David Bowie has celebrated his 66th birthday by releasing a new single, Where Are We Now?, ahead of his first new album in 10 years.
The track was put on sale in the iTunes store in 119 countries on Tuesday morning and a video preview posted on his website, which has been relaunched for the occasion. His 30th studio recording, The Next Day, would be released in March, said the Iso/Columbia record company.
The glam-rock singer shot to fame in the late 60s with Space Oddity but has been largely silent in recent years, not performing live since 2006 and rarely appearing in public since then. Bowie turned down the opportunity to appear at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony despite a personal plea by director Danny Boyle.
“Throwing shadows and avoiding the industry treadmill is very David Bowie despite his extraordinary track record that includes album sales in excess of 130m, not to mention his massive contributions in the area of art, fashion, style, sexual exploration and social commentary,” said a Columbia press release.
The record, produced by long-term collaborator Tony Visconti and written by Bowie, was recorded in New York, Columbia said. The single is accompanied by a video directed by Tony Oursler that harks back to Bowie’s time in Berlin. He is seen looking in on footage of the auto repair shop beneath the apartment he lived in along with stark images of the city at the time.
The spokesman added that Bowie was the sort of artist who “writes and performs what he wants when he wants”.
A second representative subsequently told the Guardian there were no plans for interviews or live dates.