BBC recording

David Bowie recorded ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’ once for BBC Radio. It was for an edition of The Dave Lee Travis Show, recorded on 20 October 1969 and broadcast six days later.

The session took place at the Aeolian Hall on New Bond Street, London. Bowie was accompanied by guitarists Mick Wayne and Tim Renwick, bassist John Lodge, and drummer John Cambridge.

They recorded three songs: ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’, ‘Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed’, and ‘Janine’.

‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’ was not broadcast at the time, but was released on Bowie At The Beeb and as a bonus track on the 2009 special edition of David Bowie (1969).

The release

Kenneth Pitt included ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’ on the 1970 Decca compilation The World Of David Bowie, which was its first official release.

A previously-unreleased stereo mix was included on the Deluxe Edition of David Bowie (1967) in 2010, and in the 2019 box set Conversation Piece.

The box set also included a demo recording of ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’, recorded with guitarist John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson in early 1969. It was first released on 2019’s Clareville Grove Demos.

On 1 January 2001 a news item appeared on Bowie’s website, which indicated a March release for the Toy album.

So what can we expect on the db scene in 2001? – Well there’s the next album, recorded at Sear Sound in NYC, already in the can awaiting release and scheduled for March.

The tentatively titled ‘Toy’ is a 12 track album consisting mainly of remakes and remodels of some of David’s earlier Sixties tracks along with totally unreleased demo’s that never saw the light of day. Plus he has written some brand new songs in the style of that period. David also says he has some great ‘extra’s’ for this album and it’s singles.

Eight of the known tracks so far include: Uncle Floyd, Afraid, The London Boys, I Dig Everything, Can’t Help Thinking About Me, Conversation Piece, Let Me Sleep Beside You, Silly Boy Blue, as well as Untitled and Gail’s favourite ‘Secret 1’. Karma Man had been mentioned along the way but dropped in favour of A.N. Other. David suggests that rather than a ‘Pin Ups II’, it’s more of an ‘Up Date I’… and he’s even doing his own artwork for the album sleeve, which he describes as ‘very odd’.

Commenting on the finished album David says “…it really has surpassed my expectations already. The songs are so alive and full of colour, they jump out of the speakers. It’s really hard to believe that they were written so long ago.” He describes the music as “dreamy, a little weird at times, it rocks, it’s said, it’s got passion, it… it… it’s really good.”

BowieNet, 1 January 2001

Toy was subsequently shelved, but the 2000 re-recording of ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’ was included on the triple-CD version of the 2014 compilation Nothing Has Changed.

Toy was eventually released in November 2021. The recording features Lisa Germano on violin.

Her violin on ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’, ‘I Dig Everything’ and ‘You’ve Got A Habit’ is the secret sauce that pushes those songs slightly off the rails, and her recorder in ‘Silly Boy Blue’ brings something child-like that slightly offsets the sophisticated string arrangement. These bittersweet elements of fragile, quirky, melancholic or occasionally angsty Americana were not something we’d anticipated, but we fully embraced.
Mark Plati, March 2021
Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001) book
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