Ahead of its 14 January 1966 release, a launch party for the Lower Third’s single ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’ was held at the Gaiety Bar in London.
The venue was in the Victoria Tavern at 10a Strathearn Place near Hyde Park in Bayswater, London. The single was released eight days later on Friday 14 January 1966.
The guests included John Lennon’s father Alf, who had recently released a single, ‘That’s My Life (My Love And My Home)’.
The party cost £95, and was bankrolled by businessman Raymond Cook, who in November 1965 had agreed to fund Bowie’s work.
There is little doubt that some of Ray Cook’s money was hard at work here. The Victoria Tavern was a polite buffet affair with a number of music-trade reporters and a few photographers milling about while Ralph and Gaby tried to interest them in talking to, and writing about, Dave. The venue itself was pretty upmarket, with the Gaiety Bar itself designed much like a mid- to late-Victorian theatre and reached via a tight staircase on an upper floor of the pub. The reception also spilt into the downstairs bar too and I’m sure a few guests didn’t even make it much further than that. There was even a rumour knocking about that John Lennon might turn up. He didn’t of course, but his fifty-three-year-old dad did, and that, more than anything else, made my day…
That was the highlight of the Gaiety Bar record launch, for me anyway. It was a pretty laid-back affair all in all, and the press weren’t particularly set on fire by us, or by Dave. It was a shame that Tony Hatch couldn’t make it, as that would have undoubtedly given photographers more saleable photo opportunities – like ‘successful producer with his exciting new band’. As it happens, I don’t think I have ever seen any photos of Dave and Tony Hatch together, even from later on when The Buzz had filled our shoes.
But the record did thankfully get some favourable reviews, and I still have the odd cutting to prove it in my scrapbook. Other than that, not much came from the afternoon, though you couldn’t fault Ralph for trying. He was doing all he could to get his boy noticed. It was just a shame he didn’t feel the same about The Lower Third.
Now I look back, older and thankfully wiser, it’s amazing to think that Dave was still just eighteen when this promotional event was staged. He seemed so much older and more mature in many ways. His nineteenth birthday was two days after this, on 8 January.
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