David Bowie

today22/04/2023 12

Channel Radio & the David Bowie Connection


In 1965 Phil Lancaster answered an advert for a drummer in an up and coming band. Responding to the advert, Phil was invited to meet a singer in a café in Denmark Street, London. Over a coffee he immediately gelled and was invited to join Davie Jones & The Lower Third. Davie Jones already had two singles under his belt (always a good sign) with different bands. He certainly looked the part too, and within weeks of Phil joining the band, Jones became Bowie and the rest is now music history – though admittedly it would take six or seven years for world to catch up with this amazing talent (who by then had made a number of dramatic changes).

Channel Radio already boasts an important early link with Bowie of course – as Bob Solly played with the Brixton-born main man (also still Jones back then) in the band prior to The Lower Third – The Manish Boys.

And so – united for the first time – two ex-Bowie band members now have their own shows on Channel Radio. Both bands hailed from Kent – so it is more than apt that this fast-growing, ambitious Kent radio station should bring them together. In this way – Phil’s show links into Bob’s – playing the previous hour to the Bob Solly Show every Saturday afternoon.

Channel Radio is proud to be associated with both men – and is honoured to share in their history and long-term music industry knowledge. Although the main link here is Bowie – and Channel Radio – both Bob and Phil have a wealth of memories and combined history that makes fascinating shows memorable. They may occasionally slip in an early Jones/Bowie classic – but there is much more too. So, over to Phil to give you a flavour of what to expect on The Phil Lancaster Show…

“As you will see, I like a very wide range of music and reflect this in many of my choices for the show. Anything with a good melody is my preference, though it still has to ‘hit the spot’. As a drummer I do also love rhythm and like to hear a strong beat going on, but only if it’s that kind of song.

My personal ‘chart toppers’ would include classical pieces, particularly from the romantic era – as well as pop, rock and country. I like most genres in fact.

Joining David Bowie broadened my musical aspirations. It was during that time, particularly watching David at work, that I thought I would also have a go at song writing (if he could do it then I should also try! Ha-ha). I composed a little tune on the piano once and David said to me, “I might use that in one of my songs.” He didn’t to my knowledge, but it was very encouraging and made me feel it was worth me continuing to write. He of course was accomplished even at that young age; I of course am still trying.

At the same time I was writing surreal stuff (after reading John Lennon’s writings like A Spaniard In The Works) and showed these to David  – on a bus in Birmingham as I recall. After the type of mucking about with words he and I did during the many hours travelling in the back of the ambulance we used to tour in, I knew he was someone I could show these efforts to. So my time with David and The Lower Third was very creative and a lot of fun.

After the ‘Third’ I joined The In Crowd. That band had already had some success, but they did not play any original material. A good bunch of musicians though, including Steve Howe – later of Yes, and singer Keith West.

I don’t play drums now but I do play when I visit my Daughter in Canada, as I often get asked to ‘Jam’ with other musicians there. I continue to write songs and put them on the Internet site called ‘Reverbnation’ . I’m very excited about my own show on Channel Radio and look forward to hearing from you sometime.”

( Phil is on the right in photo )

Phil’s new book At the Birth of Bowie was published January 2019 get it here 


You can also purchase copies of Channel Radio Kevin Cann’s book     Any Day Now: David Bowie The London Years (1947-1974)

Channel Radio

Written by: Paul Andrews