David Bowie’s first single, ‘Liza Jane’, was released in the United Kingdom on 5 June 1964.
It was credited to Davie Jones with the King Bees, and was released on Decca Records’ Vocalion Pop label, with the catalogue number V.9221. Its b-side was ‘Louie, Louie Go Home’.
‘Liza Jane’ received positive reviews in the UK music weeklies New Musical Express, Record Mirror, and Record Retailer, and was played on the pirate station Radio Luxembourg.
The day after its release, ‘Liza Jane’ was featured on BBC television’s Juke Box Jury, where it was deemed a ‘miss’ by all but one of the studio judges. Bowie was present in the studio, and was briefly shown reacting to the verdict. This was his debut appearance on television as a performer.
The song was not a commercial success, and failed to chart. Following Bowie’s ascent to global superstardom, the single became highly sought after among record collectors.
When David and I parted company I went off to live and work in Majorca for a few years. One day I was on the phone to my mother and she said, ‘What shall I do with those records I have in the garage?’, which were a few hundred copies of ‘Liza Jane’. So I replied, ‘Throw them out,’ and she did.
The Complete David Bowie, Nicholas Pegg
By August 1964 Bowie had left the King Bees and moved on to the Manish Boys, who performed ‘Liza Jane’ for a time during their live sets.
In 2014 ‘Liza Jane’ was included as the final song on the three-CD edition of Bowie’s compilation Nothing Has Changed.
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