Demo of David Bowie singing 'Starman' to go under the hammer

The tape, believed to hold the first recording of the 1972 hit, is going up for auction

David Bowie poses for a portrait dressed as Ziggy Stardust in a hotel room in 1973. Getty Images
David Bowie poses for a portrait dressed as Ziggy Stardust in a hotel room in 1973. Getty Images

After languishing in a dusty loft for half a century, one of David Bowie's earlier recordings will now see the light of day.

A demo taping of the British singer's hit Starman is going up for auction this week, after it was rediscovered by its owner.

The tape, which dates back to 1971, is believed to hold the first recording of Bowie singing the track, which was released in 1972.

The demo was given to then-aspiring musician Kevin Hutchinson by guitarist Mick Ronson, for the teenager to learn the track.

NEW YORK - APRIL 30: Director Duncan Jones and his father, Musician David Bowie attend the premiere of "Moon" during the 8th Annual Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center on April 30, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images)
David Bowie with his son, Duncan Jones, in 2009. Getty Images

"I remember listening to it and thinking, 'This is OK.' I didn't think, 'This is fantastic,'" Hutchinson told the BBC.

"At 16, you're not totally impressed. Nothing impresses you. Now I'm 65 and I played it, I just couldn't believe how good it is."

The tape, which also contains renditions of Moonage Daydream and Hang Onto Yourself, was later packed into a box and stored in Hutchinson's attic, where it lay forgotten for 50 years.

On the demo, Bowie can be heard telling Ronson he had not finished when the guitarist went to end the recording.

The tape will go under the hammer at Omega Auctions in the United Kingdom on Tuesday, and is expected to fetch £10,000 (Dh47,700).

Hutchinson was prompted to dig out the recording after watching a documentary about Bowie, who died of liver cancer in 2016, aged 69.

"We couldn't believe it when we heard it. It's superb," he added to Sky News.

The tape has been described as "a very early and possibly the first ever demo version" of Starman, which featured on the singer's seminal Ziggy Stardust album.

"There's a lot of Bowie mythology around the writing of this timeless classic, and the raw and truly beautiful version heard here helps to provide a fascinating insight into the creative process of a bona fide genius," said Dan Hampson, assistant auction manager at Omega Auctions.

Published: March 11, 2019 11:53 AM


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