Bowie's first US correspondence comes from 1967
David Bowie‘s letter in response to his first piece of fan mail from America has resurfaced, dating back to 1967.
The letter is part of a new book compiled by Shaun Usher, called Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence, Volume 2 – also featuring letters from the likes of John Lennon and Winston Churchill.
Now, unveiled by Entertainment Weekly, the letter shows a clearly humbled Bowie responding to 14-year-old fan Sandra Dodd from New Mexico – before he’d even visited America. This around the time of his debut self-titled album, before he’d even experienced his first real success with breakthrough single ‘Space Oddity’.
The typewritten letter comes complete with self-aware typos and an unknowing look to the future and the phenomenal fame that awaits him in the US.
Read the letter in full below:
When I called in this, my manager’s office, a few moments ago I was handed my very first American fan letter – and it was from you. I was so pleased that I had to sit down and type an immediate reply, even though Ken is shouting at me to get on with a script he badly needs. That can wiat (wi-at? That’s a new English word which means wait).
I’ve been waiting for some reaction to the album from American listeners. There were reviews in Billboard and Cash Box, but they were by professional critics and they rarely reflect the opinions of the public. The critics were very flattering however. They even liked the single “Love You Till Tuesday”. I’ve got a copy of the American album and they’ve printed the picture a little yellow. I’m really not that blond. I think the picture on the back is more ‘me’. Hope you like those enclosed.
In answer to your questions, my real name is David Jones and I don’t have to tell you why I changed it. “Nobody’s going to make a monkey out of you” said my manager. My birthday is January 8th and I guess I’m 5’10”. There is a Fan Club here in England, but if things go well in the States then we’ll have one there I suppose. It’s a little early to even think about it.
I hope one day to get to America. My manager tells me lots about it as he has been there many times with other acts he manages. I was watching an old film on TV the other night called “No Down Payment” a great film, but rather depressing if it is a true reflection of The American Way Of Life. However, shortly after that they showed a documentary about Robert Frost the American poet, filmed mainly at his home in Vermont, and that evened the score. I am sure that that is nearer the real America. I made my first movie last week. Just a fifteen minutes short, but it gave me some good experience for a full length deal I have starting in January.
Thankyou for being so kind as to write to me and do please write again and let me know some more about yourself.
(Signed, ‘David Bowie’)
Meanwhile, a list of David Bowie’s favourite vinyl records has also been unveiled – featuring the likes of Velvet Underground, Syd Barrett and more.
Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ collaborator Donny McCaslin is also set to release an album in his honour – after speaking out about the impact of working with him in his final days, and his lasting legacy.
A new ‘best of’ compilation ‘Bowie Legacy’ is set for release on 11 November. It has been reported that David Bowie planned ‘a long list of musical releases’ before he died, with the upcoming release of the ‘Lazarus’ musical soundtrack to feature his final ever recordings and unheard songs.