New Bowie Book Lifts The Lid On The Lower Third

New light shed on embryonic Bowie in drummer Phil Lancaster’s overdue tome.


IT’S PROBABLY BOWIE’S least examined phase, and the most pregnant with possibilities. When drummer Phil Lancaster (pictured above, right) joined Davie Jones & The Lower Third in 1965, the group’s young singer already a well-connected semi-celebrity, having already appeared in the notorious 1964 BBC Tonight show segment on The Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Long-Haired Men.

Mod man! Meet protean Bowie.

Mod man! Meet protean Bowie.

What he wasn’t, as yet, was settled on a musical direction, with full-blooded R&B and cheesy music hall nostrums still vying for prominence in the group’s set. In their short but fertile period of existence, the Lower Third mapped out several of the paths that Bowie would shortly explore.

Lancaster’s worm’s eye view of the mid-’60s beat group scene looks set to be an invaluable addition to the swelling library of Bowieology, detailing early songwriting and recording exploits, drug experimentation, and in a striking scene, the group’s discovery of the singer’s bisexuality.

At The Birth Of Bowie by Phil Lancaster is published on January 10, 2019, by Music Press Books.

Photograph by Nicky Wright