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Hear David Bowie’s Acoustic Version of ‘I Can’t Read ’97’ From ‘Is It Any Wonder?’ EP

Stripped-down solo rendition of the Tin Machine track was originally recorded during ‘Earthling’ sessions

Althea Legaspi Jan 17, 2020

A still from “I Can’t Read ’97” music video.

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David Bowie’s “I Can’t Read ’97” has been unveiled. The acoustic rendition will appear on the upcoming Is It Any Wonder? EP. It follows last week’s release of a previously unreleased version of “The Man Who Sold the World” from the six-song set. The rest of the EP’s songs will arrive one at a time on a weekly basis through the next month.

Originally appearing on Tin Machine’s 1989 self-titled debut album and written by Bowie and Reeves Gabrels, “I Can’t Read” was re-recorded by Bowie in 1996 as part of his Earthling sessions. According to a statement, it was Bowie’s preferred solo version and at one point it appeared on a master version of Earthling. The song was cut in favor of “The Last Thing You Should Do.”

The accompanying official video was filmed by Tim Pope in January 1997 during rehearsals in Hartford, Connecticut. In the clip, a masked Bowie is seen staring into a mirror while a projection of his uncovered face sings the lyrics.

Is It Any Wonder? is one of two new Bowie releases in the works. The other, ChangesNowBowie, arrives on Record Store Day, April 18th, as a limited edition LP and CD.

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