Early David Bowie Bandmate Recalls Persuading Him to Become Singer
David Hadfield, who discovered David Bowie’s earliest-ever recording, recalled how he talked the future icon into becoming a singer. The pair were bandmates in the Konrads in the early ‘60s. Back then, Bowie was still known as David Jones (and then David Jay) and regarded himself only as a saxophonist, playing his local youth-club circuit.
“He kept saying, ‘I’m not a singer; I’m a saxophone player,” drummer Hadfield told Rolling Stone in a new interview. He added that he was certain that Bowie had the talent required to be a frontman, and took an opportunity to push the moment when British rock ’n’ roll star Joe Brown had a hit with “A Picture of You.” Hadfield added: “Brown looked very similar to David, with a shock of blond hair. I persuaded David to do a cover version of it and he did it onstage. … It went down very well.”
Bowie later wrote the song “I Never Dreamed,” along with two others, for a 1963 Decca Records audition – which the Konrads failed. But Hadfield recently found the demo recording, and it’s to be sold at auction later this year. He said he tried to make contact with Bowie before his death, and later attempted to discuss the track with Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, but received no replies.
“I decided to cut my losses and just put it up for auction,” he said. “Otherwise, it’s going to die with me in a corner somewhere. The sale will also help me expand my pension. … I suppose if you’re going to make an anthology or box set of David Bowie, this would be ideal since it’s the very first one.”
Meanwhile, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor commented on the passing of Bowie, with whom he worked in the ‘90s. “It felt like, ‘Man, we weren’t done. There’s more to go. I needed you in the world,” he told Rolling Stone in a separate interview. “It was like a family member almost. There are these people that you feel you can rely on out there – not for support necessarily, but it’s good to know they’re experiencing life as we’re in semi-uncertain times and even when we aren’t. I think about that a lot.”