A demo recording of David Bowie’s Starman has been sold at auction for £51,000 after gathering dust in a loft for almost 50 years.
The recording, thought to be the first demo of the classic song, was made in 1971 by Bowie and his guitarist Mick Ronson.
It was given by Ronson to Kevin Hutchinson, a friend who hoped to get into the music business, at a time when Bowie was yet to become a household name.
Hutchinson, who was a teenager at the time, said his initial reaction was that the recording was “okay”.
After going back and listening again almost 50 years later, he said he realised it was “phenomenal”.
“Now I’m 65 and I played it, I just couldn’t believe how good it is,” he said. “But at the time, I thought: it’s not bad.
“At 16 you’re not totally impressed, nothing impresses you.”
Dan Hampson, assistant auction manager at Omega Auctions, said the demo, which was estimated to sell for about £10,000, sold for £51,000, with commission, on Tuesday.
It also contains recordings of Bowie songs Moonage Daydream and Hang Onto Yourself.
Starman was released as a single in 1972 and was part of the Ziggy Stardust concept album which made Bowie famous.
Near the end of the demo, Bowie can be heard telling Ronson that he had not finished.
Mr Hutchinson said: “You can tell that Mick has never heard the song before because at the end he is just about to turn the tape recorder off and Bowie says: ‘Hang on. There’s a little bit more.’
“That’s the ‘la, la, la’ bit.”
Ronson died in 1993 and Bowie died in 2016.
Hampson said he could “say with confidence that this tape contains a very early and possibly the first ever demo version of Starman”.
He added: “There’s a lot of Bowie mythology around the writing of this timeless classic, and the raw and truly beautiful version heard here helps to provide a fascinating insight into the creative process of a bona fide genius.”