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Music

The bizarre location David Bowie's first recording was found

When one thinks of David Bowie, typically, you think of the chameleonic artist, the creation who helped to push back against restrictive social mores and bring culture into a more fluid future. One of the most important artists to have ever lived, what Bowie did for both music and culture as a whole is surpassed only really by The Beatles. 

Be it his album Ziggy Stardust, The Berlin Trilogy, or his extra-musical moments such as calling out MTV for their lack of Black representation, there were many stellar moments across Bowie’s career, for which we remember him as a legend today.

However, many moments across Bowie’s career were not successful, and many of these can be found right at the very start of his career. Famously, before he was David Bowie, he was David Jones, just another wannabe trying to make it amongst all the glitz and the glamour of 1960s London. As with any musician worth their salt, there was a long way to go between Bowie being a novice and an icon. 

He formed his first band, The Konrads, aged 15, in 1962. Playing guitar-based rock and roll, at local youth gatherings and functions, The Konrads had a rotating lineup, and it was in the band where Bowie would get his first taste of the music industry. In 1963, The Konrads recorded ‘I Never Dreamed’ which features the young Bowie singing. The tape was rejected by Decca, and later that year Bowie left The Konrads as he was frustrated by the very limited aspirations of his bandmates. 

Bowie would then go on his merry way, and by 1973, had found much success as David Bowie. To much sadness, he passed away in 2016 and left a void that has never been filled. Many nuggets of Bowie’s life have come to the fore in the years since his death, and in 2018, something miraculous happened. 

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In 2018, ‘I Never Dreamed’, the first known studio recording of David Bowie, was found in an old breadbasket. The drummer of The Konrads, David Hadfield, uncovered it in his attic. This stellar find was immediately put up for auction and sold for nearly £40,000. 

Interestingly, showing how much of an experimentalist Bowie was, even at such a young age, he was The Konrads saxophonist and not singer. Still, given that self-confidence that would carry him through his career, he felt he should sing the 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. 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.”

Hadfield continued: “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.”

Unfortunately, The Konrads wouldn’t be signed by Decca, but this is a marvellous story. I think it’s safe to say that the majority of the records released under David Bowie never ended up in a bread basket in the loft, apart from maybe the first two David Bowie’s.

Listen to ‘I Never Dreamed’ below.