South Yorkshire drummer's memories of working with David Bowie

David Bowie
David Bowie

A South Yorkshire drummer who worked with music legend David Bowie at the start of the star's career has spoken of his pride in having working alongside the icon.

Mike Whitehead, who was drummer in The Manish Boys, the band Bowie was involved with in the 1960s before the height of his solo fame in the early 70s, has spoken following the death of the singer at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle against cancer.

Bowie lived in Maidstone during the early 1960s when he was part of the rhythm and blues band alongside Mr Whitehead, who lives in Wath.

He lived in a flat in the town with six other band members, who were all from the area.

He said: "We knew when we saw him he had star quality, what impressed us is that he was never normal in terms of sound, and he was determined to make a go of it and he wanted to get on and make it big.

"He was a very friendly, normal, guy - much like anybody on the street, it's amazing really. I don't think he ever put on any airs and graces, put it that way."

After forming in 1964 the band toured the country and he said: "We went everywhere, we played up north, in London, Folkestone, Deal and in Maidstone and even got on TV which was great."

The Manish Boys were battling to make it big and were booked to appear on BBC2 show Gadzooks! It's All Happening Now, when producers said they could only appear should young Davy get a haircut.

"There was an outcry from the fans," Mr Whitehead recalls, "so the producer relented and we appeared on the show, live, playing our record Take My Tip."

He added: "I'm very fortunate and will never forget the experience. I'm really thankful for knowing Bowie, and knowing him in his early days," he said.