In the Heat of the Morning


In the Heat of the Morning (BBC performance, 1967).
In the Heat of the Morning.
In the Heat of the Morning (Toy, 2000).

This marks the end of the line for David Bowie and his label Deram: it was the second single Bowie recorded that Deram rejected, despite the fact that, as with “Let Me Sleep Beside You,” Bowie was writing more commercial songs than he had in the past. It didn’t matter: Deram just wanted rid of him and Bowie left the label in April 1968.

So “In the Heat of the Morning” is a fragment of an uncompleted work. It was meant to be the centerpiece of Bowie’s second Deram LP, and Bowie and Tony Visconti do their best to shine it up: another luxurious strings arrangement, some odd instrumentation (guitar doubled with the Sooty Pixie Xylophone, the latter played by Tyrannosaurus Rex’s Steve Peregrin Took, who dubbed it the “Pixiephone”) and a Bowie vocal that’s ditched the Anthony Newley-isms for a sultrier, more commanding tone. Like “Sleep Beside You,” it’s basically a come-on with pretensions, but, hey, those can work sometimes.

First recorded in a BBC session on 18 December 1967, though the lyric was different and worse (“where cunning magpies steal your name“) and the opening riff hadn’t been developed yet. The proposed Deram single version was cut on 12 March 1968 and another BBC version was recorded a day later (as with “Karma Man,” the BBC version of this song might be its definitive recording—there’s more guitar, and Bowie’s vocal and the beat are much stronger, IMO). On Deram Anthology. Covered by The Last Shadow Puppets on their 2008 EP “The Age of The Understatement.”

Top: Shopping on King’s Road, 1968 (Another Nickel In the Machine).

8 Responses to In the Heat of the Morning

  1. diamonddog says:

    I like this one quite saucy for its time and a far cooler vocal. Nice to hear the muscians on it as the lp I first heard it on gave no credits. The lp was the world of david bowie a cash in on ziggy which came as a shock to me as a boy as it contained music very much different to the music the sleeve was cashing in on.

  2. Sorry to disappoint, but Steve Peregrin (no final e) Took did not play a Sooty Pixie Phone. Nor did he ‘invent’ the name. I have a Sootie Pixie Phone (as an object of strange interest) and they are impossible to tune and isless to someone who was a multi-telented musicians! Tookie played the brand name ‘Pixiphone’ (no middle e) and indeed owned several. More info here:-
    or Here:-

  3. A great deal of the melody and chord progression of “In the Heat of the Morning” is “Ziggy Stardust” 1.0, with a little guitar figure ala “Starman” thrown in for good measure.

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