The lost 55-year-old recording of his first band, The Konrads, is expected to reach £10,000 at auction
David Bowie with his first band, The Konrads, in 1963 at Stepney Assembly Rooms on Stepney Causeway, Tower Hamlets. Bowie's father worked for #Barnardo's here. These were publicity photographs for the band, taken by Roy Ainsworth. #BowieForever#Stepneypic.twitter.com/z3Obi40JVB— Cockney Campaign (@cockneycampaign) January 10, 2018
David Bowie’s teenage achievements are greater than yours. By 17, he’d released his first single, “Liza Jane/Louie Louie Go Home”, under the name ‘Davie Jones with the King-Bees’; a year earlier, in 1963, he was a 16-year-old making tentative steps into the music industry with his first band, The Konrads. Though Bowie was the group’s saxophonist, he agreed to record lead vocals on one of The Konrads’ demos. Now, the only known recording of the session has been found, and it’s set to reach £10,000 at auction.
As The Guardian report, Bowie recorded the demo at RG Jones studio in Morden at the behest of their agent, Eric Easton, who was also managing a then-young Rolling Stones at the time. The demo, of a track name “I Never Dreamed”, led them to audition for Decca, although the record company eventually turned them down. Soon, Bowie left the band, citing aristic differences.
David Hadfield, the group’s drummer and manager, recently found the tape when moving home, stored in an old bread basket that belonged to his grandfather. Also contained within the tin were booking forms, photographs, and promotional sketches.
“We had decided that we would do a couple of guitar instrumentals and one original song,” Hadfield says. “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’s birth name) singing 55 years ago.”
The Konrads released two singles, one in 1965 and the other in 66, although both were recorded after Bowie had left the group. Although no studio recordings with Bowie have existed before the discovery of the tape, early recordings of the group’s rehearsals have circulated in bootleg form since 2003.
Hadfield adds: “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.” The tape will be sold by Omega Auctions in Newton-le-Willows on Merseyside in September.
Listen to a short clip of newly discovered “I Never Dreamed” demo above courtesy of Omega Auctions, and check out The Konrads’ rehearsal bootleg below.