The first-known recording by David Bowie sold for £39,360 at an auction in Britain yesterday.
Bowie made the recording when he was the 16-year-old singer of a band called the Konrads.
The song – ‘I Never Dreamed’ – was recorded in a London studio in 1963, when the Konrads asked Bowie to sing lead vocals. At the time, the artist was known by his given name, David Jones, and he was ambitious to become a famous saxophonist.
David Hadfield, who was both the drummer and manager of the Konrads and who was slightly older than the other band members, discovered the tape by accident in a breadbasket earlier this year.
The Konrads recorded the tape in order to win an audition with Decca Records, but the record company turned them down later that year, just before Bowie left the band due to artistic differences. The rest is history.
Hadfield stated that he had found the tape when moving home, as it was stashed in an old basket that had belonged to his grandfather together with other material including booking forms, photographs, promotional sketches, letters and bills. A fortuitous discovery and one that had many fans in a lather.
Music specialists Omega Auctions in north-west England said there was “a bidding frenzy” around the sale of Bowie’s memorabilia and this led to the demo tape fetching around four times the expected price of £10,000.
Promotional sketches made by the then unknown Bowie, along with photographs and band documents, were also sold for £17,130, while an early poster of the Konrads went for £6,600.
Other items auctioned included a fully signed album of rock band Led Zeppelin, which sold for £14,000, and handwritten lyrics by Jimi Hendrix from around 1970, which fetched £10,800.
Bowie died in 2016 from an undisclosed battle with cancer, two days after releasing his final album on his 69th birthday.