Read This Amazing Letter David Bowie Wrote To His First US Fan
Written by Michael Carr on 12th January, 2016
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Following the loss of the amazingly talented creative alien that was David Bowie – who died yesterday following an 18 month battle with throat cancer – we’re doing our best to remember the man that was. And we’re not alone, with the internet in general flowing with grief and messages of remembrance.
Indeed it was part of this flood of mourning that we plucked this touching letter written by a 20 year old Bowie (under his real name David Jones) in reply to his first piece of fan mail from the US. The letter addressed to then 14 year old fan Sandra Dodd from New Mexico, expressed Bowie’s intense gratitude that she even knows about, let alone cares about his music, having just released self titled debut.
Bowie was so pleased in fact that he “had to sit down and type an immediate reply, even though Ken (his manager) is shouting at me to get on with a script he badly needs.”
“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 letter continues, Bowie never once coming off condescending, writing to the 14 year old girl as if she were an old friend.
He goes on to answer her questions such as what is your birthday? (January 8th) How tall are you? (5’10”) and can I start your US fan club? To which Bowie replied with characteristic humility that “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.” Strange to hear him speaking about “if things go well” as most of us couldn’t imagine a world where he wasn’t a household name.
Shared online by Twitter user Paul Kirby, the letter has gone viral with around two thousand shares on Twitter so far as fans seek to hold the singers memory up in one last celebration of his amazing life and career. And showcasing his love of his fans, gentle nature and wry sense of humour, this letter must be one of the best examples of what a kind hearted and amazing person he was.
Anyway here is the full letter for you to read, although as it’s a bit squinty, we’ve got a full transcript below.
Lovely David Bowie letter to a 14 yr old American fan, 1967. “I hope one day to go to America”. pic.twitter.com/YtbA7K8hu1
— Paul Kirby (@paul1kirby) January 11, 2016
25th., September 1967
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’)