David Bowie demo rejected by record company up for sale

The 1963 tape features a 16-year-old Bowie, then David Jones, in his first band The Konrads.

David Bowie’s first known studio recording, which was rejected by a record company and found in a bread basket, will be sold at auction.

The 1963 demo tape features a 16-year-old Bowie, then David Jones, in his first band The Konrads.

The group were turned down by Decca and the tape of Bowie singing I Never Dreamed was never released.

Bowie quit the band in the following months, but his career took off six years later with Space Oddity.

The tape, which is expected to fetch £10,000, is part of a trove of memorabilia to be sold by former Konrads’ drummer David Hadfield, who also managed the band.

The demo tape going under-the-hammer (Omega Auctions)
The demo tape is going on auction (Omega Auctions)

He unearthed it, while moving house in the 1990s, in the loft of his garage, in a bread basket that once belonged to his grandfather.

Bowie was the band’s saxophonist but it was decided that he should sing lead vocals for the tape.

Hadfield said: “David had no inclination to become a singer at this point, his heart and mind were focused on becoming a world class saxophone player.

David Bowie artwork for The Konrads
David Bowie artwork for The Konrads up for auction (Omega Auctions)

“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.

“So in early 1963 I booked into RG Jones’ small studio in Morden.”

He said: “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.

Photos of The Konrads
Photos of The Konrads (Omega Auctions)

“There is no other recording of the demo featuring David as lead in existence. 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.”

Bowie left the band shortly after the audition, which did not get them signed, because of creative differences.

Letters, bills, booking forms, photographs and promotional sketches from Bowie’s early career will also be up for auction.

Auctioneer Paul Fairweather said the tape was 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 collection is set to go under the hammer in September at Omega Auctions, in Newton-le-Willows, in a music memorabilia sale.

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