Listen to a pre-fame David Bowie perform with Jimmy Page

Even the biggest stars had to start their lives somewhere. Whether it’s Elton John providing piano for The Hollies or Jimmy Page’s career as a session musician, there’s something so fascinating about hearing about the lives of our favorite musicians before fame. It helps us to realize that people like David Bowie weren’t born to be successful – in fact, like the rest of us, they fought for a chance to make it big. This rare David Bowie recording featuring the bluesy number “I Pity The Fool” and a psychedelic rock ‘n’ roller called “Take My Trip” is a brilliant example of one of the world’s most celebrated musicians honing his craft.

When Bowie joined The Manish Boys – named after the Muddy Waters song of the same name – he was still known as Davy Jones and sported blonde hair – a look that caused much dismay among more conservative leanings and prompted the young singer to perform in the live TV to promote a semi-satirical organization called “The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men” along with his bandmates.

After stints with The Konrads and the blues-oriented King Bees, Bowie joined The Manish Boys in 1964, who had managed to secure a record deal with Parlophone, the Beatles’ label. With the Fab Four making a big impression across the Atlantic, there was real reason for optimism. Unfortunately for Bowie, the sextet had no intention of inviting a seventh member into the group.

Lesley Corn, the band’s manager, approached The Manish Boys and told them he was working with a new singer who would be a perfect fit. They declined the offer. However, when they saw Bowie in suede and knee-high boots, they decided to give him another chance. 12 months later, The Manish Boys were making a name for themselves as one of the scene’s most prominent R&B groups. After a six-day tour featuring the likes of Gerry and the Pacemakers, Gene Pitney, The Kinks, Marianne Faithful and Bobby Shafto, they recorded “I Pity The Fool” with the help of a session guitarist named Jimmy Page, who delivers a roaring solo towards the end of the track. A Bowie-written B-side follows, “Take My Trip,” a rhythmically complex, saxophone-laden number that showcases Bowie’s growing talent as a songwriter.

Make sure you check out both recordings below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *