|Song by Bonnie Dobson from the album Bonnie Dobson at Folk City|
|Label||Prestige International INT 13057|
|Bonnie Dobson at Folk City track listing|
The song is a dialogue between the last man and woman left alive following an apocalyptic catastrophe: Dobson has stated that the initial inspiration for "Morning Dew" was the film On the Beach which is focused on the survivors of virtual global annihilation by nuclear holocaust. The actual writing of the song occurred in 1961 while Dobson was staying with a friend in Los Angeles: Dobson would recall how the guests at her friend's apartment were speculating about a nuclear war's aftermath and "after everyone went to bed, I sat up and suddenly I just started writing this song [although] I had never written [a song] in my life". Dobson premiered "Morning Dew" in her set at the inaugural Mariposa Folk Festival that year with the song's first recorded version being on Dobson's At Folk City live album in 1962. Dobson would not record a studio version of the song until 1969, that being for her Bonnie Dobson album.
"Morning Dew" was not published until 1964 when Jac Holzman of Elektra Records contacted Dobson with an offer to sign her as a songwriter as Elektra artist Fred Neil had heard "Morning Dew" and wished to record it. The first studio recording of "Morning Dew" appeared on the 1964 album Tear Down The Walls by Fred Neil and Vince Martin. It was this version which introduced the song to Tim Rose who in 1966 recorded "Morning Dew" for his self-titled debut album after soliciting permission to revise the song with a resultant co-writing credit. Dobson agreed without having any intended revision specified and was subsequently much discomfited to learn that the sole lyrical revision in Rose's version was that the original line "Take me for a walk in the morning dew" became "Walk me out in the morning dew", a change already apparent in Fred Neil's recording of the song. As of the February 1967 release of the Tim Rose single version of "Morning Dew" the standard songwriting credit for the song has been Bonnie Dobson and Tim Rose: Dobson, who in 1998 averred she'd never met Rose (d. 2002), has stated that she's received 75% songwriting royalty as she retains sole writing credit for the song's music.
"Morning Dew" became a signature song of the Grateful Dead whose frontman Jerry Garcia was alerted to the Fred Neil recording by roadie Laird Grant in 1966. The Grateful Dead introduced "Morning Dew" into their repertoire as their opening number at the Human Be-In in January 1967: that same month the group recorded their self-titled debut album featuring "Morning Dew" and released that March. The Grateful Dead's patronage of "Morning Dew" has resulted in the song's being recorded by a number of hard rock acts such as Episode Six, Krokodil (de), Nazareth, Blackfoot, Screaming Trees, Skullflower, Robert Plant, Jeff Beck Group.
In 1968 "Morning Dew" became a Top 20 single in Ireland via a recording by Sugar Shack which reached #17 that February: a UK release of the single was planned but canceled. In the summer of 1968 Lulu charted in the US with her version of "Morning Dew" taken from her 1967 album Lulu Sings 'To Sir With Love: the track was ranked as high as #8 at key Top 40 station 93 KHJ in LA but typically was afforded moderate ranking on lesser market hit parades with an achieved national peak of #52. In Australia "Morning Dew" charted with a #59 peak. In 1969 Lulu's version of "Morning Dew" later served as the B-side of her Spanish language recording of "Boom Bang-a-Bang" with the former being subtitled "Rocío De La Mañana" although it was Lulu's original English language recording of "Morning Dew" and not a translation.
Selected list of recordings
1962 Bonnie Dobson, At Folk City
1963 The Briarwoods "Well Well Well" album
1964 Vince Martin & Fred Neil, Tear Down the Walls
1966 Tim Rose Tim Rose (original album by this name, of two), "Morning Dew" (single), plus later re-recordings
1967 Episode Six "Morning Dew" single
1968 Allman Joys, Duane and Greg. Nova One....Nova Local
- Grateful Dead The Grateful Dead, plus Europe '72 and various retrospective live albums, often played live
- Pozo-Seco Singers (single)
- Lulu (single), Lulu Sings 'To Sir With Love' released as single in 1968
1968 The 31st of February, Dreams (Allman Brothers anthology)
- Jeff Beck, Truth
- Ralph McTell, Eight Frames a Second
- Lee Hazlewood, Love and Other Crimes
- The Nova Local, Nova 1
- Séverine as "Mama Dis-moi Pourquoi"
- I Corvi as "Questo è giusto" (Italian beat group)
- Los Z-66, (single) (Rock band from Mallorca, Spain)
1969 Bonnie Dobson Bonnie Dobson
- The Damnation of Adam Blessing The Damnation of Adam Blessing
- Krokodil de Krokodil
- circa 1969 Hourglass Duane and Gregg Allman
1970 Salena Jones Everybody's Talkin' About
1971 Nazareth Nazareth
1972 Blue Mink Live at the Talk of the Town
1973 Clannad Clannad
1974 Blue Mink Fruity
1978 Martyn Ford "Happy" (single)
1980 Long John Baldry Long John Baldry
1981 Nazareth 'Snaz
1984 Blackfoot Vertical Smiles
1987 Einstürzende Neubauten Fünf Auf der Nach Oben Offenen Richterskala
1990 Devo Smooth Noodle Maps
1992 Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes The Lure of the Tropics
1993 Screaming Trees "Butterfly" (single)
1995 Skullflower Transformer
1997 The Fatal Shore Fatal Shore
2002 Robert Plant Dreamland
2003 Mungo Jerry Adults Only
2004 Audience alive&kickin'&screamin'&shoutin'
2006 Serena Ryder If Your Memory Serves You Well
2010 Gregorian Dark Side of the Chant
2011 Chris Norman "Time Traveller"
- Schneider, Jason (2009). Whispering Pines: the northern roots of American music (1st ed.). Toronto: ECW Press. p. un-numbered. ISBN 0: 1550228749 Check
- Dennis McNally (2002) A Long Strange Trip: the inside history of the Grateful Dead (1st ed.) NYC: Broadway Books p.539 ISBN 07679-1186-5