David Bowie’s rejected debut album tracks sell for double estimate figure at Merseyside auction

The David Bowie album cover. Image via Wikimedia Commons from Deram / London Records.

Tracks recorded by David Bowie for his 1967 debut album that were later rejected have been sold at auction for a hammer price of £16,000.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Laura Chesters

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The four tracks: Funny SmileBunny Thing and Pussy Cat and Did You Ever Have a Dream (which later appeared on the 1981 compilation Another Face), were recorded during 1966-67 at Decca Studio 2 in West Hampstead. Bowie had planned to include them on his first album before deciding against the choice.

These songs are very different from Bowie’s later work and are in a music-hall style. The album was not a commercial success and Rolling Stone magazine notes that Bowie spent the rest of his career “more or less pretending David Bowie [the debut album] didn’t exist; as early as 1969, he diplomatically noted that ‘you could say it was rushed.’ Asked about it in 1990, he blanched: “Aargh, that Anthony Newley stuff, how cringe-y. No, I haven’t much to say about that in its favour. … Musically, it’s quite bizarre. I don’t know where I was at.”

The boxed reel of 1/4″ Ampex recording tape was offered by Omega Auctions with an estimate of £5000-8000 at the May 21 sale. The buyer’s premium was 20% plus VAT.

A photo from a David Bowie advert from 1967. Image via Wikimedia Commons from Deram / London Records 1967.

Also in the sale was an alternate Aladdin Sane album known as the lost Zion tape which is a copy of the “almost completely different version of the classic 1973 album”. It was estimated at £5000-8000 and sold at £20,000.

Back in March 2019 a tape thought to contain “possibly the first ever demo version” of David Bowie’s 1972 hit Starman sold at Omega Auctions.

The rehearsal tape included unheard demos of StarmanMoonage Daydream and Hang on to Yourself.

Estimated at £5000-10,000 at the sale in Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside, it was knocked down at £41,000.