Rare David Bowie demo tape up for auction
LONDON — If you thought David Bowie’s music was off-the-wall, wait until you hear the early recordings that didn’t make it onto his first album.
A reel-to-reel tape containing four tracks recorded at Decca Studio 2 in West Hampstead, London, around 1967, is going under the hammer, according to a listing from Omega Auction. The tracks were slated for use on Bowie’s first album, but eventually didn’t make the cut.
The winning bidder will receive demo versions of “Funny Smile,” “Did You Ever Have A Dream,” “Bunny Thing” and “Pussy Cat,” in the latest in a string of rare David Bowie recordings sold by Omega Auctions.
“We consider this tape to be amongst the rarest that we have offered for sale,” auctioneer Paul Fairweather told CNN via email.
The style is likely to come as a surprise to those more familiar with Bowie’s later work, with no sign of the glam-rock persona that would emerge further into his career.
One song, “Bunny Thing,” talks about a bunny border guard looking through suitcases to make sure no other bunnies are smuggling drugs or carrot juice.
“The content will certainly divide Bowie fans but it is undeniably a fascinating insight into where he was at musically during that period,” said Fairweather.
“Love it or hate it, all of his early work was valuable experience that he would draw upon when creating the later masterpieces that made him one of the greatest pop stars of all time.”
Omega Auctions estimate that the tape, which has never been sold before, could fetch £8,000 ($10,445) at auction.
“We are expecting a high level of interest from collectors,” said Fairweather.
The sale will take place on May 21 at Omega Auctions in Newton-Le-Willows, England, the same auction house which previously sold an unheard demo tape featuring what is believed to be the first recording of Bowie’s “Starman.”
A UK-based telephone bidder spent £49,000 ($63,977) on the rare recording at an auction in March, according to Omega Auctions.