12 Amazing Covers Of David Bowie Songs For Your Next Family Dance Party
In honor of David Bowie’s birthday on January 8, cue up these 12 incredible Bowie cover songs and introduce kids to a creative genius.
Jack Shepherd · 11 months ago
Heeral Chhibber / CAMP
David Bowie is one of those special artists whose music appeals to people across the generational divide. Part of the timelessness of his music was due to his own ability to reinvent himself as the decades wore on (you can find classic Bowie songs in the style of every decade since the ’60s), and part of it is simply that the man just always seemed like he was from the future somehow.
Whether he was breaking boundaries by challenging norms around gender identity in the ’70s or by taking MTV to task for not playing enough music by Black artists in the ’80s, David Bowie was a visionary and a trailblazer throughout his career, and there’s something about his view of the world, his music, and his style that has always felt ahead of its time. It’s no surprise, then, that he continues to be an inspiration to music fans of different ages and with a wide variety of tastes.
January 8 is David Bowie’s birthday, and to celebrate his life and work, here are 12 incredible interpretations of his music that the whole family can enjoy.
1. Beck, “Sound and vision”
Beck’s incredible cover of “Sound and Vision” with a 157-piece orchestra is a truly dramatic interpretation of the 1977 song. “It was an experiment and an opportunity to try something completely irrational,” says Beck of the cover.
2. Nirvana, “The Man Who Sold the World”
Everyone expected Nirvana to do acoustic versions of their own mega-hits like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” when they took the stage for MTV’s “Unplugged” in 1994. Instead, they performed a bunch of esoteric covers, including a version of “The Man Who Sold the World” that is almost as iconic as the original.
3. Lorde, “Life on Mars”
Lorde’s heartfelt and moving cover of “Life on Mars” was the centerpiece of a powerful tribute to David Bowie at the Brit Awards after his death in 2016.
4. Passenger, “Space Oddity”
Bringing a folk-rock flair and his unique vocal delivery to this much-covered Bowie song, British recording artist Passenger’s interpretation of “Space Oddity” is haunting and poignant.
5. The Last Town Chorus, “Modern Love”
Brooklyn-based alt-country outfit The Last Town Chorus make “Modern Love” their own in a lovely, slowed-down version of the classic that was featured on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
6. The Killers, “Fame”
With their bombastic, over-the-top style and powerful, arena-ready vocal performances, it’s no surprise that The Killers see David Bowie as an inspiration. Here’s their version of “Fame.”
7. Warpaint, “Ashes to Ashes”
Replacing the synths with a piano and adding their own percussive flair to the track, psych-rock band Warpaint bring their considerable talents to one of Bowie’s biggest hits.
8. Janelle Monáe, “Heroes”
It’s a rite of passage for any band to do a cover of “Heroes,” which makes it all the more difficult to add anything original to the track, but Janelle Monáe’s soul version of the song is a bold and engaging reinvention.
9. Milky Edwards & The Chamberlings, “Starman”
In 2013, a series of phenomenal soul covers of David Bowie songs appeared on the internet, purporting to be rare recordings by an obscure ‘70s artist named Milky Edwards. Internet sleuths determined that the whole thing was an elaborate hoax, but that doesn’t take away from how good these versions are.
10. M. Ward, “Let’s Dance”
The beloved indie artist who is perhaps best known for collaborating with Zooey Deschanel in the band “She and Him” brings his talent to a beautifully understated, quietly sad “Let’s Dance.”
11. Karen O. and Willie Nelson, “Under Pressure”
What better testament to the generation-straddling, genre-defying magic of David Bowie’s music than the unlikely collaboration of Brooklyn art-rocker Karen O. (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and country legend Willie Nelson?
12. Chris Hadfield, “Space Oddity”
And finally, this performance of “Space Oddity” by Commander Chris Hadfield aboard the international space station was given the ultimate compliment by the legend himself: David Bowie called it “possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created.”