Tin Machine album coverWritten by: David Bowie
Recorded: August – October 1988; February – April 1989
Producers: Tin Machine, Tim Palmer
Engineer: Justin Shirley-Smith

Released: 22 May 1989

Available on:
Tin Machine
Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby


David Bowie: vocals, guitar
Reeves Gabrels, Kevin Armstrong: guitar
Tony Sales: bass guitar, vocals
Hunt Sales: drums, vocals

‘Heaven’s In Here’ is the opening song on the Tin Machine album.

It was one of the first Tin Machine songs worked on, prior to the band’s existence. Bowie and Gabrels wrote and demoed a number of songs in Montreux, at a time when the project was considered to be a solo Bowie one.

In addition to ‘Heaven’s In Here’, they also worked on early versions of ‘Bus Stop’, ‘Baby Can Dance’, ‘Pretty Thing’, and ‘Baby Universal’.

David and I had about five song ideas sketched out initially – ‘Heaven’s In Here’ and ‘Pretty Thing’ and a version of ‘Under The God’ that was called ‘Night Train’ at one point.
Reeves Gabrels
David Bowie: Ultimate Record Collection (Uncut)

‘Heaven’s In Here’ was released as a promotional single in 1989. It contained two versions – the full six-minute album cut, and a four-minute edit.

Plans for a full single release were shelved, although a promo video was made for the song, directed by Julien Temple.

In the studio

The first full Tin Machine recording sessions took place at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland, between August and October 1988. The core quartet was augmented from the second week onwards by rhythm guitarist Kevin Armstrong.

Rehearsed and recorded in one day, ‘Heaven’s In Here’ was the first song completed after Armstrong’s arrival.

On 13 August 1991, Tin Machine recorded a session for Mark Goodier’s Evening Session, broadcast live on BBC Radio 1.

The session took place at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in London. They recorded five songs: ‘A Big Hurt’, ‘Baby Universal’, ‘Stateside’, ‘If There Is Something’, and ‘Heaven’s In Here’.

Live performances

Tin Machine’s first live show was an impromptu set in the Bahamas. One evening during the album sessions they approached a band playing a small bar in Nassau and asked if they could borrow their equipment. As they took to the stage, the audience of stunned tourists could barely believe they were witnessing an unannounced David Bowie live show.

We weren’t announced, we just walked up on stage and you could hear all these voices whispering, That’s David Bowie! No, it can’t be David Bowie, he’s got a beard!
Reeves Gabrels
Q magazine, June 1989

‘Heaven’s In Here’ was among the songs performed in Nassau. It remained in the band’s set throughout both Tin Machine’s 1989 tour and the It’s My Life Tour in 1991-2.

It was obvious that songs like ‘Heaven’s In Here’ were suited to the live environment. That was our ‘Dazed And Confused’ – it could be 20 minutes long on any given night.
Reeves Gabrels
David Bowie: Ultimate Record Collection (Uncut)

A live recording from the New York Academy in November 1991 was released in July 1992 on Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby.

Bowie occasionally sang snippets of ‘Volare’, the Italian song he had recorded for the Absolute Beginners soundtrack, during performances of ‘Heaven’s In Here’.

We had started doing ‘I Feel Free’ with Tin Machine. We would open up ‘Heaven’s In Here’ to do ‘April In Paris’ into ‘I’m A King Bee’ into ‘I Feel Free’ and back into ‘Heaven’s In Here’ – but it wasn’t always those songs.
Reeves Gabrels
David Bowie: Ultimate Record Collection (Uncut)

‘Heaven’s In Here’ was the last song performed at Tin Machine’s final concert, on 17 February 1992 at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan.

The opening guitar riff of the song sometimes featured in the intro of ‘The Jean Genie’ during Bowie’s Earthling Tour in 1997.

Previous album: Never Let Me Down
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