In 1963, a 16-year-old David Jones went into a studio with his first band, The Konrads, and was asked to step up from playing saxophone to lead vocals on a track called “I Never Dreamed.” The band submitted the tape to Decca Records in the hopes of landing a recording deal but it was unceremoniously rejected. Now, 55 years later, The Konrads’ drummer, David Hadfield, found the old tape in a bread basket up in his garage while moving, and as David Jones eventually changed his name to David Bowie and became one of the legends of rock, the tape is of significant interest to the world.
The tape is going to auction in September and is expected to fetch upwards of £10,000, as auctioneer Paul Fairweather described the find as “a significant recording, completely unique.” It is pretty neat to hear the teenage version of a voice we’ve all come to know.
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. https://t.co/eESPNFq837
— Alex Taylor (@Tayloredword) July 23, 2018
Hadfield was as astonished as the rest of us to have made the discovery (in a bread box of all places!) and told the BBC:
Our agent, Eric Easton, who also managed The Rolling Stones, asked us to do a demo so he could try and get us an auction at Decca. So in early 1963 I booked into R.G.Jones small studio in Morden. In preparation for the demo David and our guitarist Neville Wills wrote 2/3 songs. 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! There is no other recording 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.
Everybody has to start somewhere, and it would be another six years before this gem would help redefine rock:
Bowie’s fans all kinda chuckled at the location of the great lost demo tape.
I'd like to think he would have laughed at this and then compared the song to a bit of stale bread.
— E.J. Schmidt (@Thepasswordnota) July 23, 2018
That’s the way David would have wanted it… He lived for toast..
— Lovely Lady Nash & The Web (@AntiquesDuo) July 24, 2018
So, it is smaller than a bread box then.
— 773 Brad (@773Brad) July 23, 2018
Bowie passed away suddenly two years ago, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of Blackstar. But it seems he’s still putting out music. Check your pantries, everybody.