The 1965 Demos


That’s Where My Heart Is.
I Want My Baby Back.
Bars of the County Jail.

Shel Talmy, looking to become a player in the primitive UK rock & roll industry, recognized Bowie as a potentially strong, if odd talent (“I honestly didn’t think that what he was writing at the time had a snowball’s chance in hell of making it, but I thought, he’s so original and brash, let’s take a flier,” Talmy said years later). So Talmy booked a studio session for Bowie to demo some new compositions on guitar, straight to monoaural tape. Three demos, which Talmy had stowed away for decades, resurfaced in 1991 on the Early On compilation (much to Bowie’s chagrin, allegedly):

  • “That’s Where My Heart Is”: a wisp of a song—its lyric a thin string of cliches, its melody unmemorable—whose demo is fascinating as it offers a preview of future Bowie voices. The moody baritone, the stage-Cockney snarl, the elegant wastrel croon—all appear in turns, briefly caught in the light and fading away again.
  • “I Want My Baby Back”: a watery mix of various Brian Wilson songs, like “Your Summer Dream” and most notably “Don’t Worry Baby” .  Chorus possibly inspired by the ridiculous Jimmy Cross novelty song.
  • “Bars of the County Jail”: a Western in the off-kilter vein of the contemporary Doctor Who serial “The Gunfighters.” It rambles along pleasantly until it’s clear Bowie hasn’t any idea where to go with it. Inspirational verse: “I was to marry a very rich girl/I loved her as only I can.

Recorded ca. May-July 1965, unreleased (Early On).

2 Responses to The 1965 Demos

  1. billter says:

    This is one of my favorite Bowie photos. Who looks that cool reading the newspaper?

  2. leonoutside says:

    Bars of The County Jail is a great track. Precursor to Running Gun Blues? Chris – I like the next line, with its play on tense, and passive & first person. “But the father was shot and his gold was stoled, and now I’m the Devil’s man”.

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