Entertainment & Arts

David Bowie auction: First-known studio recording sells for nearly £40,000

David Bowie in 1963 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bowie pictured on London's Kingly Street, off Carnaby Street in 1963

The first known studio recording of David Bowie has sold for nearly £40,000 - four times the estimate.

The 1963 demo tape, rejected by Decca, features a 16-year-old Bowie - then known as David Jones - singing I Never Dreamed with first band The Konrads.

The 18-minute recording was sold by the band's drummer David Hadfield, who had discovered it in an old bread basket in his loft.

Omega Auctions said it sold for a total of £39,360 after a "bidding frenzy".

They had estimated it would reach £10,000.

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Media captionA clip of a 1963 recording, thought to be the first, of a teenage David Bowie singing

Director of Omega Auctions Karen Fairweather said the recording was the last lot of the day, and it had already reached £11,000 in pre-bidding before the auction began.

The bidding was fierce between two overseas collectors, who did not attend in person, before the winning bid was made.

"There was certainly applause when the hammer went down," she said. "It's a fantastic piece of history."

Auctioneer Paul Fairweather described the tape - thought to be the only copy that exists - as a "significant recording, completely unique".

He said it offers new insight into Bowie as a "fledgling musician who would go on to super-stardom."

Promotional sketches by Bowie from when he was in The Konrads, along with photographs and band documents, sold for £17,130 and an early 1963 poster of the band went for £6,600. All prices include buyers' premium.

Image copyright Mark Harward
Image caption This picture, showing Bowie performing on saxophone at a youth club at Biggin Hill in May 1963, is believed to be one of the first images of him on stage

Bowie was The Konrads' 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.

"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.

"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."

Bowie left the band shortly after the audition, which did not result in the band being signed.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Bowie performing at a concert in Paris in 2002

He went on to become a solo artist six years later, having changed his surname to Bowie so he didn't get confused with The Monkees' Davy Jones, and gained worldwide success.

He died of cancer in January 2016, two days after his 69th birthday - and the release of his 25th studio album.

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