I should have known better.
I should have been paying closer attention.
As I was downsizing my LP collection a few years back in the midst of moving and other life turmoil, I stupidly cast off some of my David Bowie albums. This included his ChangesOneBowie greatest hits collection.
This is an album that stands on its own with its assemblage of essential first-peak period hits and select then-previously-unreleased-on-LP bonus tracks.
As an end-to-end listen, ChangesOneBowie is no small accomplishment to be overlooked; so many hit compilations really are pretty lame because of the lack of thoughtful sequencing. So lame that most times if I am considering a collection by an artist I'm really into -- one where I own all their other recordings -- the only reason I'll often buy said "hits" album is usually because of unique tracks exclusive to the disc.
Often times I'll wait until that album gets discounted before I buy it... or I'll even wait to find it used somewhere...
ChangesOneBowie's seminal special track was the killer Ziggy Stardust-era single-only release "John, I'm Only Dancing." However, with space at a premium in my new apartment and given that I had in fact purchased the fine (as far as I know Bowie-approved) three CD collection called Sound+Vision (on the now defunct Rykodisc label) -- which in theory contained "John, I'm Only Dancing" -- I figured I was safe getting rid of ChangesOneBowie.
Fast forward to May of this year when a fine 40th Anniversary reissue of ChangesOneBowie appeared containing an alternate take of "John, I'm Only Dancing." Apparently, the so called "sax" version (because it features more audible saxophone parts, and is also quite a bit faster) had appeared on the first 1000 copies of ChangesOneBowie back in the day before being changed to the earlier single version.
It was a pretty rare record, to say the least.
Also of note for some collectors: about half of the new reissues of ChangesOneBowie were pressed on clear vinyl. However, there was no way to figure out which albums had the clear discs vs. standard black.
Of course, my luck being what it is, when I bought the new LP I got one of the black vinyl pressings. Don't get me wrong, it sounds fine, but is not the spiffy clear vinyl version that would satisfy my inner record collector geek...
Its gets better....
Imagine my surprise when I dug out my Sound+Vision box to hear the original single version of "John, I'm Only Dancing"only to find out that it is, in fact, the faster 1973 Aladdin Sane-era alternate take "sax" version! Yes, that is the same version that I'd just shelled out $25 to get on the new ChangesOneBowie.
So now I had two versions of the alternate take -- and no copies of the original -- "John, I'm Only Dancing" in my collection.