David Bowie BOWPROMO:Hunky Dory Sampler LP 1971
01 Oh You Pretty Things.flac
02 Eight Line Poem.flac
04 It Ain’t Easy.flac
05 Queen Bitch.flac
07 Bombers – Andy Warhol Intro.flac
08 Mother Don’t Be Frightened.flac
09 Andy Warhol.flac
10 Never Knew.flac
11 All Cut Up On You.flac
12 Lavender Hill.flac
redblob.co.uk is acting as exclusive agent to the record’s owner, who has been in possession of the LP since it was given to him personally by David in 1971.
This is an exceptional opportunity to own what is considered to be the rarest Bowie vinyl collectable: and perhaps the most prestigious. Only 500 copies were ever made, and none were ever sold to the general public.
Also known as ‘The Hunky Dory Sampler’, the BOWPROMO LP was made to secure David’s first major record deal by showcasing his talent to the record industry, and contains the original version of ‘Bombers’ that has never been released.
Below is the provenance to this sale as provided by the record’s owner. A printed and signed copy of this provenance will be included with the LP.
“In 1969, I was a founder member of the The New Seekers. In 1970 I decided to leave the group and was introduced to David Bowie’s manager Tony Defries. Tony brought David to see my group Milkwood perform at a club in Piccadilly, London. Tony Defries then agreed to represent me through Gem Records based in Regent Street, London.
Gem was a small independent record label owned by Lawrence Myers and looking to secure major record deals for David Bowie and Paul Gadd among others. At that time, David had already a big hit with ‘Space Oddity’, but was still searching to find the right creative team and circumstances that would inevitably trigger him to his deserved success. Meanwhile, Paul Gadd spent many a day in one of Gem’s offices perfecting his new stage persona Gary Glitter.
When Milkwood was not performing or recording in the studio, I would spend my days at Gem. David would be often found in one of the offices, and often with his wife Angie who so obviously had dedicated herself to David and his career. David would often be seen giving interviews with journalists, or working with other unknown young artists to create the required items of clothing, guitars, hair, makeup and artwork designs that would eventually contribute to the legendary asexual incarnation of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
I remember the day that David handed me this album I am auctioning. I went into the back room of Gem and played the album for the first time. The audio setup was the best Gem’s money could buy, and over the studio speakers came the first track ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’. David’s voice was loud but intimate as he delivered the musical backdrop leading to the first chorus. What I remember above everything else was the power that dropped in at the first chorus: it nudged the base of my spine with a depth of sound that was amazing! Ken Scott had done a fantastic job!
The album that David gave to me is incredibly rare. It contains ‘rough mixes’ of original tracks that would later be included on the ‘Hunky Dory’ and ‘Ziggy Stardust’ albums: except for one exclusive track called ‘Bombers’ that would be first released to the public twenty years later. For those who are unsure as to what a ‘rough mix’ is, I will explain in simple terms.
When David recorded these tracks at Trident Studios in London’s Soho, all the various music instruments, sounds and voices were recorded on separate recording ‘tracks’ on a single 2-inch wide recording tape. In simple terms, and as an example, this is like having 24 tape recorders running side by side playing together. David and producer Ken Scott would have then adjusted the sound and volume of each track (sound) separately through a ‘mixer’ so that when played together, the desired overall sound and balance between the individual tracks was achieved.
In the case of this album, the ‘rough mixes’ were in some cases the final mixes that appeared on either the ‘Hunky Dory’ or ‘Ziggy Stardust’ albums, whereas other tracks were subsequently ‘re-mixed’ before release. The most unique and rare track on this album is ‘Bombers’. This was never included on either the ‘Hunky Dory’ or ‘Ziggy Stardust’ albums, and it would be a further twenty years before ‘Bombers’ would be released.
The end of ‘Bombers’ cross-fades into a type of space-age interlude when the bantering between David and producer Ken Scott over the pronunciation of ‘Warhol’ (as in ‘Andy Warhol’) can be heard. The voice of Mick Ronson (guitarist with the Spiders) talking from the studio control room and David’s laughing is also heard. What is interesting is that this space-age interlude appears on the ‘Hunky Dory’ album as a cross-fade from the song ‘Fill Your Heart’ while acting as a bridge into the following song ‘Andy Warhol’.
This version of ‘Bombers’ with the space-age interlude is perhaps the most rare and unreleased David Bowie track ever.
This song version and this album was never a ‘catalogue album’ and has never been released to the public anywhere in the world. Gem Records independently pressed this album expressly for the purpose of highlighting David’s talent to the music industry: so as to secure David’s first major record deal. It was this album that secured David’s future with RCA Records before the release of the ‘Hunky Dory’ and ‘Ziggy Stardust’ albums. The unique Gem logo album label on my copy is also very rare, and is present only on the original ‘Hunky Dory’ and ‘Ziggy Stardust’ album covers.
This is a unique opportunity to own and hear the ‘original’ mixes David and Ken Scott produced, and to hear the differences between these originals and the final records. In fact, this album was crucial to the development of David, and as such represents a major landmark in David’s career, and a chance to hear exactly what the major record labels heard before David was signed to RCA Records, and before the release of ‘Hunky Dory’ and ‘Ziggy Stardust’.
At the same time this album was recorded, David and Mick Ronson were producing other artists including Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Dana Gillespie. This ‘promo’ album, features seven songs by David on side A and five by Dana Gillespie on side B, and over the years has come to be known as the ‘BOWPROMO – white label album’. My copy has an additional and more rare Gem Records label on David Bowie’s side (A) only whereas many had a plain white label with the title ‘Hunky Dorie’ written on it. ‘Hunky Dorie’ would eventually be spelt ‘Hunky Dory’.”
BOWPROMO: History & Track Listing
Only a small number of BOWPROMO albums were pressed (this is not an acetate) for the purpose of ‘showcasing’ David Bowie’s talent to the music industry. With unique rare song mixes and versions only found on this album (see below), BOWPROMO was never released by any record company, and was never manufactured or released to the public. It is believed that only 500 copies were made.
David Bowie’s BOWPROMO album is the most rare album he has ever recorded, so it is easy to understand why this album is a highly desirable and an extremely rare collectors item of real value.
Our client says: “This BOWPROMO album has been with me since 1971 and is in very good condition. The top left hand corner of the white album sleeve has the handwritten words ‘David Bowie & Dana Gillespie rough mix’ (see photos below). I cannot be sure if David wrote this, but remembering how ‘hands-on’ he and Angie were in the Gem offices, it’s a sure bet that it was written by one of them. In those early days, David and Angie would spend a great deal of time at Gem doing interviews and all the promo stuff themselves!”
Side A (David Bowie) has the original blank white label attached with an original green and red Gem Records label of a smaller diameter adhered to the white label. Side B (Dana Gillespie) has the original white label only. This was how the album was distributed by Gem; so as to differentiate between David’s A side and Dana’s B side.
Because the LP came with plain white outer and inner sleeves and had no printed labels, its manufacturing matrix number (BOWPROMO 1A-1/1B-1) is the only way to safely identify it. Most of the Bowie songs on this promo LP would appear four months later on ‘Hunky Dory’. However, as the recording and mixing of that album had not yet been finished, it transpired that the BOWPROMO album contained two songs that would not end up on any official album for the next 20 years (Bowie’s ‘Bombers’ and Gillespie’s ‘Lavender Hill’). Besides, it features several marginally to very different early versions of well-known songs.
The track listing for the BOWPROMO album is as follows.
SIDE A – David Bowie
1. Oh! You Pretty Things
Opens with a version of ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’ that is identical to the ‘Hunky Dory’ version (track 2).
2. Eight Line Poem
The backing track is identical to the ‘Hunky Dory’ version (track 3), but Bowie’s vocals are clearly different. Note the different phrasing and the lack of echo in the line “Mobile spins to its collision”. This version has never been bootlegged and remains exclusive to the BOWPROMO album.
A marginally different mix that fades two seconds later than the official version. Note the acoustic guitar throughout, which has been mixed out from the verses on ‘Hunky Dory’ (track 5). This version has never been bootlegged and remains exclusive to the BOWPROMO album.
4. It Ain’t Easy
This song was possibly already recorded before ‘Changes’ and ‘Life On Mars’, as the latter two are not included on the BOWPROMO album. Of course they would have been very likely candidates to secure Bowie a record deal. ‘It Ain’t Easy’ ended up in 1972 on ‘Ziggy Stardust’, in an identical version (track 5).
5. Queen Bitch
This tribute to The Velvet Underground appeared unaltered on ‘Hunky Dory’ (track 4).
This Bowie classic is identical to the ‘Hunky Dory’ version (track 6).
7. Bombers-Andy Warhol intro
The version of ‘Bombers’ that in 1990 ended up as a bonus track on the Rykodisc edition of ‘Hunky Dory’ is a rather tinny mix, lacking in bass. Besides, at 0’23” (“Seemed a good idea to drop a bomb on the wasteland here”) and 1’12” (“So the Pentagon sent a cable and the Queen a telegram”) into the Ryko mix, there are extra drumbeats that do not sound convincingly intentional. As can be heard in the audio excerpt, these ‘jumps’ are absent on the BOWPROMO album. Also interesting is that ‘Bombers’ develops into an alternate version of the intro to ‘Andy Warhol’, which runs slightly longer, as it includes a strum on the acoustic guitar and a few more laughs of Bowie at the very end. ‘Bombers’ and part of the intro to ‘Andy Warhol’ have appeared on the ‘Changes Three David Robert Jones’ (Grace AZL1-1984) bootleg LP. The ‘Andy Warhol’ intro is also found on ‘Missing Links One Ziggy’ (Icon One), but the sound quality of both recordings is rather poor. This version has never been bootlegged and remains exclusive to the BOWPROMO album.
SIDE B – Dana Gillespie
1. Mother Don’t Be Frightened
The first of five Dana Gillespie tracks on side B. This song, which was produced and arranged by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, appeared in 1974 on her ‘Weren’t Born A Man’ album.
2. Andy Warhol
Originally written by David for Dana Gillespie, musically backed by The Spiders and produced by Bowie/Ronson. This is a quite different, shorter version (2’45” vs. 3’02”), compared to what appeared on ‘Weren’t Born A Man’. The intro is faded in and the mix is more direct and with less used echo than on that album. The outro on the BOWPROMO also is much shorter and less guitar-heavy. This version has recently been released on ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’.
3. Never Knew
Released on Dana Gillespie’s ‘Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle’ and reissued on ‘Andy Warhol’.
4. All Cut Up On You
This is a much shorter version (3’23” vs. 4’12”) than on ‘Weren’t Born A Man’.
5. Lavender Hill
This ballad was not released until the 1994 ‘Andy Warhol’ CD
Some information on this page has been taken from the excellent and comprehensive website, The Illustrated db Discography.
Please do not ask for mp3s of this material as such requests will not be granted.
UPDATE: Further to the above information, it has been suggested that all mixes on the LP are different mixes to those eventually released. Listening closely to both the BOWPROMO versions and the commercial releases, it is possible to hear very slight differences.
This BOWPROMO album has not been played in over 30 years (other than for the purposes of ascertaining its condition for this sale), and has been stored safely in a cool dark environment away from sun and heat.
The album is not warped and plays very well. In its early years, this copy was played infrequently, using a professional record deck and a Stanton D6800 EEE-II diamond needle. A professional studio cassette copy was made, and this was the owner’s preferred means of listening to the BOWPROMO tracks.
The album’s outer white sleeve is clean and in very good condition. There is some discolouration as can be expected from its age and one folded edge seam has split half an inch. The inner sleeve has some discolouration but again is in very good condition for its age.
The album is very clean with pristine labels on both sides. When played, there are a few feint spurious clicks from surface grazes: as you would expect from any album that is 36 years old. Our client adds, “I am a perfectionist, and I am comfortable saying the condition is excellent: especially considering its age.”
Please see below for some photos of the vinyl, labels and sleeves, taken recently using a Canon 350D digital camera.