The earliest known studio recording of David Bowie as a lead vocalist is expected to sell for at least $13,000 when it goes up for auction later this year. The tape, featuring a 16-year-old Bowie — then still going by his born name, David Jones — as lead singer of his early group The Konrads, is part of a collection of memorabilia being sold by being sold by former band drummer David Hadfield. He found the tape in a “bread bin,” according to the BBC, during a move in the 1990s and kept its existence quiet until the auction listing was posted today.
The recording — listen to a brief clip below — is a typical beat song of the era, with Bowie’s voice almost comically high. He was the band’s saxophonist at the time.
“Our agent, Eric Easton, who also managed The Rolling Stones, asked us to do a demo so he could try and get us an auction at Decca [Records],” Hadfield recalls in the Omega Auctions listing. “So in early 1963 I booked into R.G.Jones small studio in Morden. In preparation for the demo David and our guitarist Neville Wills wrote 2/3 songs. We had decided that we would do a couple of guitar instrumentals and one original song. I chose ‘I Never Dreamed’ as it was the strongest, the other two were a bit weak! I also decided that David was the best person to sing it and give the right interpretation. So this became the very first recording of David Jones (Bowie) singing 55 years ago! There is no other recording featuring David as lead in existence. Decca initially turned us down, but when they eventually gave us an auction later that year, vocalist Roger Ferris was the lead voice and David sang backing harmonies.”
Along with the tape, the collection includes “letters, bills, booking forms, photographs and promotional sketches.” Bowie left the band later that year.
Auctioneer Paul Fairweather said in the listing, “For Bowie collector’s this really is a significant recording, completely unique and of great historical interest, being the earliest studio recording of a fledgling musician who would go on to super stardom.”
The recording and accompanying material are to be auctioned in September.