David Bowie / The Mercury Demos

More ’69 demos. Single LP not a 7″ box • Sordid price details, following

Parlophone will issue some more David Bowie unreleased demos at the end of June. The Mercury Demos features ten demo recordings from spring 1969, nine of which are previously unreleased.

Bowie is accompanied by John “Hutch” Hutchinson on guitar and vocals and this features the demo of ‘Space Oddity’ that was originally included on the 1990 Sound + Vision box set. It turns out that that was edited (hmm) and here without the edits and is “presented here in its true context for the first time.”

The other nine recordings include Bowie originals such as ‘Janine,’ ‘An Occasional Dream’ and ‘Conversation Piece’ and the Roger Bunn composition ‘Life Is A Circus’ (an earlier version of which is also on the not-yet-released Clareville Grove Demos set) and the Lesley Duncan composition ‘Love Song,’ (later recorded by Elton John for his Tumbleweed Connection album).

The Mercury Demos runs for 41 minutes and this isn’t a seven-inch box set but a single black vinyl LP packaged in a replica of the original tape box. It includes a print, two photo contact sheets, and sleeve notes by Mark Adams. The labels of the LP feature the same EMIDISC acetate styling the other two box sets with the song titles in Bowie’s own handwriting. All this sounds great, but take a look at the frankly extortionate retail price. Time will tell how many people want to pay £80 for one vinyl record with ten demos on it!

The Mercury Demos is released on 28 June 2019.

Side One
“Space Oddity”
“An Occasional Dream”
“Conversation Piece”
“I’m Not Quite (aka Letter To Hermione)”

Side Two
“Lover To The Dawn”
“Love Song”
“When I’m Five”
“Life Is A Circus”

David Bowie – vocals, guitar and Stylophone
John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson – vocals and guitar

The LP is mono and plays at 33 1/3 r.p.m.

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[…] foil-stamped box”. Unfortunately, Reprise Records want what can only be described as ‘Mercury Demos‘ money for this version; in the UK it’s a frankly preposterous […]

[…] vinyl box sets – that’s Spying Through A Keyhole, Clareville Grove Demos and The ‘Mercury’ Demos – is featured on Conversation Piece. Parlophone did say at the time that these tracks would end […]


HMV have this priced at £91.99 in stores here in the UK.

Billy D

Mr Bowie and Prince never wanted their demos released (except for the edited Space Oddity demo) in their lifetimes. Someone at Warners must be very persuasive to the Estates to release this material. Neither of them need the money, but it’s always nice to have more I suppose.
I’d like to see the 2 disc All Saints made commercial cause it seems like
I always miss out on discogs. And perhaps the RCA cash-in compilation cds from the 80s that Virgin passed on.
As for Prince, doesn’t he have like 7,069 finished albums in the vault? Why with the demos? Cause people are familiar with the songs? + I’d love to have new reissues of Vanity/Apollnia 6, Madhouse and the first Mazarati

[…] of two seven-inch singles, a poster and a print – isn’t as offensively expensive as the Mercury Demos package (I’m still processing the price tag on that one) eyebrows will undoubtedly be raised […]


Who needs ebay scalpers when you can get ripped off directly by the record company?

Michael Blyth

Yes agree, I have had enough, I give up collecting this stuff now.

jai emmett

Will wait for Parlophone to release a definitive CD compilation (Boxset)’ of Bowie demos, all these overpriced novelty items are a total waste of money

Wayne Olsen

Oh no. Don’t say it’s true!

Paul Taylor

I’m going to stick a scratched copy of Young Americans in a pizza box with a Dominos menu & beer bottle tops, call it the “Boys Night In” Edition and charge £110 for it


Speculators on discogs do that already,but only with the scratched record,selling it as VG+

Dave Thornhill

I have bought the vast majority of archive vinyl Bowie releases over the past few years but have the draw the line somewhere – and this is it! £86 for one mono album is crazy. I don’t actually think they want to sell many copies, it’s just a copyright extension move. I’m a little concerned this will disappear quickly though and I’ll regret not buying it – but at £86 that just isn’t going to happen.
A major disappointment…

Janice Pugh

I love David Bowie – I pre-ordered the 2 x 7″ box sets. Then we had RSD. Now this overpriced demo LP box set….with only 1 LP and a few other bits. Come on…..please! Who is churning out this stuff? Do they think David’s fans are millionaires? Not only that, but if I am paying £86 I expect something decent in return. So sorry, but this box set is not for me…..not at this price. Someone, somewhere is taking the urine out of us! (The only polite way to describe it!)

mikey mike

People, just stop buying this stuff if its too much and then they will stop!


Love Bowie, but will not pay anywhere near that price for this release.

Am certain this will drop to less than half within 6 months, if not sooner.


Well, these demos spread across a number of unnecessary 7″ was extortion just as well, and I said so, but I don’t remember you complaining then…

Paul Taylor

Exactly, Paul, there’s no comparison
I bought the 4-single box when it dropped to £27 on Amazon. When regular 7″ singles cost between £9 & £14 these days that wasn’t a bad price. There’s no logical reason for a single LP with 10 tracks costing that amount
I’ll probably buy the other 3-single box if the price similarly drops


“isn’t bad”?!? A bunch of unissued, debatable quality demos, preposterously released as singles instead of a budget Lp/CD for over £30, “isn’t bad”? – it’s total madness if you ask me. The fact someone may think it’s okay means we’ve completely lost any sense of proportion…


Yes, I didn’t say it but you nailed it, outrageous is the word, if you consider both the manufacturing cost of the “physical product” and the included music. Outrageous. And an insult to the value of money…

Paul Taylor

The quality of the demos on the 7″ singles is actually pretty good when you take all factors into account


There’s definitely something a touch bitter-tasting about the rolling out of this particular selection of work (the demos) – it’s taking a ridiculously long time for what is not going to be more than an interesting diversion. The work will almost inevitably be bundled up as a CD set some time later this year (run up to Christmas presumably). In the whole 5 second of thought I’ve given it I can’t think of any other archive release where all/ nearly all the tracks will have been released in awkward vinyl sets throughout the preceding year in the same way as this seems to be be. It doesn’t seem to be something done to whip up staggering levels of hysteria previously unseen by humanity, and it does seem to be causing nothing but frustration and resentment both from CD buyers – who are being made to wait without confirmation of a CD release – and vinyl buyers who are being cajoled and prodded into buying 7″ box sets and overpriced LPs which they may well prefer not to: especially if, alongside any CD release, there comes a ‘normal’ 2-3 LP issue for a reasonable price.

David Regan

Your GBP conversion from USD..at £54 quid it’s a No..No

Dr Volume

The ‘Nobody is holding a gun’ to yr head argument is as inevitable (and in the top 10 SDE comments cliches along with ‘Cash Cow’ and ‘wot No 5.1?’)
However while it’s true nobody is forced to buy this, it’s another depressing example of Elitist pricing which suggests buying physical product should be the preserve of the privileged rather than grass roots music lovers and diehard fans who don’t have limitless spare cash.


Ha ha sheiling the rubes indeed…


it’s 104 + euros on amazon it!! criminals………

[…] but I must admit in most instances it’s been hard to get overly excited. The David Bowie Mercury Demos release was overshadowed by an absurd UK retail price, Universal have done a decent job with the […]

Peter Ratcliffe

Personally cannot see the point of the box and the prints incorporate into a lavish gatefold sleeve surely would be the best option (or will that happen as another edition) and another special addition with the Boxset as a bundle for £100+? £25-£30 maximum would be a realistic price surely. Alternatively they coul have collected all the demos recently up for sale as a box set with these and cd versions for around that price or a little more.


Just a few years ago we collectively moaned at the extortionate pricing of the Human League Very British Synthesizer Group. Then, Howard Jones, and now David Jones himself. Overcharging superfans is nothing new, but the greed displayed here considering there is no hardbound book with pretty pictures or a DVD of Love You Till Tuesday or hits for that matter is a bit much for this montage of heck, or rather, A blatant ripoff, that necessitated a release at the 50 year mark to keep it under copyright, with product that would have at best been a limited promo freebie back in the day sent to 50 “special” people in the industry. But now it is a top dollar “let’s see if they bite” experiment for what is the epitome of scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Alte Venema

Thanks. Always nice when you can buy local and save postage


This price makes the recent Prince announcement seem reasonable by comparison. Still, both well exceed my rule of NZ$20/£10 per disc for regular black vinyl. Blancmange’s forthcoming box set is 6 discs and I got it for £35.

Tony O

You can imagine the meeting where they try and decide the retail price. “How much will the idiots be prepared to stand”. This will continue until people stop buying them. look at the macca recent special editions for £175 and £350 and they are selling out.


I think we have all had a few shocks recently, McCartney’s umpteenth reissue of his last album and this! I mean, nobody believed me until i showed them the price for one piece of vinyl! Seems like it’s a sort of test, will the public actually bite on this and pay that much for one LP?! Let’s hope we all stick together and go, actually no! Still can’t believe the initial price …

Janice Pugh

I’m with you! And NOT buying at this ridiculous price. They must think we are all rich…..or just stupid mugs! Love David but this is beyond even my devotion to the Main Man


Genuinely, has anyone purchased at this price? I can see from the comments that it’s an overwhelming disgust towards Parlophone, but if anyone is paying this price then surely it becomes a case of supply and demand?
I could never pay this money for a single vinyl unless I knew it was a very limited run or an extremely rare release. £25-£30 seems okay, £20 more accurate!


I put of on purchase on the American Amazon just in case. If the price drops before release and it runs out of stock I am still in. Otherwise I cancel just before release.


Somehow i can’t see it running out of stock anytime soon. I fell for that trick with the bowpromo set on rsd


I am a new happy member of “Vinyl Me, Please”. For that money I get 4 beautifully crafted LPs like for example the newly remastered LP by Ann Peebles “Straight From The Heart” on yellow vinyl. Just 300 made. Cutted from the analog tapes. 23$.
Sorry. That price asked here is just ridiculous. 35$ ok – but 86£?!

Shawn C.

Hi Marc. I as thinking about joining Vinyl Me Please but looking over the albums of the month for the past year or so, I really only saw a few that I’d be interested in. How’s your experience been?


I am new there so I can’t tell you much. If you only saw a few LPs you like than it is maybe nothing for you. I am very much into soul mucis at the moment. Therefor “VMP” is a great place I think. And you can’t just choose between the 3 records every month. You can also buy other records which are just available for members, pressed very carfully by VME in a limited edition – often colored vinyls. Every week they have new products.


Mental price. Hope it comes down. If it does come down on Amazon prior to release and you’ve ordered at the higher price on Amazon, you will get the lower price!


David will be travelling the universe in that tesla car that was shot off into space a while back, laughing at us all.
Sorry man but £80 jesus I could buy half his music for that no thax


OMG. How Much?!
Now we know why it’s not coming out on CD: no one will ever see a single CD as being worth £80 regardless of what its contents.
Whilst Record Companies can get away with rip off vinyl prices, they will continue to extort.

I hope this doesn’t sell: that might teach them a lesson.
God help us if it does sell though and Queen Productions take notice… :-(


Judging by the picture, the replica tape spool would be the actual sleeve for the vinyl? I hope it’s not some gimmicky ‘cut to shape’ thing, but perhaps it will be – and perhaps the die-cutting process costs about £70 per unit?!


“Oh no, don’t say it’s true….”


To the major company : Parlophone, putting such a prohibitive price on a single vinyl (and a few pieces of cardboard) is the best way to encourage people to buy bootlegs.


Which is exactly what I did when the price of this was announced. I can’t imagine the official release sounding Better than the boot edition of Beckenham Oddity available for about £18.

The Laughing Gnome

The pricing of this release on Amazon in my opinion is nothing to do Warner Music. I think they would be equally as horrified. Not least because it will ultimately affect their sales. i think it is an Amazon related issue.

The Laughing Gnome

What is the dealer price out of interest..?

Jamie Anderson

It’s “only” $69 from DavidBowie.com, so I would assume Amazon has it priced high right now. Still too much at that price even, but hopefully that means Amazon.com might drop it down to a more reasonable price before the end of June.


As an aside, the Lesley Duncan ‘Sing Children Sing’ desperately needs a reissue.
Such a great album. Elton John plays piano all over it.


Jan, it was in 2017 on CD as part of Sing Lesley Sing: The RCA & CBS Recordings. Got it and it’s great.


I just seen the sordid price that’s about $170 Aussie I will have to think about it. Bowie will be frowning from somewhere. Love onya


I’ll stick with my “Beckenham Oddity” vinyl bootleg, purchased new at a swap meet in 1989 for 20 USD.


Yeah but 20 bucks 30 years ago is like 100 now, rite?!

Michael John

I agree with most here that the price doesn’t match what’s being offered. I personally think it’s way outta whack. However, I can’t completely fault Parlophone or the estate. It’s currently the #3 bestseller on Amazon. The market’s willing to pay. Until that changes, I suspect we’ll see more outrageously priced Bowie releases.

Admittedly this really stings, being a life long Bowie collector. I’ve bought all formats, have all albums and singles from multiple countries, the countless reissues and anniversary releases, RSD and David Is limited editions. I concede to forking out very large sums for rare items. This is the first time I can’t justify the investment. It’s not limited nor numbered. The packaging isn’t extravagant by any means. Most importantly, the demos aren’t anything new that can’t be found elsewhere. Sad day for me as this is the proverbial final straw.

Chris Squires

The Bestseller lists are always a bit of an anomaly with Amazon’s business model.

It’s so easy to cancel, that until the day before release they have no real idea how many have sold. I must have ordered and cancelled dozens (hundreds) of items over the year, even if the opening price is silly on most occasions the price will drop and bounce around a bit and the only way to guarantee that you get that lowest price is to order early and cancel late if it doesn’t go where you want it to. I cancelled Heaven 17 Vinyl a couple of days before launch and would have saved the best part of £40 by buying it less than a week later. Amazon is a game best played with experience and nerve. Like “Chicken”.

If this stays at £86 I would suggest that a great percentage of those orders will be cancelled on or about the 26th June. The warehouse will remain full…. then we await a deal alert for £35 (still too much IMHO).
It would be a shame to have to wait for such an awful occurrence to get hold of the “Phoenix demos” of Kate Bush’s mid 1970s early takes and teenage work. I’ve got them, like most Bowie fans will have these, but there’s nothing like “Official”. Prince too, of course.


Re: Kate Bush Phoenix Demos – not so much waiting for anything awful to occur, more the 50 year rule to kick in – which would be about 5 years time!


Back in the early 70’s artists toured to promote an album (where the money was) rather than releasing an album to promote a tour (as they do now). It cost about £2.50 for the latest LP and to see Bowie perform Ziggy Stardust LIVE in 1972 cost 95p in advance or £1.10 on the night. Most artists released an album a year and probably 2 or 3 singles so for under a tenner you could buy the all the latest releases and see it performed live… I always used to collect everything my favourite artists produced (when it was an album and a couple of singles a year) but realised a while ago it was no longer possible to afford everything, especially in the case of Bowie… and as they say on the gambling sites ‘When the fun stops – STOP!’ (Like it’s that easy!) Best way is to just filter out the ones you want and forget about the rest…


must be a mistake on price, or Amazon tries to cash in on die hard fans who order it first


How did you miss the ‘Stylophone features on Bowie release’ headline, to complement your ‘Stylotone correct Marnie image error’ of a few days ago,Paul.

Keep up! ;-)

Hugh Hall

How utterly disgusting. His corpse is barely cold and already those who would never have tried this on while he was still alive are besmirching his reputation by ripping off his fans, the people who enabled his career in the first place. There is absolutely NO JUSTIFICATION for this shocking rip-off. The Bowie Estate and Parlophone certainly don’t need the money so much that they should treat the fans like this.

Whoever is responsible for this outrageous rip-off campaign should be named and shamed. Come on, own up you lousy money grabbing scumbag. I truly hope this is the moment the Bowie Estate/Parlophone jumps the shark and get their ass bitten for their trouble. But I know it won’t be.


Copyright expires after 50 years, this is a way to renew the copyright to protect the songs.
As I often say nobody is pointing a gun ay you to oblige you to buy them.

Then DB left a series of instructions before he died. maybe that’s part of it as a “gift” to his fans?

Hugh Hall

Thanks. I understand your point. It’s 70 years but I know what you mean.

mike mike

Yeah 70 not 50 as it used to be, will will all be dead by then!


You probably are not aware but Bowie entrusted his entire legacy of recordings to a very unassiming lawyer whose name I forget. Anyway Bowie gave his complete discretion over output after his death. It is not up to the family or others.

Hugh Hall

Who knows the finer details? Very few. However at the end of the day this situation only damages the reputation of one person because whoever’s decision it is this product is sold with his name on it.

Nicky Edwards Tudor

Billy Zyblast?


100% agree!!
How Parlophone handles the old Bowie stuff
is disgusting.
Whoever buys these throwaway demos will
spark more stupid releases like this, the demo 7″ box and the seemingly weekly releases of 7″es that are useless, too.
Plus Bowie RSD releases that noone needs.
I hardly can believe that Bowie would have okayed these formats as nothing shabby gets released on his own ISO/Sony Music label.


Every day is Record Store Day, if you’re Warners, I guess.

Wayne C

This is nearly as expensive at the MFSL “one step” pressings !!, but at least your getting quality pressings that are done to exacting standards. This just beggars belief, how they can even try to justify this amount for one vinyl pressing of demos with a few bits of cardboard is quite frankly shocking. If it was £29.99 I could have understood it at a pinch !!!. A real kick in the chops for the fans and their wallets. Truly astounded by that price.

Is it limited to 20 pressings?, must be for that amount!!.


“Home taping is killing music—and it’s illegal”
Seems the only choice for scraps, i have bought more than enough.
I will wait for a £25 full demo collection. I may also want to listen to it first before buying even at £25.
It could end up sounding like Anthony Newley in a cupboard.


That’s funny

Janice Pugh

Hahahahaha…..Anthony Newley in a cupboard may sound even better…..and cheaper!

Ben Williams

When I saw the word “sordid” I knew it would be high pricing but when I saw £80 my eyes burst out of my head like a cartoon! That must be a mistake?!
I was hoping it would just be a good old 12” 33rpm vinyl at around £18-£22 but hey-ho, not to be.
Shame this set can’t just be like the Prince demo album announced today.


Oh. It’s gone up to £85.99! I bet you all regret not jumping on it at a bargain basement £80.


Using the Bowie pricing model, the new Dylan Rolling Thunder box set should cost about £900.

Stuart Ansell

The forthcoming King Crimson and Tangerine Dream sets have been repriced to (respectively) 3 Camels, and your first born son.

It is QUITE a lot of money, isn’t it? Good luck to them as wants to pay it, I wish them nothing but fun times.


Beckenham Oddity Redux is all you need.


Didn’t know about this restored version, be interesting to compare it to the official release especially as it’s less than £20!
I want to buy the genuine article but can’t at that price so what’s a boy to do?


I got the Redux. It’s excellent and a fraction of the price.

Gary Hunter

I thought I was seeing things with the price quoted!!!!!!!

Surely it has to be a mistake??