Nineties Bowie back in print


Parlophone Label Group are reissuing three David Bowie albums on CD next month originally released between 1995 and 2000.

The albums in question are Outside (or 1.Outside, if you’re feeling picky) from 1995, Earthling from 1997 and finally hours… from 1999. This looks to be an exercise in getting these long-players back in print, so almost certainly no remastering, no extra tracks and given the cheap price, probably fairly basic packaging.

The pick of the three is Outside, arguably David Bowie’s most underrated album. It’s certainly dense, long and undoubtedly the “Ritual Art-Murder of Baby Grace Blue: A non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-Cycle” subtitle inaccurately suggested the album was a load of old bollocks, and probably put many people off. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s very rewarding, rich with musical experimentation, contains good songs and has a great production. This saw Bowie writing with Eno again, and David also shared co-production credits with him and David Richards. The Heart’s Filthy Lesson was a fine single from the record, as well as the remixed-by-the-Pet Shop Boys, Hallo Spaceboy.


Earthling had its moments, as Bowie embraced the internet (Telling Lies was an early MP3 single) and drum and bass. Little Wonder was an improbable hit single in the UK, but after the considered conceptualisation of Outside, Earthling felt a little more contrived with Bowie hanging out with industrial rock ‘bestie’ Trent Reznor, and doing a Geri Halliwell on the cover with his union jack coat (Earthling was actually released the same month that Halliwell wore *that* dress). With his red spiky hair, earrings and slightly manic, new-teeth grin, the then 50-year old for once felt like he was trying too hard to be ‘cool’.


hours… is a strange album. The first single Thursday’s Child is as soft and comfortable as an old pair of slippers and perhaps even less appealing than trying too hard, is not really trying hard enough. For this writer, this album felt very much like DB on automatic pilot, and while nothing here is awful, there isn’t much truly great, either. Fans would have to wait until the turn of the milennium and Heathen and Reality for Bowie to really find his mojo again.

All three albums are reissued on 8 July 2016.


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1. Outside (The Nathan Adler Diaries: A Hyper Cycle)


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still 78€ for the full Outside on vinyl…THAT should be reprinted (by MusicOnVinyl, friday music is nice,but a bit expensive on second hand market :-/ )


Listen to Hours… again, it’s the best of the lot. Misunderstood classic with one minor hiccup of “The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell”, which would fit fine on Earthing


I already have the 2-CD expanded versions of these albums already, so it makes sense to me that they reissue these in a 1-CD version, with just the original album and no extra tracks, because not everybody wants to pay the extra for a 2-CD set (which was reissued not too many year back, am I right?) as long as these are the remastered versions I think this is important they get these back in print. ‘Earthling’ is my favorite in this set, followed by ‘Outside’. (My all-time favorite David Bowie album is ‘Let’s Dance’ followed by ‘Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ as my second)

James Dawson

You should fix this typo in the story: You have “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson,” but there’s no apostrophe in that song’s title. (The bad-grammar correct title is “The Hearts Filthy Lesson.”) (I always wondered why he did it that way…)


I bought them all when they were first released and again a while later when they were all reissued in ‘hardback’ sleeves as double disc releases.

What I really want is the full version of 1: Outside on vinyl in the UK (where are you Music On Vinyl? – I can’t justify the ludicrous expense of the US ‘import’ copy).

Just saying..!

Timothy Harrison

I’ve got to say that I think all three are very good albums…I had the chance to absorb them in the void waiting for Reality and each have their own considerable merits.

Bill Adams

Wait a minute — while I’m not sure about hours…, I know that both Outside and Earthling (the latter of which happens to be my all-time favorite late-period Bowie album, by the way — as a young guitarist at the time, Reeves Gabrels got me thinking about different approaches to the instrument I was playing) got reissued on colored vinyl by Sony Music a couple of years ago. That said, I’m not sure if calling them ‘Out Of Print’ is really an accurate qualifier. Regardless, I hope the CD reissues are able to come close to their vinyl counterparts!

Oh, also, Outside also does hold a unique place in my memory — it was the album I was listening to while my dentist was removing my wisdom teeth, all four of which were impacted and required small blasting cap-like explosives to remove. The memory of a popping sound followed by my dentist removing chunks of shattered tooth while “Heart’s Filthy Lesson” played remains a vivid one, even decades later.

Richard John

Could always pay upwards of £500 for the 10 CD box set on Ebay. OUCH!


Jason Brown

1.Outside is a cracking album. Frankly, the full album version of Hallo Spaceboy is worth the price alone – when I first saw him do it on Jools Holland (when I was but 21 back in ’95) I was blown away. For my money, that track is the best thing he ever did.


Wonder why those three went out of print all of a sudden. I clearly remember that around Christmas the ISO/Columbia 2003-04 pressings were all available on Amazon Italy for less than 6 euros. Now that Bowie’s dead earlier pressings disappeared and they are reprinted by Parlophone and sold at double the price. Oh well, I probably just answered my own question.


Personally I have enjoyed the latest reissues of albums from ‘Space Oddity’ to ‘Pin Ups’. Used to have Bowie’s 70s stuff in the 1999 remaster format, with that awful artwork with the black background and the white standard spine. Those latest reissues restore the artwork of the original LP releases on CD, and the remastering is quite nice too. Didn’t bother with the boxsets at all but the standalone releases of each album on CD and vinyl were very welcome. I hope that the same format will go up to ‘Scary Monsters’ at least, I don’t mind for the 80s albums which the 1999 version is enough, while for 90s and post 2000 stuff I’m ok with original pressings, no need for reprints of any sort.


Honestly, 1. Outside is the last great album Bowie made. until Blackstar, although we’ll have to wait a few years to see how Blackstar compares to the rest of his albums (away from the context of his sudden death). Earthling, …Hours, Heathen, Reality and above all The Next Day (the most over-rated come back album that should never have even brushed the top 50!) were all lame and presented an artist hanging on to something that was obviously not there anymore… All these albums do have one or 2 great songs though, which put together would make a great album but Bowie past the 70s was Scary Monsters and Let’s Dance in the 80s, 1. Outside in the 90s, nothing in the noughties and Blackstar in the twenty-tens, the rest should be selected and compiled…


Paul, I definitely second that earlier request here about writing an article on the plan for Bowie’s catalogue moving forwards, such as how far into the 80s the box-sets will go, for instance. If you’ve read what Tony Visconti had to say in the i newspaper the other day, it seems he’s making sure that he’ll be involved as much as possible with any previously unreleased archive releases, never mind finding the very last songs that Bowie recorded (although he has an idea where they might be, if the article quotes accurately).

Maybe speaking to Tony at length would be the place to start?

It’d be a huge disservice to the man if his catalogue fell into the confusion that Hendrix, Bolan and others have faced after their deaths. And I shudder to think what will happen to prince’s work if he really didn’t set down a will, never mind any stipulation on what he’d like done with the material in his ‘legendary’ Vault etc. As Bowie was in the more unusual position of being able to tidy up before the end, hopefully he’ll have put some instructions in place.

It would be nice to know that there is a grand master plan rather than a piecemeal, scatter-shot money-grab.

Ed Rod

Guys…come on is David Bowie! Do you really expect the same sound for every album? He is the chameleon for good or bad always changed tactics, that is what I love about Bowie, I think this reissues are crappy I already have different versions, I’m gonna skip this ones I wait for something better with extras like Rykodisc


The “kids” aren’t even raised on buying, so… not sure who these are aimed at. But, yeah, music is not a commodity which is purchased anymore.


I agree COMPLETELY with Low’s comment about release confusion. I’m a Johnny-come-lately to Bowie (about 10-15 years) so I would like to complete my collection (I have nearly all the 1999 re-issues, but general consensus is they’re the worst so I want to know what I’m missing out quality-wise). But research into the catalogue of releases, re-releases, re-re-releases just does my head in. The potential variations in quality, content and price make it so hard to pick ‘one’. All I can do is hope that each album gets yet ANOTHER re-issue, but it’s a ‘definitive’ re-issue: quality sound, extra tracks (comprehensive, not just a ‘handful’) and reasonably priced. Is it really too much to ask?



Yes there has have been a plethora of releases, 1984/1985 saw the first CDs on RCA, long out f print and nigh on impossible to find, and if you do very expensive.

Then there was the Ryko issues in 1990, in UK they had a catalogue number starting CDP, in s it was RCD, also included extra tracks.

Then in 1999 all re-issued with catalogue numbers 7243. No extras.

Then more recently the Five Years box set got individually released.

What’s best ? Lot of fans prefer the original RCA, a lot reckon the Ryko stuff is “thin”, I think I prefer the latest issues. Hunky Dory is awesom.

Happy hunting.

Check Discogs for complete catalogue


Randy Metro

Outside is in my top 10, maybe top 5 of Bowie albums. I gave up on the hope of Outside 2 or 3. I got the 2CD version, which I am happy with. Hours has always been my worse, a yawner for me. It would make a great EP, so, there are some great songs if I use my skip button.

Earthling would also make a great EP because that “bang” and drum annoys me. Both Hours & Earthling would have been better if some of the alternate mixes were substituted. Remove the droning Looking For Satellites and one or two other songs on Earthling and substitute the longer remixes of the other tracks, and I would be a happier camper.


Odd choices but I guess we’re talking global consumption because Outside and hours… are both readily available here in Australia and at a cheap price too…


I don’t care for any of these three albums but I do enjoy the two albums that preceded them.

Paul Fraser

For the record, I love a lot about hours.


And we are still waiting for the vinyl reissue of Buddha of Suburbia.


I love ‘Thursday’s Child’s, I see it as Bowie’s great lost single.
As a fan since Starman, Bowie completely lost me with Outside and Earthling, he just seemed to be trying to hard to be hip and trendy. With Hours he sounded finally at peace with his past. Yes I agree it wasn’t his best album, but it sounded like a proper David Bowie album, and we hadn’t had one of those in a while.


Interesting point, I remember being almost turned off by how …hours was over-promoted. If Earthling was an artist trying too hard, …hours may have been a case of label doing same.


Please do Paul – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed…

Paul Murphy

One of the main hindrances to ‘hours…’ was that it was hyped [although not by David] as a return to/follow on of ‘Hunky Dory’, on the extremely tenuous basis that it was more acoustic than we had had in a while. Now, anyone going into it with that pre-expectation is going to come out disappointed. I think anyone going back into it now, checking out the lyrics [see my previous post – and note that the unreleased video for ‘The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell’ has David encountering, and saying farewell to, his most famous previous personas], will find a fine piece of work by David. Re the ‘over-hyping’, this album was David’s contract-concluder with Virgin/EMI, and they were pulling out the stops to get him to re-sign.


Totally agreed!


(That was meant to be a comment to Bob’s!)


Hours is a great album. There are some better songs on the other two but I think Hours is the more consistent of the three. I love 1.Outisde but it sounds a bit overwrought.
And besides Survive is one of Bowie’s truly great singles… imho…


I have many copies of 1. Outside, great album, these 3 were also issued as digipack 2 CD versions as well as in the 10 CD set.

Surprised they are coming out now as expected them to be included in v.3 of the box set deluxe issues,

Still, as ever will buy to maintain collection

Michael L

As someone who had a casual interest in Bowie before his passing but hadn’t investigated everything my interest has been piqued about ‘1. Outside’ recently, so I’m pleased it’s available again at a sensible price. Bells and whistles would be nice but this will do.


Cripes – this is dull dull dull.

First we get the totally redundant ChangesOne, and now these three? Ouch. You’d of thought that with the passing of the great man inspiration to “do him justice” would have prevailed. Instead, this……..

I own the Japanese issues that had two discs for each of these albums, and I have the reissue of that 90’s box that came a few years ago. Along with the original release (which had a couple OTHER bonus tracks on Outside. So forgive me if I yawn when they’re offered bare bones.

gogandmagog asks – “What’s the problem?” Well, I’ll tell you. Mr. Bowie passed away, and his legacy is a mountain of great music. Is it really too much to ask record companies to put in some effort in his memory, rather then these lame cash-grabs? Given the various releases of each of these albums, why should someone buying it for the first time today be happy with less. Much less? It’s crazy, and does them no credit.

As to the albums – they’re all great. You have to be in the mood for Hours, but if you are it’s the match of anything in this box. Outside will be forever tarnished by the ridiculous voiceovers. Luckily the music is great.

Oh well, I’m a huge Bowie fan, but it seems with these, and the “greatest hits” (that was inadequate when it first came out, let alone now) we recently got, Bowie has – inexplicably – become a barren catalog rather than a celebration.

Michael L



I don’t mind that new listeners are being given the opportunity to hear the artist’s original vision (with no latter day tag-on’s).


Maybe an article pointing out what’s going on with Bowie’s back catalogue would be helpful. There are loads of Parlophone reprints around, and the thing got worse and even more confusing since Bowie’s passing, you can’t keep track anymore of all the releases going on. I just discovered, looking on Discogs, that Parlophone have reissued all the 1999 remasters, basically swapping the EMI logo with the Parlophone one. And the same they did with Black Tie White Noise and Buddha of Suburbia, which were out of the 1999 campain but were repressed by EMI in 2003 and 2007, and now they are branded Parlophone. I thought that from Outside onwards the albums were property of ISO/Columbia, there are 2003 reprints of Outside, Earthling and Hours, but now Parlophone is reprinting those three too. It’ll be the same with Heathen and Reality at some point? I believe that the box set series won’t go any further than the 70s stuff, seeing all the things Parlophone already reprinted. Can you clearify how Bowie’s back catalogue work?

Rick Marino

Hours has one of Bowie’s most underrated 90’s tracks, “New Angels Of Promise”

Simon Thornhill

I love 1.Outside!
Although of course I adore the classic Bowie albums I think this was Bowie’s best album since Scary Monsters! I loved the eclectic mixture of styles & sounds on this record. Fave tracks are
A small plot of land
I’m derranged
No control
Halo Space boy
Hearts filthy lesson
But over all the album hangs together really well Serving as a loose post modern concept album. Covering themes of paranoir voyeurism anxiety & moon dust!
I’m currently awaiting delivery of the white vinyl reissue from a little while back.
This album for brought Bowie’s music bang up to date. Where as I’d agree that Earthling, while enjoyable does feel forced & contrived by comparison.
As for these reissues I’d say they are fine for the casual fan but not really that essential for die hard. But if your curious about 1.Outside then id got for this issue for sure . 8/10 for the album

Bruno MacDonald

I found …hours worked better a song at a time, i.e. on an iTunes shuffle. Like the Pumpkins’ Adore, it’s full of good songs but too morose to take in a single sitting (even for moi, who rates The Final Cut as an all-time favourite).

Earthling is very jolly and Outside is fine if you slip away to make a cup of tea during the dramatic interludes.

All three yielded entries in my Bowie top ten: New Angels of Promise, Dead Man Walking and Through These Architect’s Eyes.

Controversially, I thought Heathen was the least interesting thing he did in his last two decades.


what’s the problem? these are reissues for new fans or casual listeners.
I already have them twice (first release and the box 1995-2003)
Outside is more than 20 years old, not all releases are for us (die hard fans)

Later will come “new” stuff, plus new boxes like 5 Years

Randy Metro

I agree. The bare bones releases for a lot of artists are aimed at the younger generations. They could care less about the remixes as the “kids” did not grow up when these albums were released & promoted with 12 inchers or CD singles. On the other hand, aren’t the “kids” raised on downloads and streaming? I am curious to know the range of ages along with the average age of the readers on this site.

Simon F

Did Earthling originally come in a gatefold sleeve and will that be replicated now? I hope so otherwise this is a return to those dreadful RCA reissues of the early 80’s minus any gatefolds, inserts etc. and I won’t bother if that’s the case.

Chris Brown

I’m sure the original version was in a jewel case. I mainly remember being annoyed that the tracklisting wasn’t on the outside.


Just cashing in on one of the greatest rock legends.


I purchased the 2CD Deluxe Editions so these are of no interest to me whatsoever.


I agree completely about Outside and I was very disappointed when the two follow-up albums were scrapped (it was to be the first of three hence the title “1. Outside”). They did record more music which was to be on “2. Contamination” so I hope Eno revisits this and puts something together. When I am asked about my favourite Bowie album my standard answer is “Low” and “Outside” because I can’t pick one and these two go so well together. As an aside, I think ….hours deserves a little more credit. The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell does not fit on the album but the rest is very solid lower-key material (which was meant for a video game I think).

Mic Smith

There are a number of remixes from these albums that weren’t included on the double sets that have been pressed twice for UK release. So why not include those as “new” bonus tracks. Surely most fans have the basic material and won’t go near these?


I thought the 10-CD box had been reissued. Is it out of print again? I got it for a very reasonable £25 a couple of years ago.

Stephen Davison

It’s definitely still out of print again. The remaining copies of the limited issue were snapped up after he died. It’s on Amazon for £115 currently but that’s the cheapest it’s been for months. Pleased I have my copy too.

Paul Murphy

Nay nay and thrice nay, surely too harsh on ‘hours…’ Paul [Mastertapes last week, ‘hours….’ this, wherefrom comes this sudden harshness!]. Inspired by the lyrical timbre of Dylan’s ‘Time Out Of Mind’ [David’s recording of that album’s ‘Trying To Get To Heaven’ remains sadly unavailable still], namely a realisation that much of life’s road is now in the rear-view mirror, the album does what some of its predecessors had not, works as a piece rather a collection of pieces. There may not be any standout moments on it, but that is what helps it run. A return to some more standard chord changes throughout also redirect it to singer-songwriter territory. Certainly at least one song too long, and if anyone was on auto-pilot it was probably Reeves, whose playing on the commensurate ‘Omikron’ tracks was much more inventive, but that may well have been as-directed by David. It’s all just opinion, but personally I think it’s a nice album, and if David had only brought in Mike Garson to layer some of his exotic piano through it, it could have been a much better-regarded inclusion to his oeuvre.

Robert Fitzpatrick

I already have them! Earthling is very underrated . Do Ya self a favour !


i’m huge fan of Bowie but these releases are waste of money


Yes, they should reissue the double CD versions really.

Dave Butterfield

Seems a waste to just issue vanilla versions really..I guess the price point makes them attractive to any johnny come lately completions.

Stan Butler

It’s good that these are available at sensible prices again.


I wish they would reprint the 10-CD set of the 90s/noughties albums for a reasonable price…

Chris Brown

The 10CD box won’t be back for a while at least, because the two Noughties albums are still licensed to Sony.