First ever Bowie recording is fifty-years-old today

Official press release /

29th August 2013

“So rest your head and read a treasured dream”


Despite the headline’s claim, he wasn’t yet Bowie and the recording wasn’t a lead vocal.

However, evidence points to this day being the first time ever that the teenage David Jones committed his voice to magnetic tape in a professional recording studio.

We’ll hand over to Andy Barding for the full story…


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Today marks arguably the most important anniversary of David Bowie’s career – but there’s a good chance you won’t know why!

Fifty years ago today, on August 29 1963, a 16-year-old David walked through the door of Decca’s West Hampstead studios for an audition. His band, The Kon-rads, quickly recorded just one song live, a new group composition called ‘I Never Dreamed’, then waited for the assembled talent scouts to deliver their verdict.

Decca were quick to say ‘no’. Rolling Stones manager Eric Easton, who had previously shown some interest in representing the semi-pro band, also passed. And can you guess what the bookers of TV talent show ‘Ready Steady Win’ had to say when they got to hear the same demo? That’s right. Another ‘no’.

The band were crushed… yet thrilled to have enjoyed their first recording session. And even though Davie Jones didn’t take the main vocal on the track (that honour went to regular Kon-rads frontman Roger Ferris) he DID contribute backing vocals. Which makes this his very first pop recording, pre-dating the Davie Jones and the King Bees’ “Liza Jane” single by almost ten months.

So what happened to this important piece of pop history? And how do we hear it?

The sad news is Decca’s master recording is long lost, the master tape having presumably been wiped or re-recorded over. But, tantalisingly, a handful of metal acetate discs (a fragile lacquer record intended for temporary use) were cut at the studio and handed out to some of the boys in the band.

Former Kon-rads Roger Ferris (now a successful businessman in Wales) and Alan Dodds (now the Rev Alan Dodds living in Devon!) lost their personal copies over time. If any others have survived to this day they certainly haven’t turned up in collections or on auction sales lists… yet.

But before you go running to the auction sites in search of this true collectors’ gold, a word of caution: the Kon-rads DID go on to record a couple of singles for CBS in 1965, and they DO crop up for sale from time to time. And, interesting though they are, none of these freakbeat 45s feature David’s dulcets. He had already moved onto the King Bees by then.

Some years ago, some hardcore collector hearts skipped a couple of beats when a previously undocumented Konrads single (the hyphen had by then been dropped) turned up on an auction site. ‘I Didn’t Know How Much’, penned by Neville Wills and Tony Edwards, was even on the Decca Canada label (US demo copies exist, too) – prompting conjecture that it might somehow be linked to that very first audition session.

But, no. This song, its b-side ‘I Thought Of You Last Night’ and a handful of other studio recordings which have since appeared on bootleg with the misleading title of ‘Bromley Scout Hut rehearsals’ are all from the post-David line-up. A fact that has since been confirmed by David himself. 

So the hunt for ‘I Never Dreamed’ continues! If you happen to have a copy, needless to say, get in touch!

And in the meantime, as an incentive for all you record-hunting sleuths out there, here are the original lyrics in full – as penned 50 years ago by Alan Dodds, and miraculously recalled by Roger Ferris:


I never dreamed

That I’d fall in love with you

I never dreamed

That your eyes could be so blue


Till I looked your way baby

And saw your tender smile

I wanted you so badly

My heart was captured for a while


I never dreamed

Your caress could hurt so much

I never dreamed

That I would shake to your tender touch


Till you held my hand

Run your fingers through my hair

The other guys all laughed at me

But I didn’t really care


I never dreamed

I never dreamed

I never dreamed


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