Take My Tip single – United KingdomWritten by: David Bowie
Recorded: 15 January 1965
Producer: Shel Talmy

Released: 5 March 1965


David Bowie: vocals, alto saxophone
Jimmy Page, Johnny Flux: guitar
John Watson: bass guitar
Bob Solly: organ
Paul Rodriguez: tenor saxophone, trumpet
Woolf Byrne: baritone saxophone
Mick White: drums

‘Take My Tip’ was the b-side of David Bowie’s second single, ‘I Pity The Fool’. It was released by The Manish Boys in March 1965.

Unlike ‘I Pity The Fool’, the Georgie Fame-inspired ‘Take My Tip’ was an original Bowie composition, his first to be commercially released.

We didn’t play many Davie Jones originals until he came up with what became the b-side of the record, ‘Take My Tip’ – we played that a few times.
Woolf Byrne
David Bowie: Ultimate Record Collection (Uncut)

The song was also the first Bowie song to be covered by another artist. Kenny Miller released a version on the b-side of his single ‘Restless’, issued by the Stateside label on 16 April 1965 – one month before The Manish Boys’. Both versions were produced by Shel Talmy.

In the studio

The Manish Boys recorded ‘I Pity The Fool’ and ‘Take My Tip’ on 15 January 1965 at IBC Studios on Portland Place, London.

They taped two versions of each song. On lead guitar was 21-year-old Jimmy Page.

We met Shel Talmy in the 2i’s coffee bar on January 15 1965 – by this time we were rehearsing ‘I Pity The Fool’ and ‘Take My Tip’. I think Jimmy Page was probably there, and then on January 15 in the evening we went to IBC studios for two hours, and recorded two songs, twice. That included Jimmy Page and his famous fuzz box, which he was using for the first time ever.

We just went downstairs into a cellar, just above the BBC on Upper Regent Street. A two-hour slot, unheard of nowadays. Shel seemed like a nice guy.

Woolf Byrne
David Bowie: Ultimate Record Collection (Uncut)

During the session Page taught Bowie a riff which was later incorporated into ‘The Supermen’ on 1970’s The Man Who Sold The World.

When I was a baby, I did a rock session with one of the bands, one of the millions of bands that I had in the ’60s – it was the Manish Boys, that’s what it was – and the session guitar player doing the solo was this young kid who’d just come out of art school and was already a top session man, Jimmy Page. And he just got a fuzz box and he used that for the solo. He was wildly excited about it and he was quite generous that day and he said, ‘Look, I’ve got this riff but I’m not using it for anything, so why don’t you learn it and see if you can do anything with it?’ So I had his riff, and I’ve used it ever since! [laughs]. It’s never let me down.
David Bowie
ChangesNowBowie, BBC Radio 1, 8 January 1997

Page was just 21 years old at the time of the Manish Boys session, but was already making a name for himself as a talented and versatile session guitarist.

He was this kid who just left art school and was the youngest session man in the world, fifteen or sixteen. He was a fresh faced kid who had a real joy for playing. The Led Zeppelin thing … it’s hard to put the two together. He taught me a wonderful riff which became ‘The Supermen’.
David Bowie
Seconds magazine, August/September 1995

The release

‘I Pity The Fool’ was released as Parlophone R 5250 on 5 March 1965.

The Manish Boys’ only single, as with Bowie’s other early releases, was not a commercial success, despite a promotional appearance on the BBC’s Gadzooks! It’s All Happening.

It was a release, which was the important thing, which in theory should have got us a lot more work but all it really got us was one TV programme that wasn’t recorded. That was Gadzooks! It was quite an amusing show. There’s a series of photographs – of all of us having our hair done, looking really neat. Barrie Langford was the producer – he and Leslie Conn thought up a story about Davie’s hair being too long for TV.
Woolf Byrne
David Bowie: Ultimate Record Collection (Uncut)

‘Take My Tip’ was later reissued on the compilation The Manish Boys/Davy Jones And The Lower Third. The alternative version from the 15 January session was included on the 1991 compilation Early On (1964-1966).

Previous song: ‘I Pity The Fool’
Next song: ‘You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving’
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