David Bowie – Pre-Ziggy 1972 Telegram From RCA to Tony DeFries at GEM
A February 1972 Royal Mail Telegram sent by RCA Records New York to David Bowie’s manager, Tony Defries, imploring DeFries to send the label new photographs of Bowie.
The telegram, dated February 7, 1972 and addressed to Defries at the Gem Group (prior to the formation of MainMan), came at a critical juncture in Bowie’s career. In early January, Bowie was in the studio for what he expected to be the last sessions for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. According to Wikipedia, After receiving a complaint from RCA executive Dennis Katz that the album did not contain a single, Bowie wrote “Starman”…and on 4 February [three days before this telegram was sent], the band recorded “Starman”, “Suffragette City” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide”, bringing the sessions to a close.
On the day RCA sent this telegram, Bowie cancelled a show at Southampton’s Guild Hall, so he could record three songs for the important BBC late-night rock program The Old Grey Whistle Test. According to David Bowie: Any Day Now, Gem promotion executive Anya Wilson had been plugging away for an appearance by David on BBC TV for a year, but …[series producer] Mike Appleton was really apprehensive…when David wore the Mr. Fish dress, that threw any TV show out the window. Wilson recalled ‘I was told point blank by another producer ‘We don’t have perverts on our show.'” Wilson refused to back down, however, and Bowie was eventually booked for what turned out to be a very important appearance.
The telegram reads, in all caps with no punctuation, HELP THE NEED FOR BOWIE PHOTOS IS URGENT I HAD EXPECTED TO RECEIVE THEM BY NOW AS OUR PHONE CALL SUGGESTED PLEASE ADVISE- MARTIN RCA RECORDS NEW YORK.
By this time, Bowie was a major priority for RCA in both the UK and US, with the release of “Starman” in the UK coming on April 28, and the Ziggy album to be released in mid-June.
A unique Bowie document from an important point in his career. In very good condition, with creasing and a small area missing to the top left edge. 8 3/16″ x 5 3/4″.
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