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05 February 2010

In The Heat Of The Night (1967)

This title song was composed and produced by Quincy Jones for the 1967 film. Director Norman Jewison recalled songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman singing their bluesy tune for Ray Charles. After they finished, Charles said to Quincy Jones, "They're brother and sister, right?" Jones replied, "No, no, they're married, they're white," To which Charles countered "No, they ain't." Jewison: "It was probably the greatest compliment he could have paid them." Source here. 

The single version (3'20) represents the complete taping. For the film a 2'35 cut-out was used, without the tenor sax-intro. The recording took place at Ray's RPM International studio in Los Angeles, probably in May or June 1967. Quincy Jones won a Grammy Award (for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media) for the album.
Carol Kaye remembers Toots Thielemans (on harmonica, in Mama Caleb's Blues? BS) as one of the session musicians, and herself playing electric bass. In an interview she elaborated, "What a great, great project. I worked with Quincy Jones on the film music, playing fuzz bass on a lot of the cues. That was pretty cool. Not many people knew you put fuzz on a bass; they thought it only worked with a guitar. Playing the title song with Ray Charles was a dream come true. Ray was so easy to work for. I thought he was a real salt-of-the-earth kind of man. We traded a lot of jokes back and forth. He was a good kidder. We cut the track at Ray's studio. I asked to have his vocal way up in my headphones because that's what I wanted to play to. On some records, you want to cook with the band. With Ray Charles, you wanted to cook with his singing. His vocal was the most important thing, so that's what you had to support." Listen to some memories of Quincy here.

The not overly clear liner notes suggest that In The Heat Of The Night was taped with Roland Kirk on flute, and Don Elliot on drums, but I'm only sure about Carol Kaye's base (uncredited) and the terrific organ playing by Billy Preston.

Ray also played solo piano on Mama Caleba's Blues (B7 of the soundtrack). The microphone was placed behind the piano, to create a somewhat 'surreal' echo effect. With Ray Brown (or was it Carol Kaye again? BS) on base, ?Don Elliot? on drums, Billy Preston on organ and an unidentified musician (Toots Thielemans?) on harmonica.

Single (A): ABC/Tangerine 10970, 1967-08. B/w Something's Got To Change.
Soundtrack album: United Artists Records, 1C 064-82 893.

Clip with film's credits:


  1. Sorry but the mono single version of In The Heat Of The Night is NOT the same as the short stereo version.There are some organ and piano pieces that are different on the mono version than the stereo one so they cannot have been taken from a longer take. Of course, the long version is much better and it's too bad that it was recorded with such a bad eq and not available in stereo.

  2. I know the 3:20 "long" mono version from the 45 single.
    And I know the 2:30 "short" stereo version from the soundtrack album.
    You seem to refer to other releases, with other specs. Can you be more specific?