>> Tuesday, January 12, 2016
He wasn't just good as a singer-songwriter. He was so good as an interpreter of songs, as a channel for other artists' work, and a wildly eclectic connoisseur of music on top of that. Pin Ups (1973) was an entire album of covers, but a good number of Bowie albums included one or more covers. Bruce Springsteen, Nina Simone, The Kinks, The Who, George Harrison, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Velvet Underground, The Stones, Iggy Pop, Morrissey, and so on, et cetera. A musical omnivore.
This is David Bowie doing Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, on Reality (2003). The weird thing to me--is this me getting old?--is that this seems like a "recent" record to me even though it's thirteen years old this year, getting braces and already dropping hints about what kind of car it wants in a couple of years when it gets its permit.
The Modern Lovers' version has a sly, slow funk groove and is slathered in Velvety Undergroundity weirdness (aptly--John Cale produced and played on it). Bowie pumps 50cc of adrenaline right into the song's heart and adds that crazy sax solo and mad guitar (the sax is his, I don't know if the guitar is, too, or (more likely) Gerry Leonard). Owning it, though I'm not picking favorites; for me, personally, it's a tie (let me just say I adore Jonathan Richman and have seen him live at least three times, if not more). Though I am picking favorites insofar as it may be my favorite of all of Bowie's assorted covers, as amazing as his "Wild Is The Wind" is.