❚ HERE’S A FAB GLIMPSE OF DAVID BOWIE in a London street, caught on cine film when he was aged 18. It is newly posted at YouTube by 57-year-old Joe Salama from south-east London. Shapersofthe80s asked Joe about his Bowie connection and he replied: “I suppose I have always been a fan of David Bowie’s music certainly since Hunky Dory when as a youngster I drove a minicab for a while with my Hanimex tape player rigged up to some headphones in my Renault 16. I remember delivering some parts to IBM in Birmingham at night and that album kept me going all the way there and back, thrilled to bits with the sound.
“Regarding the 1960s cine clip, it really was a complete surprise to me and needless to say my late father, who had no idea at the time. This exceptional footage was taken by him on a trip up to the West End of London, totally unaware that David Bowie was the young dude who smiles graciously at the camera. Even when I showed him what he had filmed he was none the wiser and couldn’t remember why he focused on this particular chap. He was trying to film my mum whose face crosses fleetingly behind the great man if you look carefully at the shot. Roughly dated to 1968.”
❏ YouTuber momasu comments: “This is spring 1965, and Davie Jones (as he was still called then) is heading into his favourite cafe on Denmark Street, La Gioconda, possibly after recording demos with his new band The Lower Third at Central Sound Studio next door.”
❏ Judging by the numerous photos in Kevin Cann’s meticulous book Any Day Now, two details pin the date of Joe’s film clip down to the early part of 1965: the giant button-down tab-collar shirt Bowie is wearing, and his hair hanging well over his collar, now parted as he moves on from the “helmet” style seen in the 1964 video below. Under the stage name of Davie Jones he had been singing since the previous July with the six-piece R&B band, The Manish Boys, whose hair-length had caused controversy. They record the single I Pity The Fool — produced by Shel Talmy and with a guitar solo by Jimmy Page — which leads to a TV appearance on BBC2’s Gadzooks in March 1965.
17-YEAR-OLD BOWIE ON THE TONIGHT SHOW IN 1964
❏ Nov 12, 1964: Kevin Cann’s book reminds us that when Bowie, then known as Davie Jones, appeared on the BBC’s Tonight show (above) campaigning for “The Society for the prevention of cruelty to long-haired men”, it was a publicity-seeking ploy. Nowhere in the interview does he admit that the hairy men around him in the studio are mostly The Manish Boys, on a rare night off from touring southern England. The previous night they’d played the legendary home of British R&B, the Eel Pie Island club in Twickenham, and the next they were at the Witch Doctor in St Leonards-on-Sea (though without Davie). Incidentally, this is not his TV debut as some claim — that was on Juke Box Jury the previous June.