A demo recording of David Bowie’s hit song Starman will be auctioned on Tuesday.
The recording was made in 1971 by Bowie and his guitarist Mick Ronson.
It was given by Ronson to Kevin Hutchinson, one of Ronson’s friends who hoped to get into the music business.
Hutchinson, who was a teenager at the time, said he had thought the recording was “OK” but that, having listened to it almost 50 years later, he had realised it was “phenomenal”.
He said: “Now I’m 65 and I played it, I just couldn’t believe how good it is.
“But at the time, I thought: It’s not bad.
“At 16 you’re not totally impressed, nothing impresses you.”
The song was released as a single in 1972 and was part of the Ziggy Stardust concept album which made Bowie famous.
He had packed it up in a box and it remained in his loft until recently.
“But I found it and got my old tape recorder out of the loft as well and threaded the tape into the machine.
“We couldn’t believe it when we heard it. It’s superb.”
Near the end of the recording, Bowie can be heard telling Ronson that he had not finished.
Mr Hutchinson said: “You can tell that Mick has never heard the song before because at the end he is just about to turn the tape recorder off and Bowie says: ‘Hang on. There’s a little bit more.’
“That’s the la, la, la bit.”
Ronson died in 1993 and Bowie died in 2016.
Dan Hampson, assistant auction manager at Omega Auctions, which is selling the demo in the Merseyside town of Newton-le-Willows, said: “In consultation with a Bowie expert, we can say with confidence that this tape contains a very early and possibly the first ever demo version of Starman.
“There’s a lot of Bowie mythology around the writing of this timeless classic, and the raw and truly beautiful version heard here helps to provide a fascinating insight into the creative process of a bona fide genius.”
The demo also contains recordings of Moonage Daydream and Hang Onto Yourself and is expected to sell for around £10,000.