Detailed Pedia

Conversation Piece (box set)

Conversation Piece
David Bowie Conversation Piece.jpg
Compilation album by
Released15 November 2019
RecordedJanuary 1968 – October 1969
David Bowie chronology
The 'Mercury' Demos
Conversation Piece
Is It Any Wonder?

Conversation Piece is a box set by English musician David Bowie, released in November 2019, which contains five CDs featuring recordings made in 1968–1969. The box set includes home demos and BBC sessions, as well as two mixes of the 1969 album Space Oddity: the original 1969 stereo mix, and a new 2019 mix produced by Tony Visconti specifically for the set. The release of the 1969 mix is a repressing of the 2009 remastered CD, which was chosen due to its being mastered to match the original LP release, a priority that was not taken for Parlophone's in-house remaster created for the Five Years (1969–1973) box set in 2015.[1]

Most of the demo tracks had been released earlier in 2019 in the vinyl box sets Spying Through a Keyhole, Clareville Grove Demos, and The 'Mercury' Demos. The 2019 mix of Space Oddity was also given a standalone release on CD and LP and on digital download and streaming services, concurrently with the box set.[1]

Recording Dates

The first 11 tracks were likely recorded between January and March 1968, when the tracks 'In The Heat of The Morning', and 'London Bye, Ta-Ta' were recorded professionally. Tracks 12 and 13 were also likely recorded in November 1968, shortly after the writing of the song 'Space Oddity'.[2] Track 14 was recorded sometime between November 1968 and tracks 15 to 23, recorded in January 1969.[3]

The Mercury Demos CD was recorded sometime past the first studio attempt at Space Oddity on February 2, 1969, and David's move to Beckham in mid April.[4]

Tracks 1–2 of the third disc were recorded between the 12th of March and the 18th of April 1968 at Decca Studios,[5] with tracks 3–7 being recorded on the 13th of May at BBC Radio Studios.[6] Following this is Ching A Ling, track 8, which was recorded in two sessions between the 24th of October and the 27th November 1968.[5] Track 9 was recorded February 2, 1969, at Morgan Studios.[7] Track 10 was recorded June 20, 1969,[7] with Track 11 likely being recorded around the same time,[8] and Track 12 being from around July – September. Track 14–16 were recorded October 20.[6]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[9]

Track listing

All tracks written by David Bowie, except where noted.

CD1 – Home Demos
No.TitlePrevious releaseLength
1."April's Tooth of Gold"previously unreleased2:29
2."The Reverend Raymond Brown (Attends the Garden Fête on Thatchwick Green)"previously unreleased2:15
3."When I'm Five"previously unreleased3:18
4."Mother Grey"Spying Through a Keyhole3:00
5."In the Heat of the Morning"Spying Through a Keyhole2:59
6."Goodbye 3d (Threepenny) Joe"Spying Through a Keyhole3:19
7."Love All Around"Spying Through a Keyhole2:49
8."London Bye, Ta-Ta"Spying Through a Keyhole3:31
9."Angel Angel Grubby Face" (version 1)Spying Through a Keyhole2:31
10."Angel Angel Grubby Face" (version 2)Spying Through a Keyhole2:37
11."Animal Farm"previously unreleased2:21
12."Space Oddity" (solo demo fragment)Spying Through a Keyhole2:39
13."Space Oddity" (version 1, with John Hutchinson)Spying Through a Keyhole4:02
14."Space Oddity" (version 2, with John Hutchinson)previously unreleased5.00
15."Space Oddity" (version 3, with John Hutchinson)Clareville Grove Demos5:10
16."Lover to the Dawn" (with John Hutchinson)Clareville Grove Demos3:50
17."Ching-a-Ling" (with John Hutchinson)Clareville Grove Demos2:58
18."An Occasional Dream" (with John Hutchinson)Clareville Grove Demos2:49
19."Let Me Sleep Beside You" (with John Hutchinson)Clareville Grove Demos2:54
20."Life Is a Circus" (Roger Bunn, with John Hutchinson)Clareville Grove Demos4:50
21."Conversation Piece"previously unreleased3:47
22."Jerusalem"previously unreleased4:19
23."Hole In The Ground" (with George Underwood)previously unreleased3:29
CD2 – The 'Mercury' Demos
1."Space Oddity" 5:29
2."Janine" 3:54
3."An Occasional Dream" 3:19
4."Conversation Piece" 3:31
5."Ching-a-Ling" 3:37
6."I'm Not Quite" 4:01
7."Lover to the Dawn" 5:02
8."Love Song"Lesley Duncan4:09
9."When I'm Five" 3:20
10."Life Is a Circus"Roger Bunn5:28
CD3 – Conversation Pieces (Mono)
No.TitlePrevious releaseLength
1."In the Heat of the Morning" (Decca mono version)David Bowie; 2010 bonus disc2:51
2."London Bye, Ta-Ta" (Decca alternative version)previously unreleased2:36
3."In the Heat of the Morning"Bowie at the Beeb3:01
4."London Bye, Ta-Ta"Bowie at the Beeb2:39
5."Karma Man"Bowie at the Beeb3:07
6."When I'm Five"David Bowie; 2010 bonus disc3:14
7."Silly Boy Blue"Bowie at the Beeb4:32
8."Ching-a-Ling"David Bowie; 2010 bonus disc2:51
9."Space Oddity" (Morgan Studios version – alternative take with John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson)previously unreleased4:22
10."Space Oddity" (U.K. single edit)Five Years (1969–1973)4:42
11."Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud" (mono mix)Five Years (1969–1973)4:54
12."Janine" (mono mix)Five Years (1969–1973)3:23
13."Conversation Piece" (mono mix)Five Years (1969–1973)3:06
14."Let Me Sleep Beside You"David Bowie; 2009 bonus disc3:20
15."Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed"David Bowie; 2009 bonus disc4:03
16."Janine"David Bowie; 2009 bonus disc3:03
CD 4 – 1969 Stereo Mixes
No.TitlePrevious releaseLength
1."Space Oddity"David Bowie5:14
2."Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed (inc. Don’t Sit Down)"David Bowie6:51
3."Letter to Hermione"David Bowie2:32
4."Cygnet Committee"David Bowie9:31
5."Janine"David Bowie3:21
6."An Occasional Dream"David Bowie2:54
7."Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud"David Bowie4:46
8."God Knows I'm Good"David Bowie3:17
9."Memory of a Free Festival"David Bowie7:09
10."Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud" (single B-side stereo mix)David Bowie; 2009 bonus disc4:56
11."Letter to Hermione" (early mix)previously unreleased2:32
12."Janine" (early mix)previously unreleased3:23
13."An Occasional Dream" (early mix)previously unreleased2:54
14."Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola" (full length version)Five Years (1969–1973)5:14
CD 5 – 2019 Mixes
1."Space Oddity"5:20
2."Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed"6:18
3."Letter to Hermione"2:32
4."Cygnet Committee"9:28
6."An Occasional Dream"2:57
7."Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud"4:50
8."Conversation Piece"3:11
9."God Knows I'm Good"3:16
10."Memory of a Free Festival"7:14
11."Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud" (single version)4:59
12."Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola"5:20

Chart performance

In Wallonia, Conversation Piece peaked at #127 in 2019.[10]


  1. ^ a b Sinclair, Paul (5 September 2019). "David Bowie / Conversation Piece box". Super Deluxe Edition. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  2. ^ David Bowie – Spying Through a Keyhole Liner Notes, 2019, Parlophone
  3. ^ David Bowie With John 'Hutch' Hutchinson – Clareville Grove Demos Liner Notes, 2019, Parlophone
  4. ^ Bowie – Mercury Demos Liner Notes, 2019, Parlophone
  5. ^ a b David's Deram Chronology – Kevin Cann (2010, 'David Bowie' Liner Notes, Deram)
  6. ^ a b David BowieAt The Beeb (Liner Notes, 2000)
  7. ^ a b "Space Oddity". The Bowie Bible. 2018-12-03. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  8. ^ Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now – David Bowie: The London Years: 1947–1974: p.154
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Conversation Piece – David Bowie". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  10. ^ "David Bowie – Conversation Piece". (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 July 2020.

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