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First-Known David Bowie Recording Sells for £40,000

David Bowie - Saxophone Session, London 1973. © Mick Rock

The first-known David Bowie recording has gone under auction and sold for just under £40,000. The 18 minute recording from 1963 features a 16-year-old Bowie singing “I Never Dreamed” which he performed with his first band The Konrads. Back then he was still David Jones.

The demo was found earlier in the year by the Konrad's drummer David Hadfield in an old bread basket in his loft. The teenage Bowie song was rejected by record label Decca, but now has gone to sell for four times the estimated price of £10,000. Omega Auctions said it caused a “bidding frenzy” between two overseas bidders, and went for £39,360.

According to the BBC, auctioneer Paul Fairweather called the tape a "significant recording, completely unique" as it’s thought to be the only known recording of this song in existence. At the time Bowie played saxophone for The Konrads, but they got him to sing for this demo. Bowie left the band not long after the recording was made, the band remaining unsigned, with his hugely influential career eventually taking off a few years later with the release of “Space Oddity” in 1969.

David Bowie drawing, left handed, in his flat in Foxgrove Road, Beckenham in 1969. © Ray Stevenson

Amazingly Hadfield said that Bowie had never intended to be a singer back then, “David had no inclination to become a singer at this point, his heart and mind were focused on becoming a world-class saxophone player.” he noted. “Our agent, Eric Easton, who also managed the Rolling Stones, asked us to do a demo so he could try and get us an audition at Decca. We had decided that we would do a couple of guitar instrumentals and one original song. Decca initially turned us down, but when they eventually gave us an audition later that year, vocalist Roger Ferris was the lead voice and David sang backing harmonies."

In other Bowie news, a themed bar centred around the musician’s alter ego Ziggy Stardust is due to open in London. Significantly it’s opening at Regent Street’s Hotel Royal Cafe which, in 1973, was where Bowie threw a send-off party, called The Last Supper, to say goodbye to his stage persona Ziggy, inviting celebrities such as Lou Reed, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger to help bid adieu.

David Bowie applying make-up in Scotland in 1973. © Mick Rock

The bar, called Ziggy’s, will feature photos on the wall taken by Rockarchive photographer Mick Rock (Bowie’s official photographer back in that period) and will serve cocktails inspired by the musician’s music and lyrics from the album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. Ziggy’s opens on 20 September.

Along with this, Bowie fans can also look forward to a new box set that’s coming out in October. Called Loving The Alien (1983 - 1988) it’s the fourth in a series covering the musician’s career, and will feature eight albums from that time period, which include live and remix albums, and also unreleased material. It will be released on 21 October.

David Bowie and Mick Ronson eating lunch on a train to Aberdeen in 1973. Photographer Mick Rock recalls: "Taken on the train up to Aberdeen for the first gig of David’s final Ziggy tour, 15 May 1973. Another image that got lost in the archive until it finally surfaced in 'Moonage Daydream'. I have a slew of photos on the train and in the stations of David in that amazing jacket. But the favourite one for fans is this one. Of all my limited edition fine art prints, this may be the one that has sold the most. Maybe it’s got something to do with the ridiculously ‘glam’ look of the magic duo and the obviously mundane nature of their British Rail lunch – lamb chops, boiled potatoes, peas with the bread rolls and pats of butter. But also perhaps something to do with the warm conspiratorial way they are looking at each other. They had the rock scene by the horns and they were savouring it!" © Mick Rock

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer many iconic David Bowie images as limited edition photographic prints which you can buy here.

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