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For the standard tune often called "Liza Jane" of which this is one of many recordings, see Li'l Liza Jane


"Liza Jane" was the first recording to be released as a single by David Bowie, but under the name Davie Jones and the King Bees. This event took place in 1964 when Bowie was 17 years old. The B-side of the single was the Paul Revere and the Raiders song "Louie, Louie Go Home". Both songs on the single were recorded in a seven-hour session at Decca Studios in Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead.

Bowie came in touch with Leslie Conn, who ran Doris Day's music publishing company and was a talent scout for the Dick James Organisation. Conn booked The King Bees for a wedding anniversary party, but with loud RnB on the setlist, Conn stopped the gig after only 10 minutes. Conn still became The King Bees' manager and promoter for some months in 1964, and they recorded and released "Liza Jane" as a single. The single sold very poorly.

The song was an arrangement of the old standard Li'l Liza Jane, but Conn was credited as the songwriter, and the usual story is that this was done to get more royalties from the single. Conn recalled in 1997 how the King Bees had come up with a six bar blues, which everyone used. Conn came up with some ideas of his own for the song, they improvised and the song came together.

After Conn and Bowie parted in 1964, Conn moved to Majorcamarker for a few years, and was one day on the phone with his mother who wanted to get rid of a few hundred copies of "Lize Jane" that were stored in her garage. They agreed to throw them away. Today the single is worth around £1500 in mint condition.

Track listing

  1. "Liza Jane" (Conn) - 2:32
  2. "Louie, Louie Go Home" (Revere/Lindsay) – 2:14


Production credits





Live versions

  • One day after the 40th anniversary of its release, Bowie played the first verse and chorus of "Liza Jane" live at PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdelmarker, USA, 6 June 2004.


Other releases

  • The single was re-released by Decca in the UK in November 1978.
  • On acetate a version with a slightly longer fade-out has been released.
  • It also appeared on the following compilations:
    • Another Face (1981)
    • Historia de la Musica Rock (Spain 1981)
    • Love You Till Tuesday (1984)
    • Early On (1991)


References

  • David Buckley (1999), Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story, p. 29



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