Two days after he arrived in Malta, on 26 July 1969 David Bowie gave a first performance at the Malta International Song Festival.
This was the opening night of the festival. Bowie performed ‘When I Live My Dream’. He wore a blue suit that he had previously worn in the film Love You Till Tuesday.
There were two nights of performances. This first one was International Night, in which the 17 competitors each performed their own songs, backed by an orchestra conducted by music producer Norrie Paramor.
Such festivals were not in the tradition of British singers and we attached little importance to them. They were usually dominated by big-voiced ladies who seemed to spend their professional lives on the festival circuit. To win first prize at one would mean a lot to them back home and ensure their inclusion in a string of future festivals. It was self-perpetuating. But David had not come to compete with others and to win a prize, but for the sun and fun and to perform to the best of his ability the song we considered most suitable for the occasion, namely ‘When I Live My Dream’. He sang well, received a sustained round of applause then walked up to conductor Norrie Paramor and shook his hand, a gesture that won him a hum of approval from the Maltese matrons in the audience. He was voted second to Cristina, the artiste representing Spain.
The Pitt Report
The festival continued until Monday 28 July. Two days later Bowie and his manager travelled to Tuscany, where Bowie took part in the Festival Internazionale del Disco. They flew back to London on 3 August 1969.
Also on this day...
- 1997: Live: Pabellón Príncipe Felipe, Zaragoza
- 1997: Live: Lollipop Festival, Stockholm
- 1983: Live: Madison Square Garden, New York
- 1973: Recording: Pin Ups
- 1971: Mixing: BOWPROMO
- 1964: Live: The Manish Boys, Eel Pie Island Jazz Club, Twickenham
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.