Cover me, bro!
January 14, 2016 5:19 PM   Subscribe

I have been pretty sad about David Bowie's recent death return to his home planet. But then I listened to this gorgeous cover of Life on Mars by Sarah Blasko, and I felt better. So, gentle mefites, can you give me your favourite David Bowie covers?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts to Media & Arts (63 answers total) 97 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Seu Jorge covers (used as the soundtrack for The Life Aquatic) have always been a favourite of mine.
posted by olinerd at 5:26 PM on January 14, 2016 [22 favorites]


I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Chris Hadfield's Space Oddity.
posted by a halcyon day at 5:29 PM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


I've always liked Blondie's version of "Heroes."
posted by majorsteel at 5:33 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dinosaur Jr. does a cover of Quicksand.
posted by vrakatar at 5:36 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


M Ward did a pretty, plaintive cover of Let's Dance that I may or may not have listened to on repeat for three days straight a few years ago.
posted by mochapickle at 5:45 PM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Polecats' version of John, I'm Only Dancing
posted by stachemaster at 5:46 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


What Olinerd said but especially Seu Jorge's Changes.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:54 PM on January 14, 2016


Nirvana covering The Man Who Sold The World
posted by modernnomad at 5:58 PM on January 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


The Rural Alberta Advantage's cover of Starman off of this free compilation is one of the best covers I've heard. Some of the other covers on there are totally solid as well, but RAA knock it out of the park.

Also ++ for the Seu Jorge covers, though some people prefer the field recordings on the Life Aquatic soundtrack and others tend to prefer the studio sessions which were released separately.
posted by sleeping bear at 6:00 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Langley Schools Music Project's cover of Space Oddity. It's a recording of about 60 elementary school kids singing and playing ukeleles in a school gymnasium, and it is awesome.

Bowie's comment, upon hearing it: "The backing arrangement is astounding. Coupled with the earnest if lugubrious vocal performance you have a piece of art that I couldn't have conceived of, even with half of Colombia's finest export products in me."

More on the Langley Schools Music Project here.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:06 PM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


Eater: Queen Bitch.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:07 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Pitchfork created a playlist of their 21 favorite Bowie covers on Apple Music.
posted by kathryn at 6:12 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Man Who Sold the World (For a Fistful of Dollars) by Metafilter's own MajorDundee is a gem.
posted by usonian at 6:17 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Boys Keep Swinging, the Associates.
posted by Frowner at 6:23 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Jessica Lange, as Elsa Mars, sang "Life on Mars" in S4E01 of American Horror Story:
Shortened version as it appeared in the episode
Full version
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:00 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Taking it from the other point of view: Bowie covering Bruce Springsteen's "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City".
posted by mephron at 7:30 PM on January 14, 2016


The Divine Comedy has done a couple of chamber-pop covers of Bowie. This amateur recording of a live version of Ashes to Ashes may be a little rough for you, but Life on Mars is spot-on, so click the second link first.
posted by maudlin at 7:32 PM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Black Box Recorder does a beautiful Rock 'n' Roll Suicide. Some of the covers mentioned so far are on an Uncut Magazine comp.
posted by mrcrow at 7:33 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


THE ABSOLUTE BEST DAVID BOWIE COVER EVER has not been mentioned here.

Ashes to Ashes by Tears for Fears.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:22 PM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I like the Sea and Cake's version of "Sound and Vision."

The Vivian Girls did "John, I'm Only Dancing."

Earlier versions of "Wild Is the Wind" were done by Nina Simone and Johnny Mathis.

There was a mid-'90s indie tribute album called Crash Course for the Ravers, with some good tracks (I like Mercury Rev's "Sun Machine," i.e. the last half of "Memory of a Free Festival").

And there was a whole glorious Metafilter thread featuring covers of "Heroes."
posted by lisa g at 8:26 PM on January 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Chameleons - John, I'm Only Dancing
Love Like Blood - Heroes
Bauhaus - Ziggy Stardust
Corpus Deliciti - Suffragette City.
Midge Ure - The Man Who Sold The World (Fear Cult did an okay version too, which really helped illuminate how good the underlying songs was, but alas, can't find it).

(In fact, there is an entire cover CD of goth Bowie covers, but I'm not going to attest to its quality at all.)

Terrible covers include Nosferatu's Starman, but you might like it.

Things that are not quite covers are NIN's Scary Monsters. I was sure I had heard Trent doing it solo, but couldn't find a copy, but it's more NIN than Bowie here.

And, while this doesn't answer your question, the Covers Project is a great resource for trying to recall who did what.
posted by Mezentian at 8:33 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


And, of course now I am in a YouTube spiral, but I can't go away without mentioning Nico's version of Heroes, but it helps if you like Nico.
posted by Mezentian at 8:37 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Philip Glass' Symphony #4 influenced by Heroes; also Aphex Twin's remix of the same.
posted by vverse23 at 8:48 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Space Lady covers Space Oddity. This 2013 Youtube isn't as good as she was in the 80's when she played every day on Haight St in SF.
posted by anadem at 8:51 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


There's a '90s recording from the Space Lady's Haight St days of Major Tom here on Dazed, and more tracks on Bandcamp
posted by anadem at 8:59 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jazz trio The Bad Plus do a mean Life On Mars.
posted by hoodrich at 9:14 PM on January 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Warpaint covered Ashes to Ashes.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:30 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Abby Travis' cover of Life on Mars, featuring Frank Agnew of The Adolescents on piano. They're just screwing around and having fun, but my god that woman's voice.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:17 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


“Starman” by Nena — Yes “99 Luftballons” Nena — is a personal favorite, second only to the Milky Edwards and The Chamberlings version.

Cover Me has the whole Ziggy album covered in addition to a wealth of other Bowie covers.

Honorable Mention to the rock-and-roll, super-garage-band, public access television cover of “Queen Bitch” by The Pilgrims, bad green screen, ridiculous "disguises," terrible mix and all.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:28 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Philip Glass' Symphony #4 influenced by Heroes
...and his #1 influenced by Low. Actually, although interesting these don't really send me, except for the version of Sons of the Silent Age, which is amazing.
posted by Rash at 10:34 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also taking it from the other direction, but his cover of "I'm Waiting for the Man" will make you feel pretty damn good.
posted by invitapriore at 10:38 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like the Happy Rhodes cover of Ashes to Ashes.
posted by moira at 10:39 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Futureheads did a spiky, excellent cover of Let's Dance. (Apologies for lack of link; I am writing this on my phone).
posted by brushtailedphascogale at 10:44 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]




My fave is Janelle Monae's cover of Heroes. Listen to it all the time.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:37 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


The gourds did a great cover in a sort of Bluegrass style of "Ziggy Stardust"
posted by boilermonster at 11:45 PM on January 14, 2016


Dea Li for Hollywood Mon Amour - Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (album version) / live
Apocalyptica with Till Lindemann from Rammstein - Helden
posted by sukeban at 11:51 PM on January 14, 2016


I'll so enjoy listening these whenever I can do that, gorgeous thread. Puddles' Pity Party covered When You Rock and Roll With Me and it's swell. I feel like I'm the last person who's heard of Puddles so apologies if it's old hat. I like Beck's Sound and Vision extravaganza very much, but i think that one's made the rounds a few times already too. His Diamond Dogs from Moulin Rouge was nice. Bauhaus' Ziggy is exquisite. None of them buried treasures, but you never know what's escaped someone's interest.
posted by Lou Stuells at 12:12 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yann Tiersen and Neil Hannon's version of Life on Mars? is nice and chamber poppy.
posted by speicus at 12:14 AM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Magnetic Fields' cover of Heroes is beautifully understated.
posted by speicus at 12:17 AM on January 15, 2016


I forgot that the Hollywood Mon Amour album had two Bowie songs: This is Not America feat. Juliette Lewis
posted by sukeban at 12:22 AM on January 15, 2016


The Magnetic Fields' cover of Heroes yt is beautifully understated.

that whole album Crash Course For the Ravers is a nice surprise. Good, solid artists doing good, solid things with Bowie originals.

I vastly prefer Quasi's Sound + Vision to Beck's overcooked take.
posted by philip-random at 12:26 AM on January 15, 2016


Def Leppard performing Ziggy Stardust on acoustic guitars in a pub. Joe Elliot's vocals are heartfelt; you can tell how much love he has for the song and its composer.

related MeFi discussion
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 12:42 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dana Gillespie - Andy Warhol
posted by misteraitch at 12:49 AM on January 15, 2016


Adam Buxton doing a version of The Laughing Gnome in the style of late period Scott Walker. It's not beautiful but it is simply brilliant. See also.
posted by Erberus at 2:05 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I already cry every time I listen to this cover of heroes by Peter Gabriel, I don't think I can listen to it for a while now unless we want an Alice in Wonderland situation.
posted by greenish at 3:26 AM on January 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Nenhum de Nos - O Astronauta de Marmore --- studio and live versions.
posted by jaruwaan at 4:17 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Los Hermanos McKenzie's cover of Sound and Vision
posted by catchingsignals at 4:26 AM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


hurdy gurdy girl, The Langley Schools Music Project makes me cry even in the best of circumstances. The earnest voices, the great choice of songs... I ran into them performing in the lobby of a hotel in Hawaii awhile and (thanks to jet lag) was completely overwhelmed with FEELING.

This is a video of Changes from the Lazarus play--it's an interesting spin. I really enjoyed Cristin's performance throughout.
posted by armacy at 6:09 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Iggy Pop sang the original of "China Girl," which he co-wrote with Bowie in Berlin. In Bowie's version, it's too easy to think of it as a vapid tribute to an appalling stereotype of Asian women. Iggy doesn't sing sweet love songs, so you pay more attention to the content, if you can understand it through his growling.
posted by JawnBigboote at 6:41 AM on January 15, 2016


Dar Williams did a cover of Starman.
posted by esker at 7:30 AM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Robyn Hitchcock and Grant Lee Phillips, Sound + Vision (plus some silliness).
posted by terooot at 7:49 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Though it's a homage rather than a cover, Jonathan Coulton's 'Space Doggity'.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 8:35 AM on January 15, 2016


The Last Town Chorus does a gorgeously sparse version of Modern Love.
posted by platinum at 9:18 AM on January 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


There was an entire FPP chock full of nothing but covers of Heroes, many of which are splendid.
posted by Aznable at 1:36 PM on January 15, 2016




Of Montreal's cover of Moonage Daydream (stick it up your big monkey butt!)
posted by gamera at 7:57 PM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]




Not quite a cover but Rick Wakeman playing Life on Mars on BBC Radio 2 as a tribute.
posted by crocomancer at 12:21 PM on January 17, 2016


Rickie Lee Jones's cover of Rebel Rebel is quite lovely.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:12 PM on January 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seu Jorge has been mentioned above, but want to mention his life on mars version as the best of the bunch.
posted by cacofonie at 6:31 AM on January 18, 2016


Something just reminded me of this 1995 cover of The Bewlay Brothers by Replicants (an excellent one-off album of 70s and 80s covers by members of Failure and Tool.)
posted by usonian at 1:16 PM on January 28, 2016


Ziggy Stardust - The Moog Cookbook
posted by Mezentian at 12:23 AM on February 21, 2016


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