David Bowie filmed a second appearance on the German music TV show 4-3-2-1 Musik Für Junge Leute on 20 September 1968. He had previously appeared on the show on 27 February.
The programme was made by the ZDF network, and was filmed in the port city of Hamburg. Bowie was accompanied on the trip by his manager Kenneth Pitt.
4-3-2-1 Musik Für Junge Leute was produced by Gunther Schneider and directed by Bob Rooyens.
David was to receive DM 800, a little more than £80, and his return air fare. A clause in his contract read, in English, ‘If necessary you are willing to be quite at our disposal as conversation partner for explanatory remarks.’ During our stay I approached Günther Schneider about the possibility of David coming to Germany to do a much more extensive programme and he said that he felt that ZDF would be interested in a half-an-hour colour show. This was encouraging, but I wasn’t very happy about the way in which the Germans were handling colour television, then in its infancy. When David was called for his spot in Musik für Junge Leute I noticed that he could hardly be distinguished from the garish back-cloth and that just about every brightly coloured prop that could be found had been used to dress the set. I said no more to Günther, but began to think how we could produce the show ourselves.
There was another interesting development during our time in Hamburg. I had a visit from Gibson Kemp who, in the mid-sixties, had been a member of one of Brian Epstein’s Liverpool groups called Paddy, Klaus and Gibson, and was now living in Hamburg and working in the music industry there. I asked Gibson if there was a chance of David recording in Germany just one single for a leading company; I wouldn’t be interested in a long-term arrangement as this would inhibit my future negotiations with a UK or American company. He said that he would look into the matter and let me know, then he offered to show me the sights of the city.
That evening, leaving David in the care of Günther, I took a cab to where Gibson was living; a top floor flat that was reached by climbing a wide, ornate spiral staircase. Looking up through the stair-well I could see Gibson’s head leaning over the rail. ‘Keep going,’ he said. ‘Only three more floors.’ It was worth the climb, for I found myself in a flat as bizarre as any I had seen. It seemed that all the walls and all the ceilings were black, the only relief being bits of purple here and there. On one wall of the room in which we sat was a huge mural, a photograph of a male nude. I recognised only the face. It was that of Stuart Sutcliffe, the original Silver Beatle who had died in Hamburg before his friends made the big-time. I was in the flat he had shared with his girl-friend Astrid Kirchherr the photographer who years before had persuaded the Beatles to comb their hair forward for some pictures she was taking. She still lived there, but with Gibson.
Gibson had been designed to go with the decor. He had slipped out of his office two-piece suit and was now dressed in black leather and, thus attired, he took me on a tour of Hamburg’s peculiarities, where I soon found that he was properly dressed and I was not. I enjoyed them all: the old Star-Club, the Reeperbahn, gay bars, sad bars and bars that defied classification!
The Pitt Report
Bowie and Pitt returned to London on 26 September 1968. Pitt’s proposed collaboration with Kemp in Munich was scheduled for 7 and 8 November, but was cancelled by Phonogram/Philips at the last minute.
We were planning to leave London on the 6th, but on the 4th, when neither the proper contract nor any songs had arrived, I tried to contact Gibson Kemp, only to discover that he was on tour with the Bee Gees. I am sure that the Phonogram deal was a non-starter from the beginning for we never again heard from either them or Gibson.
The Pitt Report
Also on this day...
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.