The song, titled “I Want Your Love” and recorded in 1965 by a teenaged Bowie and his early group the Lower Third, was written by John Dee and Jack Tarr and produced by top ‘60s producer Shel Talmy — who also produced a string of classics for the Kinks and the Who, including “You Really Got Me,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “My Generation,” “I Can’t Explain” and two early singles for Bowie, who was still going by his original surname in Davy Jones and the Lower Third. (He would adopt Bowie the following year, after David Jones of the Monkees rose to prominence.)
The disc is expected to fetch £8,000 – £12,000 and will be auctioned at Wessex Auction Rooms on Thursday. The same firm has auctioned off at least two different unreleased Bowie acetates from the same era, one from 1966 called “I Do Believe I Love You” and another from the following year titled “Run Piper Run.” The buyer will not acquire the rights to the recording or its publishing.
As evidenced by the excerpt contained in the video below, the song is hardly a lost classic and is likely a demo, even though the publishing database and Talmy’s archives state that the recording was produced by him. (The song was recorded by the Pretty Things on their 1965 sophomore album, “Get the Picture?”) According to Wessex, the acetate was obtained from the archives of a long-running music publisher.
“The seller purchased the physical music archive of one of the world’s biggest publishing companies and therefore unearthed a raft of amazing demos and unheard tracks from huge artists,” auctioneer Martin Hughes told the Wilshire Gazette and Herald.
Talmy last year offered to sell what he claims are eight previously unreleased Bowie recordings, saying that he “would like to make this material available” and said he has been “negotiating with several interested parties, including the Bowie Estate.” However, he said, “so far, unfortunately, it’s been very slow-going.”
Bowie, who died in 2016, was fastidious about maintaining control of his work and regularly snapped up stray recordings and other items from his career whenever they became available. While his estate owns his catalog from 1968 forward, his earliest officially released material — a string of singles and one self-titled 1967 album, all of which are vastly inferior to his classic work — is largely owned by Universal Music.
Recordings from those years — most notably a novelty single called “The Laughing Gnome” — were re-released by various labels throughout his career and usually caused him no small embarrassment. However, he apparently remembered them fondly enough to re-record a dozen in 2000-2001 for an album called “Toy,” which he elected not to release at the time but, ironically enough, was finally officially released last month as part of the “Brilliant Adventure 1992-2001” collection.