Counterfeits are straight copies of official releases. The distinction between counterfeits and pirate editions sometimes is blurry; therefore make sure also to check Pirates. Only counterfeit LPs are treated here; a CD section currently is not (yet) available. For singles I refer to Christian Frifelt's The Illustrated Bowie Bootleg File. Christian made a large part of his excellent book—covering all David Bowie bootleg LPs and CDs—available online on Bassman's Bowie Page.


The Man Who Sold The WorldThe Man Who Sold The WorldThe Man Who Sold The World The Man Who Sold The World
(Mercury 6338 041), 1979/1982/1989 (Japan/Italy)

All three original editions have been counterfeited, and especially for the 'cartoon cover' counts that there probably are more fakes circulating than originals!

The 'drag cover' has been counterfeited twice, in Japan in the late 70s and in Italy in the early 80s. The Italian counterfeit is easy to expose, as it has a poorly reproduced sleeve that lacks the textured appearance of the original, and has a white rather than black record label. The Japanese counterfeit is a much better copy, but it can be identified by the slightly cropped photo's on the cover (on the front Bowie's feet touch the edge of the sleeve on the counterfeit, whereas they by far don't on the original) that also has a different texture (it uses wax to reproduce the original wallpaper-like sleeve), the spine (on which the album title and catalogue number have been inverted), and the record label (which is dark grey instead of black, with a silver edge that is absent from the original, and has R 1971 rather than P 1971, plus a space in the word BRO ADCASTING). Note that most books and even the Rykodisc reissue use a photo of the counterfeit!

The 'cartoon cover' and 'round cover' counterfeits too are clever copies, but these can be identified by hand-scratched rather than machine-stamped matrix numbers in the run-out groove. The original that was used for the 'round cover' counterfeit had traces of cellotape on its top, which have been copied onto the counterfeit.

Also see two pirate picture discs.

Star Star
(RCA DJL1-3255), 1980?

The original promo 12" (with live versions from Stage) is pressed on white vinyl, whereas this counterfeit uses black vinyl.

An Evening With David Bowie An Evening With David Bowie
(RCA DJL1-3016), 1980?

Counterfeits of this album can be identified by the absence of a black band beneath the cover picture.

1980 All Clear 1980 All Clear
(RCA DJL1-3545), 1982?

The sleeve of this counterfeit is in black and silver, rather than in the black and white of the original promo LP.

David Bowie David Bowie
(Deram DE 16003), 1988?

A copy of the US edition of the mono edition Bowie's debut LP.

Low Low
(RCA INTS 5065), 2008.

A handful of albums were pressed on red vinyl, probably by a fan working at the plant. This a counterfeit that sometimes fetches high prices on auction sites. A rather clever piece of work, which can be identified by the machine-stamped 76061E1/A in the runout groove; the original has the hand-etched number INTS 5065 A1 IT.

Rock And Roll Now Rock 'N' Roll Now
(RCA SPLD-1052), 2020.

Easily exposed as a counterfeit by the mock-OBI (the original didn't come with one) and multi-coloured vinyl.