Dec 092009

The first post of the month always features covers of every track on a famous album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

The thing most surprising about the music on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is its accessibility. Just imagine someone hearing the concept behind this album for the first time. “So it’s about a transsexual alien who tells the world it only has five years to survive. This news makes the transsexual alien sad, so he writes some songs and forms a hit band. Then he becomes Jesus for awhile, until other aliens come along and rip him into little bits to absorb his essence.” Good God, the person would think, what could music about that possibly sound like? Well, it turns out it sounds like good old-fashioned rock and roll with a sprinkle of glam. No one (including Bowie) really understands the plotline, but everyone can get on board with the incredible music.

Arcade Fire – Five Years

In 2005 Wynn Butler and the Arcade Fire crew performed this with Bowie himself at a iTunes-released Fashion Rocks concert (great video here). This comes from around that time, a Bowie-less concert performance that features all the bombast we’ve come to expect from the Fire. [Buy]

Tim Reynolds – Soul Love

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Longtime Dave Matthews sideman Tim Reynolds may be one of the best acoustic guitar players around today. He’s got dozens of concerts available for free download at, most featuring a wide selection of instrumental covers like this one. [Buy]

L.A. Guns – Moonage Daydream

One of the best opening couplets in rock: “I’m an alligator / I’m a mama-papa coming for you!” The Whites Stripes do a raw version of this live (video), but stay tuned for some more polished Jack White. [Buy]

Nena – Starman

You probably know Nena from her hit “99 Luftballoons,” unless you live in Germany where she’s a legitimate artist with an actual career and everything. Wherever you’re from, her album Cover Me (dumb name, huh) is worth snagging, if only for the phenomenal two-sentence Wikipedia description: “Cover Me is a cover album by German pop star Nena, released in 2007. It contains songs that she likes.” Apparently one song she likes is a German-language version of “Heroes.” [Buy]

The Raconteurs – It Ain’t Easy (Ron Davies)

I used to exclude albums with non-original songs from Full Albums consideration until the irony of excluding artists who did covers from a cover songs blog became too great. Plus, we know Jack White’s a fan of the album (see above), so his shrieking guitar work is surely tribute to original Ziggy player Mick Ronson. [Buy]

Seu Jorge – Lady Stardust

Wes Anderson is a weird director. There’s no other explanation to explain why he scored his The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou with singer/actor Jorge’s Portugese-language versions of Bowie classics. Anderson even put videos of Jorge performing the songs in the movie! Here’s the clip for “Lady Stardust.” [Buy]

Techno Cowboy – Star

One fine day singer-songwriter Brad Stubbs decided to strap in some weird 80s instruments under pseudonym Techno Cowboy and record The Ziggy Stardust Omnichord Album. The world was never the same. [Buy]

Shesus – Hang On To Yourself

Good band name, badass band. [Buy]

derpferdheissthorst – Ziggy Stardust

This one was recorded for one of our earliest Cover Commissions series, narrowly beating “The Safety Dance” and “You Spin Me Around.” If you like what you hear (and you will), these German gents have a few more covers available at their spiffy new website. [Buy]

Golden Delicious – Suffragette City

David Bowie loved Mott the Hoople so much he offered them this song if they agreed not to break up. They declined, so Bowie came back with a second offer: “All the Young Dudes.” They recorded it, had a massive hit…then broke up anyway. [Buy]

Black Box Recorder – Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide

The original plays while “the infinites” tear a washed-up old Ziggy to bits onstage. This cover would be better suited to soundtrack the last dance at prom. Until the unexpected ending. [Buy]

May 292009

Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist produces a special cover for this blog. The song to be covered is usually chosen by blog readers via a poll or suggestions form. Any artists interested in participating in a future installment, please email me at the address on the right.

Old dhh sent this one in a while back for April’s Cover Commissions, but due to my recent absence it’s been sitting unloved in my inbox. Apologies all around, as you shouldn’t have to wait to hear a tune this good! The good news is it’s gonna be a double shot, with Dan Eaton’s “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” on the way soon.

Martin Thielen has been kind enough to provide us with a little intro to his group’s take on Bowie, so I’ll let him tell you about it.

“To begin with, of course any David Bowie song has to be done with respect. This is not Dead Or Alive we’re talking about. When we first started working on Ziggy it was pretty close to the original and we were just letting the minimalist derpferdheissthorst sound make our version sound different. We weren’t too happy with the result though, so we got together in the rehearsal room and tried all kinds of styles with it. What you get to hear is what stuck and what we liked best.
Feel free to check our website regularly (English translation included, yay!). We hope to publish some more of our exploits there fairly soon. Up to then “derpferdheissthorst meet Ziggy Stardust” is world exclusive to Cover Me. Remember you heard it here first! Enjoy!”

Now onto the mp3! Check back here soon for lots more Cover Commissions excitement.

This mp3 may be freely shared with the artist’s blessing. Post it on your blog, send it to your friends, burn it for your office mates. When you do share this however, please include a link to this site. Cover Commissions is a monthly occurrence here, and the more traffic this project draws the more exciting we can make future installments.

Apr 022009

Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist produces a special cover for this blog. The song to be covered is usually chosen by blog readers via a poll or suggestions form. Any artists interested in participating in a future installment, please email me at the address on the right.

Just yesterday I posted the results of our second commission (domo arigato John!) and since April has sprung, it’s time to bring on the next artist! After two solo outings, we’ve got a full band here this time: derpferdheissthorst (say it three times fast). A German cover band, their name derives from a German movie called Bang Boom Bang so obscure it doesn’t have a wikipedia page.

No strangers to cover recordings, they’ve got four brilliant tunes posts on their website (a few of them below) and we here at Cover Me would like to help them add a fifth. And that, of course, is where you come in. The men of dhh have only three criteria for a successful cover: “First of all we have to see potential in the original to twist it to our style of playing. Second it has to be something most people know. Last but certainly not least it must be fun to play while being fun for the audience.” Here are a few they’ve done so far.

Big In Japan (Alphaville)
Pop Muzik (M)

With their three criteria in mind we’ve come up with a list of ten possibilities for the next outing. As always, which they choose is entirely up to you. Check out the following options and, after listening to any you don’t know via the youtube links, pick which one dhh should tackle via the poll on the right. (edit: vote tallies in parentheses)

Boney M – Ma Baker (5 votes)
David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust (20 votes) *
Chumbawamba – Tubthumpin’ (19 votes)
Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Around (9 votes)
Golden Earring – Radar Love (10 votes)
Patrick Hernandez – Born To Be Alive (4 votes)
Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance (19 votes)
Queen – Flash (13 votes)
Tears For Fears – Mad World (14 votes)
Yazoo – Nobody’s Diary (2 votes)

Get listening, get thinking, and get voting! Voting closes one week from today. To quote Linkin Park, what the hell are you waiting for?

Also, bonus question: which one of the above songs was on the first CD I ever bought?