The World Of David Bowie album cover artworkWritten by: David Bowie
Recorded: 12, 29 March; 10, 18 April 1968; July, October 2000
Producer: Tony Visconti

Released: 6 March 1970

Available on:
Bowie At The Beeb
Conversation Piece
Nothing Has Changed
Toy

Personnel

1968:
David Bowie: vocals
Mick Wayne: guitar
Tony Visconti: bass guitar
Andy White: drums
Unknown: organ, strings

2000:
David Bowie: vocals
Earl Slick, Gerry Leonard, Mark Plati: guitar
Mike Garson: keyboards
Gail Ann Dorsey: bass guitar, vocals
Sterling Campbell: drums
Holly Palmer, Emm Gryner: vocals

David Bowie recorded ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’ in 1968, again in 2000 for the unreleased Toy album, and also on two occasions for BBC radio.

According to his then-manager Ken Pitt, Bowie apparently considered it a throwaway, written at a time when he was frustrated by his lack of chart success.

One evening David was sitting watching television when suddenly he took his eyes from the screen and said to me “I’m going to write some top ten rubbish”. Nothing on television could have prompted this remark so he must quietly have been pondering the problem of his unsold records, the movements on the screen becoming as flickering flames of a coal fire. “I don’t think you could ever knowingly write rubbish of any kind,” I said. He laughed and replied “Wanna bet? You’ve seen nothing yet.” And so he went away and wrote ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’, which was neither rubbish nor top ten material, but another very good song. He then wrote two other songs which he also indexed under ‘rubbish’, namely ‘Karma Man’ and ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’.
Kenneth Pitt
The Pitt Report

The first studio version was recorded at Decca in London on 12 March 1968, with Tony Visconti producing. It was completed with overdubs and changes on 29 March, and 10 and 18 April, which were Bowie’s final sessions for the label.

Bowie and Visconti worked on ‘London Bye Ta-Ta’, intended as the b-side of ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’, during the same sessions.

Decca had already rejected ‘When I Live My Dream’ for single release, and also turned down ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’. This disappointment marked the end of his involvement with the label.

I was already planning promotion for the next single, which we expected to be ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’, and had arranged for David to perform the work on another Top Gear broadcast, when the news came through that the Decca selection panel had found that song and ‘London Bye Ta-Ta’ unsuitable for release. I immediately telephoned Hugh Mendl [Decca’s Artists Manager], whom I found to be sympathetic and now even more embarrassed by the action of his colleagues. He said “I cannot blame you if you wish to leave us.”
Kenneth Pitt
The Pitt Report

‘In The Heat Of The Morning’ remained unreleased until 6 March 1970, when Pitt selected the stereo mix for inclusion on the Decca compilation The World Of David Bowie. It was also released on the triple-CD version of the 2014 compilation Nothing Has Changed.

A new, slower, version of the song was recorded in 2000 for the aborted Toy album, again produced by Tony Visconti.

A 1968 home demo of ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’ was released on the 2019 box set Spying Through A Keyhole, and later that year on Conversation Piece. The latter also included the Decca Mono Mix, a Decca Alternative Version, and the 1968 BBC recording.

BBC recordings

David Bowie recorded ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’ on two occasions for the BBC Radio 1 show Top Gear, both produced by Bernie Andrews.

The first was recorded on 18 December 1967, and broadcast on Christmas Eve. Bowie, accompanied by the Arthur Greenslade Orchestra, performed five songs: ‘Love You Till Tuesday’, ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’, ‘Silly Boy Blue’, ‘When I Live My Dream’, and ‘Little Bombardier’.

The whole session was included on the Deluxe Edition reissue of the David Bowie (1967) album in 2010.

The second BBC recording was made on 13 May 1968, and broadcast on 26 May. This time Bowie was accompanied by the Tony Visconti Orchestra – fourteen musicians including bass guitarist Herbie Flowers, guitarist John McLaughlin, and drummer Barry Morgan.

Again five songs were recorded: ‘London Bye Ta-Ta’, ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’, ‘Karma Man’, ‘When I’m Five’, and ‘Silly Boy Blue’. All except for ‘When I’m Five’ were released on Bowie At The Beeb in September 2000.

For the b-side of [the Last Shadow Puppets’] ‘The Age Of The Understatement’ single we’ve done ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’, which is the first track on Bowie At The Beeb. It’s got a great melody – it’s one of them, where we both had the CD, and we were both like, “The first tune on that!” And we were both like, “Yeah, yeah!” It was very much part of the world we were in when we started writing stuff for The Age Of The Understatement, so when it came to recording B-sides, there were some tunes we definitely wanted to do: ‘The Girls And The Dogs’ by Scott Walker, ‘Wondrous Place’ by Billy Fury, and this.
Alex Turner
Uncut, March 2008