The 10 best covers of David Bowie songs

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Caz Tran shares her favourite David Bowie covers that bring something extra to his iconic tracks.

‘Heroes’ – Janelle Monáe

One of Bowie’s most loved and covered songs. Many of the interpretations of this song remain faithful, but Monáe has taken the focus away from the guitar’s penetrating and ubiquitous whirr and put her own future soul/dance stamp on the track. 

‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’ – Seu Jorge

 Taken from the soundtrack to Wes Anderson’s film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Brazilian star Seu Jorge performs a selection of Bowie classics in Portuguese. Stripped back to just vocals and acoustic guitar, Jorge renders each song with a faraway charm which perfectly fits this at-sea comedy.

‘Starman’ - Milky Edwards & The Chamberlings

Get your ears around this magnificent Motown remake of ‘Starman’ from an album and group that appears to be an internet hoax.  No one seems to know if Milky Edwards and the Chamberlings ever existed, but jokes aside this is a seriously smashing soul cover.

‘After All’ – Tori Amos

In 2001 Tori Amos re-interpreted songs performed by men to give the stories from a female perspective. Her version of ‘After All’ was a B-side on the ‘Strange Little Girls’ single and is as you’d expect, poignant and evocative.

‘Sound And Vision’ – Beck

Here’s a showstopping spectacle in this large scale reworking of ‘Sound And Vision’. For a one-off event, Beck was surrounded by over 160 musicians which included a marching band and an orchestra all conducted by his dad David Campbell. No half measures here, just grandeur.

‘Let’s Dance’ – M.Ward

This once fully fleshed and upbeat 1983 Bowie song is relieved of its anthemic instrumentation and toned down several notches to reveal a tender, intimate and more fragile side to the tune by M. Ward. Listen to it on Soundcloud.

‘Ashes To Ashes’ – Warpaint

Even though it’s pretty recognisable as Bowie’s Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) hit, this version gets a dream pop visitation by LA group Warpaint. The original’s bleak and mournful tension is replaced with childlike vocals and a brightness in its outlook.

‘Soul Love’ – Adrien Reju

New York songwriter Adrien Reju imbues this Ziggy Stardust favourite with a soulful and sunny wanderlust. 

‘The Man Who Sold The World’ – Nirvana

Although this cover is very well known, it has to be on this list. Bowie says he was “simply blown away that Kurt Cobain liked my work” and said the band’s rendition was “straightforward ….and somehow very honest”.

'Space Oddity' - Chris Hadfield

Many covers of this song exist, only one has a legitimately mind blowing video to accompany it. In 2013, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield was living on the International Space Station. During some down time, he delivered his version of 'Space Oddity' in zero gravity. This cover flips the uncertainty, anxiety and solitary feel of the original and substitutes it with good warmth, wonder and such astounding visuals, that it makes the future seem not quite so scary and unknown.



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