Unreleased David Bowie track “I Can’t Read ’97” freed from vault: Stream

One of six rarities collected on the upcoming Is It Any Wonder? EP

David Bowie in video for "I Cant Read '97"
David Bowie in video for “I Cant Read ’97”

    Parlophone Records has cracked open David Bowie’s vault once more and shared the latest unreleased track from the upcoming Is It Any Wonder? EP. It comes in the form of an alternate version of “I Can’t Read” dating backing to 1997.

    “I Can’t Read” originally appeared the eponymous 1988 debut album from Tin Machine, Bowie’s short-lived supergroup featuring Reeves Gabrels, Tony Fox Sales, and Hunt Sales. Per a press release, “in the autumn of 1996, during the mixing stages for [1997’s] Earthling, Bowie re-recorded the track – which, at one stage, appeared on a mastered version of the album.”

    (Read: David Bowie’s Albums, Ranked)

    “While the song’s second incarnation ‘I Can’t Read ‘97’ was Bowie’s preferred solo version, it was ultimately cut from Earthling and replaced at the last minute with ‘The Last Thing You Should Do’.” Now, for the first time, “I Can’t Read ’97” has been unveiled alongside a video shot by Tim Pope at rehearsals in Hartford, Connecticut in January 1997. Watch it below.


    Parlophone previously previewed Is It Any Wonder? with a previously unreleased version of “The Man Who Sold the World”. The digital-only release features four other tracks, with each one rolling out weekly beginning today.

    The material featured on Is It Any Wonder? will also be collected on a Record Store Day vinyl release called ChangesNowBowie, available on April 18th.