The earliest recording of David Bowie singing is now up for auction. After more than 55 years, a former bandmate has come forward to share one of his earliest projects with the Konrads. David Hadfield, the drummer from the Konrads, presented the recording for an upcoming auction. Hadfield told the Rolling Stone that he initially came across the recording more than twenty years ago while combing through old boxes in the storage space of his home. While searching through his belongings, he came across a bread basket from his father that caught his eye. Inside the basket was a series of dusty tapes, one of which had the words “The Konrads” written along the case. Hadfield fed the tape into an old tape machine and an original composition of David Jones, now known as David Bowie, came to life. The song is David Bowie’s oldest known original song, a 1962 single called “I Never Dreamed.”
In a press release regarding the auction, Hadfield wrote: “There is no other recording featuring David as lead in existence.” In hopes of getting a contract, the band decided to push vocalist Roger Ferris as the frontman and put Bowie on backup to sing harmonies. At the auction, there will be more than just the recording. The recording itself is a part of a larger collection of memorabilia from Bowie’s early career which includes letters, photographs, promotional sketches, and more.
Another great piece of work featuring Bowie is the book David Bowie: I was There, by Neil Cossar. The book was written in 2017 and details the many life events of David Bowie. In addition to hundreds of stories and experiences from fans, the book also includes contributions from musicians who had the chance to work with Bowie including Mike Garson, Earl Slick, and Peter Frampton. In total, the book spans his 600 shows around the UK and more than 1,000 total shows from his twelve major world tours. In one part of the book, a former bandmate, Alan Dodd, states that way back in June 1963 Bowie was the obvious choice for a frontman. In the words of Dodd, “he commanded the audience instantly.” Despite that fact, Decca declined to offer Bowie and the Konrads a contract and they were left with nothing but an acetate recording. Within a year the band broke up and, in 2016, it was reported that “no copies of the single survived.”
Listening to the twelve-second clip of Bowie and his bandmates vocalize, it becomes quite apparent why Decca records passed on the band. Despite the extremely rough production, the track was certainly not a hit, especially compared to the pop-rock talent and artists in the U.K. at the time. What Decca didn’t realize is who they were passing up on. If only they could’ve looked past the one single to see the real talent that was David Bowie.