12 Unforgettable David Bowie Covers
How Ziggy Stardust will live on across genres, space and time
While the world mourns the loss of one of rock’s greatest icons, it is important to remember and celebrate the music he gave us and the art he pioneered. David Bowie’s genius will continue to live on in not just his own albums, but within tributes paid to him by musicians he inspired across the years. Here are 12 outstanding Bowie covers, performed by artists ranging from chart-toppers and icons in their own right to new talent.
Nirvana, “The Man Who Sold the World”
Possibly one of the most famous covers in music history, Nirvana’s version of this track introduced a whole new audience to Bowie. However the band’s massively successful cover overshadowed Bowie, with many mistakenly believing the song was originally by Kurt Cobain and Co. Bowie once famously stated that he hated “kids that come up afterwards and say, ‘It’s cool you’re doing a Nirvana song.’” His reply, “Fuck you, you little tosser!'”
My Chemical Romance and The Used,Â “Under Pressure”
Two of the best-known emo/pop punk rock of the past decade acts came together in 2005 to cover this track, with vocalists Gerard Way and Bert McCracken getting into a duet, much like Bowie and Queen’s Freddie Mercury did for the original version from 1982’s Hot Space album.
The Wallflowers,Â “Heroes”
Following on the heels of “The Man Who Sold the World,” the second-most covered Bowie song of all time, “Heroes,” is featured in various movie soundtracks including 2012’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This cover by The Wallflowers, fronted by Bob Dylan’s son Jakob, was first released as part of the soundtrack to the 1998 film Godzilla.
Lana Del Rey,Â “Terrance Loves You”
A slow ballad with Del Rey’s signature breathy vocals, “Terrance Loves You” contains an interpolation of Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” While not exactly a cover, it creates a new story out of the lyrics Bowie penned down almost 47 years ago.
Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump,Â “Life on Mars?”
The frontman of American pop rockers Fall Out Boy pays tribute to Bowie’s famous track with an emotional acoustic rendition on BBC Radio 1 from a 2013 session.
If you want to know just how good Liam Gallagher sounds doing Bowie’s verses, listen to Oasis’ homage to Bowie is this little-known but brilliant cover of “Heroes”, recorded in 1997.
Commander Christ Hadfield, “Space Oddity”
The first ever music video filmed in space, this cover by Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield went viral on YouTube in 2013.
Alesso ft. Tove Lo,Â “Heroes (We Could Be)”
Swedish producer Alesso teamed up with Europe’s next best pop singer for this 2014 single. With lyrics partially taken from “Heroes” in the refrain, this track introduced Bowie to the new generation of EDM lovers.
Adrien Reju,Â “Soul Love”
This American indie singer-songwriter adds a fresh, upbeat twist to Bowie’s 1972 The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.
Tori Amos,Â “After All”
Amos’ stripped down adaptation of this track is haunting and beautiful, exposing a certain darkness in the lyrics that managed to escape almost unnoticed in Bowie’s original version.
Warpaint, “Ashes to Ashes”
This psychedelic rock band’s cover of “Ashes to Ashes” revisits Ziggy Stardust’s signature electro-synth sound and vocal layering.
The Ukelele Orchestra of London,Â “Life on Mars?”
This remarkable cover weaved in a Bowie classic amidst a medley that included Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” Stevie Wonders’ “For Once in My Life,” and Andy Williams’ “Born Free.”