I think the world is still in a bit of shock regarding the passing of David Bowie. The iconic, innovative, and irreplaceable British musician passed away at the age of 69 after privately battling liver cancer.
With this passing I'm sure we all feel a bit of sadness. Even those who wouldn't necessarily consider themselves big fans of Bowie can still relate to the relevance and influence he had on pop culture and music. You have all no doubt heard a song or two by him in your lifetime. Yes, even when you were trying to beat Guitar Hero on expert or watching a movie. His music and status will live on and I feel privileged to not only have lived at the same time as this man, but to have known his music.
With that said, the influence on music is staggering and this shows by the evolution of pop and rock but also with those who choose to put their own spin on his classic songs. With this post I think it's appropriate to remember and honor David Bowie and recognize some of the best covers of his work. This list is in no particular order and is meant to be a celebration to everything we received from this talented man.
Rest in peace, Mr. Jones, and thank you for everything. Farewell, Starman.
The Horrors - "Suffragette City"
Simply a great cover. The Horrors channel the energy that Bowie brought with the original and gives a fun, modern feel to it. The cover is fun, lively, and it just makes you want to get up and dance.
Mott the Hoople - "All the Young Dudes"
This cover is arguably heard more often than Bowie's version, but that isn't all bad. I personally prefer the original, but this version by Mott the Hoople is worthy to be on this list. It captures the essence of the original while bringing it forward a bit in time.
AFI - "Ziggy Stardust"
AFI is one of those groups that takes influence from so many artists that it's difficult to pinpoint just one. However, there is no denying the obvious influence David Bowie had on lead singer, Davey Havok. There are quite a few versions floating around out there of this "Ziggy Stardust" cover, but not a single one of them is bad. I personally prefer this rehearsal version, but the acoustic version is also very worthy.
The Wallflowers - "Heroes"
The point of a great cover is to make it so you are honoring the original artist, but it can also stand alone and be unique to your group. The Wallflowers did that with this cover of "Heroes." It's just simply beautiful.
The Smashing Pumpkins - "Space Oddity"
The Smashing Pumpkins are a hit or miss for a lot of people, but there is no denying the greatness of this take on "Space Oddity." Billy Corgan and the group bring a certain modern twist to the melodies and it's almost trance like. I prefer the Pumpkins' original work by far, but out of all the Bowie covers out there this is one of the best.
Commander Chris Hadfield - "Space Oddity"
Yes, two covers of "Space Oddity" is a bit excessive, but we can't deny the meaning and relevance of this cover. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield covered Bowie's space-themed classic from the International Space Station in 2013 and it's perfect. You can't deny that.
Nirvana - "The Man Who Sold the World"
Probably one of the most recognizable covers on this list is Nirvana's unplugged performance of "The Man Who Sold the World." The performance aired on MTV Unplugged in 1993 and is considered by many to be one of Kurt Cobain's most genuine performances and easily one of the best performances of the Unplugged set. It's also not a bad version of the song at all.
Nine Inch Nails - "I'm Afraid of Americans"
David Bowie and Trent Reznor have a rather long history. Not only did Bowie tour with Nine Inch Nails during their Self Destruct Tour in 1994, but Reznor remixed the most popular version of "I'm Afraid of Americans" that appeared on Bowie's 1997 album, Earthling. Nine Inch Nails has subsequently performed it live for years and it's safe to say that they did one of the best cover jobs.
You can even watch the Taxi Driver inspired music video featuring Trent Reznor.
The Dresden Dolls - "Life on Mars"
The Shins - "Ashes to Ashes"
The Cure - "Young Americans"
Morrissey - "Drive-In Saturday"
Tegan and Sara - "Rebel Rebel"