms after 35 years. I would suggest the phenomenon is not 100% understood as real as it clearly is.

Marshall Gooch

They put the picture discs in a clear sleeve to sell the product. What you can do is just buy some blank paper or plastic-lined sleeves and put the picture disc in that.


So true I had the same problem I picture discs,and shaped picture discs,and that’s what happened to mine ruined alot of them.

Tony Orwell

There are certain pvc sleeves that seem to react better than others, some picture discs from the late 80s were housed in some kind of sleeve that goes milky white and actuially becomes Damp, it affected one of the madonna picture discs in particular. All pvc sleeve storage has a greater chance of affecting the vinyl if stored tightly and there is pressure added.

Marcel Rijs

But come on, 14 pounds? Seriously? I remember when singles cost no more than 2 pounds…..


Looking back on former purchases most of them were that price. For whatever reason I missed a few and now they are unaffordable. It may have been a few RSD singles that
I couldn’t get and it got me mad. Doesn’t really matter cause mine are all still sealed.


I remember when singles were 50p……….


Two Quid ! First single I bought was around 95p in 1979.

Paul H

Nice. I wonder how limited the Limited Edition is though?



P. E.


Matthew Langhorn

Loving the picture this time