You’re most likely not familiar with former British rock drummer David Hadfield. You’re slightly more likely to be familiar with one of his early ’60s bandmates, a 15-year-old young saxophonist by the name of David Jones, who went by the name David Jay once he joined up with Hadfield to form The Konrads. However, virtually everyone is well-acquainted with the man that young saxophonist became: In 1963, he started going by David Bowie, and the rest, as they say, is history.
According to Rolling Stone, 20 years ago Hadfield found some old, forgotten tapes of his and David Jones’ band, which had sat in an old bread basket for years. After listening through some instrumental tracks, he happened upon a recording of an original tune, “I Never Dreamed”, written and sung by Jones. While it was simply a demo tape when it was made, it now represents the oldest-known David Bowie original.
As Hadfield explained to Rolling Stone, “[Bowie] kept saying, ‘I’m not a singer, I’m a saxophone player.’” However, the success of 1962’s “A Picture of You” by Joe Brown—who bared a notable resemblance to Bowie—helped persuade the future superstar to change his tune. “Brown looked very similar to David with a shock of blonde hair,” noted Hadfield. “I persuaded David to do a cover version of it and he did it onstage and it went down very well.”
Hadfield made numerous attempts to alert Bowie’s camp to the found recording over the years, but after receiving no responses, he has now decided to put the tape up for sale. As Hadfield noted to Rolling Stone, “I decided to cut my losses and put it up for auction. Otherwise, it’s going to die with me in a corner somewhere. The sale will also help me expand my pension.”
The recording of “I Never Heard” is set to be auctioned off via British auction house Omega Auction in September, with experts predicting it to garner a roughly $13,000 sum. As Hadfield notes, “It’s worth what someone wants to buy it for. … I suppose if you’re going to make an anthology or box set of David Bowie this would be ideal since it’s the very first one.” The recording will be sold alongside various other pieces of Hadfield’s Bowie- and Konrads-related memorabilia, including letters, bills, photos, promo sketches, booking forms, and more.
You can listen to a clip of the recording below:
For more information on the auction, head here.
[H/T Rolling Stone]