Jan 14, 1966: David Jones Becomes David Bowie

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New name! The teenaged David Bowie

New name! The teenaged David Bowie

As a teenager named David Robert Jones was breaking into showbiz, he recognized that his timing was just a bit off. Seems there was a fellow Brit by the name of Davy Jones who had already achieved a breakthrough on his path to stardom. So he ch- ch- changed his name and January 14 marks the anniversary of the first single release in 1966 by the artist who switched from David Jones to David Bowie.

Bowie’s first releases used variations on his birth name. His 1964 debut, “Liza Jane,” was credited to Davie Jones and the King Bees. In ’65, he went by Davy Jones and the Lower Third.

Problem was the “other” Davy Jones was already developing a significant resume. He had starred for years in the role of the Artful Dodger in the London and Broadway productions of the hit musical Oliver! for which he had received a Tony nomination. (His performance featured the show stopper “Consider Yourself.”) By 1965, the shorter Davy Jones had also been selected as a member of The Monkees.

Jones (the taller) changed his name to David Bowie and On This Day issued a song in the U.K. credited to David Bowie and the Lower Third called “Can’t Help Thinking About Me.” (The single was released in the U.S. that May.) The voice from the teenager is unmistakable.

The song failed to chart in either country and Bowie stopped performing it live soon thereafter. (He would re-add it to his concert repertoire decades later.) Several additional singles followed over the next few years but Bowie had to wait until 1969 to enjoy his first U.K. chart hit with the 1969 single “Space Oddity.” But that’s a story for another day.

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