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David Bowie decides to end management contract with Ralph Horton

In the latter months of 1966 and the first weeks of 1967, David Bowie was jointly managed by Kenneth Pitt and Ralph Horton. However, it quickly became apparent that the more experienced Pitt was better placed to help Bowie achieve stardom.

On 17 January 1967 Bowie visited Pitt at his apartment at 39 Manchester Street, London, and they discussed how to break Bowie’s contract with Horton.

I wanted to approach some of the important producers who I thought would be interested in knowing about David and would perhaps offer him suitable engagements, but I was nervous about introducing Ralph into these situations. The Essex Music affair had taught me a lesson. What was I to do about all this? After all, it was Ralph who had brought David to me in the first place and I felt I owed him my loyalty. I could not complain to David about him behind his back, but it was David himself who eventually solved the problem. He telephoned me on January 17 and said: “Ken, I’m worried about Ralph. May I come up and talk about it?”

It seemed that unknown to each other we had been sharing the same problems where Ralph was concerned. David looked upon Ralph as a good friend and was grateful for all he had tried to do, but he realised that Ralph was wholly incapable of handling money, and it was this incapacity of Ralph’s that had saddled David with so much debt. I was tempted to bring up the subject of the lost $10,000, but again I suspected that perhaps Mr Jones had already discussed this with David, who now wanted to ensure that such a thing would never happen again. David then said that he thought that Ralph was good enough a friend to realise that he could no longer help him and would agree to release him from the management contract, but he wanted to know if he could count on me for my continued support. With my assurance that he could he then went off to see Ralph.

Kenneth Pitt
The Pitt Report

Two days later Horton visited Pitt and agreed to give up his interest in Bowie’s career. Horton signed the cancellation documents on 20 January, witnessed by his business partner Kenny Bell, and on 23 January Pitt and Horton met to exchange the documents, marking the final end of Bowie’s association with Horton.

Last updated: 14 March 2023
David Bowie and Kenneth Pitt meet Robert Stigwood
Recording: The Laughing Gnome, The Gospel According To Tony Day
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