Watch: David Bowie’s first TV appearance at age 17 was a delightful prank


In November 1964, 17-year-old David Bowie (then Jones) appeared on BBC’s “Tonight” to talk about his new Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men, a PR stunt cooked up by his dad. Bowie was already a veteran rocker, having played with The Konrads,Tthe King Bees, and The Manish Boys. From Wendy Leigh’s Bowie: The Biography:


He might have been part of the Manish Boys, but inside, David had always seen himself as a star who stood on his own. So he was heartened when his father came up with a masterstroke…. John Jones swung into action and, applying his well-honed PR skills, along with David’s input, concocted a cause designed to thrust David into the limelight….


Consequently, in November 1964, at John Jones’s behest, the ever-obliging Leslie Thomas [a music columnist and former Barnardo’s boy who’d previously written about the King Bees, also at John Jones’s behest] published an article in the Evening News titled “For Those Beyond the Fringe,” announcing the formation of a new society, the International League for the Preservation of Animal Filament, whose founder and president was none other than David Jones.


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