The Space Oddity legend was determined to go under the radar while making The Next Day, and even made the producers and musicians he hired sign non-disclosure agreements forcing them to keep quiet.
However, his cover was nearly blown back in 2011 when members of Metric showed up at The Magic Shop studios in New York City while Bowie was at work.
The Magic Shop manager Kabir Hermon tells Britain's NME magazine, "One day I opened the door and found Emily Haines and James Shaw from Metric, literally just about to ring the doorbell. They were like, 'Hey, we just stopped by to... see when we can come in!' I had to close the door behind me and explain that they weren't allowed in the studio, and that I couldn't tell them why."
Hermon admits he kept people guessing by dropping hints about other famous artists he could be working with.
He adds, "A lot of people would try to guess who we had in there. They'd say, 'Is it The Rolling Stones?' and I'd go, 'Well, I don't know...' Sometimes I'd get people going by saying it was a Smiths reunion."
Meanwhile, Bowie's saxophonist Steve Elson admits he was tempted to go public with Bowie's big secret.
He recalls, "I said to him, 'You know, David, this is gonna be a hard thing for me to keep under my belt. This is something I wanna boast about.' And he said, 'Yeah, but just think how good you'll feel when the record comes out.' And he was right. I could tell that this was something that he really needed to be kept quiet, so that he could work the way he wanted to work."
The Next Day is released in the U.K. on 11 March (13) and in the U.S. on 12 March (13).