Our April record club meeting gives us a chance to listen to music as covered by other artists, with a bit of a focus on David Bowie. Have they brought out new fresh insights … or just destroyed the strengths of the originals? Tonight you’ll hear David Bowie cover his favourite UK artists from 1964-1967 in the first of two planned Bowie 1960’a nostalgia albums (the second never surfaced). You’ll also hear renowned drummer Dylan Howe’s recent take on Bowie’s 1970’s Berlin period. The third album choice have tracks that cover the full gamut of weird, wonderful and Wet Wet Wet. And of course there are the tracks that *you* will be bringing along…?
DAVID BOWIE – PIN UPS (1973)
In late 1973, after the acclaim for the originality of his two previous albums (Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane), Bowie suddenly produced a full album of cover tracks, Pin-Ups. With an other-worldly cover photo of DB with supermodel Twiggy, the tracks were mostly drawn from the 1960’s British beat boom. How did Bowie do; better than Them, The Who or The Kinks? We’ll let you decide.
SUBTERRANEAN – NEW DESIGNS ON BOWIE’S BERLIN (2014)
Our second album is a 2014 cover of Bowie’s music. In 1977, with world-wide success and seemingly in a drug-fuelled haze, Bowie settled in Berlin and produced two albums, Low and Heroes, of mostly moody instrumental music. Subterranean – New Designs on Bowie’s Berlin is drummer Dylan Howe’s radical take on these tracks. It features saxophonists Julian Siegel and Brandon Allen, Adrian Utley from Portishead on guitar and Yes guitarist Steve Howe on koto. David Bowie has said that he is impressed.
THE THIRD ALBUM CHOICE…
We usually have a vote for the third album and we have five contenders sourced from some RC members:
- The same week as Bowie’s Pin-Ups was released in 1973, the other glam idol Bryan Ferry released his own covers album (did they know?). These Foolish Things was more wide-ranging than Bowie’s with a bit of a thing for girl vocal groups (Lesley Gore, The Miracles, The Paris Sisters).
- Released in 1988, NME launched a covers album to raise funds for the newly established Childline charity. Sgt Pepper Knew My Father brought together a diverse group of acts (The Fall, Billy Bragg, The Wedding Present, Frank Sidebottom, Michelle Shocked… err Wet Wet Wet) who recorded new versions of the songs on the Beatles’ album and released it on 21st anniversary of the Beatles original. It also produced a number 1 single (Wet Wet Wet).
- Placebo put together their Covers album in 2003, drawing together tracks that had mostly appeared as B sides etc. in previous years. The eclectic mix includes overs of Kate Bush, The Smiths, T Rex and, of course, record club favourites Boney M.
To celebrate 10 years and their 100th album release, Alternative Tentacles released Virus 100, an album of (mostly) label artists performing covers of Dead Kennedys tracks. So if you’ve ever wanted to hear the San Francisco hardcore stalwarts reinterpreted as hip-hop, country & western, blues, grindcore, or even a cappella, then this is the (surprising) covers album for you. You know that any album with Mojo Nixon and the Toad Liquors covering Winebago Warrior deserves a vote.
SST released albums from some of the most influential artists in US hardcore, from Hüsker Dü to Dinosaur Jr. to Minutemen. On Duck & Cover, they’re let off the chain to do their own very individual things with a selection of American rock classics. And the Osmonds. And Magazine.
Any other albums of covers that you’d like to hear? If you’ve got any suggestions please give them here and if you’d rather have more “freeplay time” to bring in your favourite cover tracks (especially if you’ve got the original as well so wecan do a real back-to-back appraisal!) than the third album feel free to say that too!