Bowie’s LPs Return on Rykodisc

Times Pop Music Critic

The CD wait will soon be over for David Bowie fans.

While copies of the English rock star’s recent EMI albums, including the best-selling “Let’s Dance,” are plentiful on CD shelves, his more celebrated RCA material has been unavailable for more than three years.

Rykodisc--the independent label that started out as a CD-only firm, but now also releases product in vinyl and cassette--has obtained the North American rights to those 18 RCA albums released between 1969 and 1983.

The titles include such acclaimed works as “Hunky Dory,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Aladdin Sane” and “Low"--as well as two greatest-hits packages.


While some of the albums were released on CD in 1984 by RCA, they had largely disappeared from stores by the end of 1985 because the rights reverted to Bowie and RCA could no longer fill re-order requests.

Don Rose, president of Ryko, said he believes Bowie chose Ryko over larger labels because of the aggressive way the company has marketed more than a dozen Frank Zappa albums and two Jimi Hendrix collections. No financial details were announced.

The acquisition is a coup for Ryko because of the large demand for the Bowie LPs. In a Billboard magazine survey last fall, record retailers indicated there was more consumer demand for Bowie’s greatest hits package, “Changesonebowie,” than any other album not available on CD. The “Ziggy Stardust” album finished second in the poll.

Carrie Anne Svingen, a spokeswoman for Ryko, said this week that wherever possible the Bowie CDs will contain additional tracks--either previously unreleased material or non-LP singles from the same period.

No decision has been made yet on the order in which the albums will be released, but they are expected to be released at the rate of one or two a month, with the first arriving in stores in the fall, Svingen said.

Other albums that CD fans would most like to see available in CD, according to the Billboard survey: Queen’s “Greatest Hits” (available now only in an import CD), the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” (after many delays, Capitol is now planning a summer release) and Peter Gabriel’s first solo album (now available in a budget package from Atlantic).