David Bowie had informed Kenneth Pitt on 31 March 1970 that he no longer wanted Pitt to manage him. On 24 April Bowie wrote a letter terminating their arrangement.
Pitt received the letter on 27 April.
All the plans for David’s imminent success had been made, but on April 27 they collapsed like a house of cards. One of the letters that came in the morning mail was from David. It was written in quasi-legal jargon – ‘I have been advised that you have not performed your part of our Agreement by using your past endeavours to further my career thereunder…’ What he meant to say was best endeavours, the word used in the contract. In effect, the letter said he no longer considered me to be his Personal Manager and that he required my confirmation, within seven days, that I would no longer act as such.
The Pitt Report
Pitt asked for a final meeting with Bowie, which took place on 7 May 1970. Also present was Bowie’s new manager Tony Defries. That date marked the final end of Pitt’s management of Bowie.
I had no further wish to be David’s manager, but I still considered him to be a friend and I did not want to see him jump from his imagined frying-pan into an actual fire. I wanted to be absolutely sure that he knew what he was doing and that no undue pressure was being put on him. If I could talk to him I would suggest that far from being an impediment to his career our contract was his protection from the ambitions of others. We could waive the contract for, say, six months during which time he could put himself to the task of managing himself and I would not intervene unless asked to. At the end of that time he should be standing firmly on his own two feet and the contract could be torn up. An alternative suggestion I hoped to put to him was that he should go his own way, but that I should continue to administer the contracts and other paperwork that was certain to confront him, leaving him free to pursue his artistic interests. I should always be there if he needed my help. It would not matter how many times he telephoned me or came to see me in quest of advice or assistance. If, on the other hand, he was determined to stand by his letter and was confident that he was taking the right steps, then he could go unconditionally and with my blessing.
But it didn’t work out like that. The only response I got to my letter was a telephone call from a firm of solicitors known as Godfrey Davis and Batt asking if they could make an appointment for Mr David Bowie and Mr Anthony Defries, who was representing him, to come and see me. They came at 5pm on Thursday, May 7.
The Pitt Report
Also on this day...
- 1992: David Bowie marries Iman
- 1973: Travel: Nakhodka to Moscow
- 1966: Live: David Bowie and the Buzz, Marquee Club, London
- 1965: Live: Davie Jones and the Manish Boys, Bletchley
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.