David Bowie signs to Decca Records

Three days after Decca Records agreed to finance and release David Bowie’s debut album, the singer signed a contract with the label.

Bowie was paid an advance of £100, and Decca agreed to a further £150 to pay for master tapes of ‘Rubber Band’ and ‘The London Boys’, recently-recorded songs which were to be his next single. The label would pay for all production costs for the album.

The contract was co-signed by Bowie’s father John Jones, and Decca’s director WW Townsley. It was post-dated 7 November 1966.

On the 27th I took David to Decca House, situated alongside the River Thames at Albert Embankment, where he met Hugh Mendl and Mike Vernon and discussed plans for the album and the release of ‘Rubber Band’ and ‘The London Boys’ as a single. David obviously made a great impression on Hugh and Mike, and David was pleased to learn that Hugh had been in charge of Anthony Newley’s recordings. Hugh, who had not yet heard ‘Love You Till Tuesday’ was moved to say ‘This is the most exciting thing to happen here since Tony Newley.’

His new recording contract came as a timely morale booster for David, for live engagements were becoming harder to get and audiences smaller. Tastes were also changing. Ego made a note in his diary that their gig at the Marquee on November 13 was ‘pathetic’. In Dek’s opinion ‘The kids didn’t want David’s songs; they didn’t understand them. The songs were too pretty for them and there were no guts in the music. All they wanted was soul.’

Kenneth Pitt
The Pitt Report
Last updated: 14 March 2023
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