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David Bowie’s early Starman demo tape to go up for auction

By | Published on Monday 11 March 2019

David Bowie

A demo recording of David Bowie’s 1972 hit ‘Starman’ is being put up for sale. The recently discovered tape is thought to be the first recording of the song.

The owner of said tape, Kevin Hutchinson, says he was given it by Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson in 1971. Hutchinson was still a teenager and aspiring musician at the time, and it seems that Ronson hoped he would learn the song and subsequently audition for Bowie’s then manager Tony DeFries as a solo performer in his own right.

He tells the Press Association: “I remember listening to it and thinking, ‘this is OK’. I didn’t think, ‘this is fantastic’. I think it’s phenomenal now, obviously. Now I’m 65 and I played it, I just couldn’t believe how good it is. But at the time, I thought, ‘it’s not bad’. At sixteen nothing impresses you”.

Hutchinson says he only remembered he had the tape when his wife recalled him telling her that he’d once worked with Ronson and Bowie.

Although it became the big hit from ‘Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’, ‘Starman’ was not originally intended to be on the album. It was only added after RCA A&R man Dennis Katz insisted it should be included after hearing a demo. It replaced a cover of Chuck Berry’s ‘Around And Around’ on the album’s tracklist.

The demo tape, which also contains recordings of Bowie performing ‘Moonage Daydream’ and ‘Hang Onto Yourself’, is expected to sell for £10,000 at auction tomorrow. Here’s a clip of what you could buy:



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