David Bowie's Influence Touched A Wide Range Of Artists

January 13, 2016

David Bowie released a great deal of music in many different styles in his lifetime on this planet.  from his folky beginnings to Glam Rock, Soul and Funk, experimental ambient sounds and electronic and industrial.  When he set his sights in a certain direction he went all the way and then some. His musical explorations inspired many.  Bands like U2, Stone Temple Pilots, Radiohead, to name just a few, definitely felt Bowie's adventurous spirit move them.  You could also see it in artists like Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Janelle Monae.  All twisting the boundaries of "Sound And Vision" into something new and strange.

Over the past three days since Bowie's premature departure, I'v seen and heard some amazing covers of his songs from artists all over the world.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Van Halen whipped this one out at the Pasadena Hilton in 1976:



Marilyn Manson recently said that Bowie "Changed my life forever".  

Nirvana's Unplugged performance of "The Man Who Sold The World" is still played on Rock radio to this day.

Here's Paul Westerberg from The Replacements doing a scrappy "John, I'm Only Dancing"

I love this version of "Suffragette City" from Alice In Chains.  It's got a real nasty feel.

Instead of keeping it folky, Smashing Pumpkins bash out this version of "Space Oddity"

But seriously, who can top this version by Commander Chris Hadfield, recorded on the International Space Station?  

Beck took "Sound And Vision" all the way backed by over 160 musicians, including the Dap-Kings, a string orchestra, a gamelan ensemble, members of the USC marching band, a Peruvian charango group, choirs, guitarists, a musical saw player, a harpist, and a Theramin player. Beck's dad David Campbell was the conductor.

It was hard holding back the tears listening to this beguiling version of "Life On Mars" played on the organ at St. Albans Cathedral in England. Bowie opened his set on the 2002 Area 2 Tour with just long time producer Tony Visconti accompanying him on piano.  If that's all he had done that evening I would have been completely satisfied.  

I'll end with the sublimely sweet sounds of Brazilian artist Seu Jorge who covered many Bowie songs for the soundtrack to The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.  Jorge's very chill versions are all sung in Portugese with only a softly strummed guitar.  Bowie said of these versions, ""Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese, I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with.”

Found this one today. From a church in Utrecht, Netherlands.


Thumbnail photo by Brandon Carson

Photo by qthomasbower