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David Bowie decides to end management contract with Kenneth Pitt

Kenneth Pitt had been David Bowie’s manager since 1966, initially with Ralph Horton. On 31 March 1970 Bowie informed Pitt that he wished to manage himself.

David telephoned and asked if he could see me. He came up at 3 in the afternoon and I was glad that he seemed to be in a good mood. We talked about this and that and then he came to the point of his visit. ‘Ken,’ he said, ‘I want to have a go at managing myself.’

In view of his recent paddies and my being forewarned at the Playhouse, I was not surprised to hear him say this. I thought that perhaps he was not being perfectly frank with me and that somebody was already waiting in the wings to take over my role. If, on the other hand, it really was his genuine desire to manage his own affairs, then I felt that it would not be long before Angela occupied the stage. She was already acting out her Business Studies script.

When I asked him what lay at the root of his displeasure, what was I doing that he objected to, he seemed not to know. He mentioned only that he was worried that he and the group were spending too much time on live engagements and not enough time in the recording studio: a complete reversal of his previous complaint that there was insufficient work. He had always done all the recording he wished and I had been doing all I could to enable him to make another album. Mercury had now agreed that he should do so, Tony Visconti had already worked out a budget, and we were about to reserve all the studio time required. He was worrying unnecessarily, but to put his mind at rest I suggested that for the time being we should accept no more new engagements for the group and only a few solo engagements for himself, which would net him more money. Mercury would again pay him twenty pounds a week during the making of the album and the group would receive their session fees. He liked the plan and agreed to it.

David then brought up the subject of money, the lack of which I felt sure was the real cause of his peevishness. He asked me if I would advance him two hundred pounds. I drew a cheque and gave it to him.

Kenneth Pitt
The Pitt Report

Despite Pitt’s hope to continue working with Bowie, their days were numbered. On 24 April Bowie wrote to him terminating their management contract.

Pitt met Bowie and Tony Defries, his new manager, on 7 May 1970, which marked the end of the old management.

Last updated: 29 March 2023
Live: David Bowie and Hype, Star Hotel, Croydon
Recording: Memory Of A Free Festival
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