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26 November 2023

David Bowie Handwritten Lyric Sheet Up For Auction

David Bowie final-Ziggy-Stardust-concert-Hammersmith-Odeon-3-July-1973
© The David Bowie Archive®
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A handwritten sheet of David Bowie lyrics will be auctioned next week and is expected to fetch up to £100,000.

The documents contain Bowie’s corrections, drafts and notes for the Ziggy Stardust tracks Rock’n’Roll Suicide and Suffragette City. It is due to be displayed at the Omega Auctions showcase sale on 28 November.

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The letter of provenance reads, “The hand-written notes were given to the original owner personally by David Bowle at Trident Studio, with a few other pages of original lyrics, some of which didn’t survive.

“They were needed so that the music publisher and management could prepare the lyric sheet, printed on the album’s inner record bag. At the same time, for the person collecting, David alerted them to two songs he hadn’t written that he had just decided would also feature on the album (It Ain’t Easy and Round and Round – the names of which he quickly added at the foot of the page on the Suffragette City side), writing next to them: ‘pub (publishing) you know these songs’.

“This was to help alert the publisher to enable publishing clearance for inclusion on the LP. Shortly after this the running order was amended again and Round and Round replaced. (Round and Round was eventually used in April 1973 as a B-side for the UK issue of Drive In-Saturday.)

“These lyrics were purchased by the present owner in the early 1980’s and loaned to the V&A in 2013. It remained with the exhibition for five years as it toured the World between 2013 and 2018 and was displayed in London (the only time Bowie saw the exhibition), Toronto, São Paulo, Berlin, Chicago, Paris, Melbourne, Groningen, Bologna, Tokyo, Barcelona and New York.”

Auction manager Dan Muscatelli-Hampson said: “These are two real cult favourites in the wonderful Bowie oeuvre and ‘Suffragette City’ has been described as one of his very best.

“It’s an incredible artefact to have and to hold and it is sure to excite the many millions of Bowie fans around the world – just as the Starman lyrics did. We are excited to see what it might achieve on the day.”

Other Bowie items in the auction include original recordings of Shadowman and The Man Who Sold The World, along with signed albums and rare singles.

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