10 Stupid, Awful David Bowie Covers

David Bowie is a tricky artist to cover. Not only does he imprint his distinctive vocal stylings on every song, but the songs themselves are also usually quite complex with a lot of complicated changes. So discretion being the better part of valor, there really aren’t a whole ton of Bowie covers to choose from.

This means bad Bowie covers usually fall into three categories. Versions by obscure bands who don’t know any better (awful), or comedy versions that send up Bowie with a nod and a wink (stupid). And then there are those when you can’t tell if they’re trying to be awful or not. In any case, please do enjoy these stupid, awful tracks.


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10. Duran Duran – Fame

Rumor has it that Simon Le Bon rushed the lads through the take because he was late for his hair shellac appointment.


9. The Gourds – Ziggy Stardust

This band played around Austin for 20 years and were crowd pleasers, but I’m pretty sure this is awful. Yet somehow I love it too. I guess I’m complicated.


8. Tulus – Space Oddity

Wow, that’s one angry spaceman, but full marks for the dynamic range.


7. John C. Reilly – Starman

It’s funny I guess, but part of me thinks if you take the piss too far, you get to a point where you’re almost insulting the original song and artist.


6. Trance To The Sun – China Girl

If Bowie and Iggy Pop had written this song high on household solvents instead of on heroin, this is what it might have sounded like.


5. Rockabye Baby – Rebel Rebel

From an album of Bowie covers performed on baby chimes. Warning: May cause vague transsexual urges when infant reaches adolescence.


4. Atrocity – Let’s Dance

I’ll tell you what’s an atrocity, that this version wasn’t a hit. Put on your jackboots and dance the blues. Seriously, though, the original was a pretty heavy track in its own right.


3. Nero’s Day At Disneyland – Moonage Daydream

Needs more cowbell.


2. William Shatner – Space Oddity

It’s not as much fun when he’s in on the joke, but the banality is strangely hypnotizing, like watching a man falling off a kitchen chair in ultra-slow motion.


1. Barbra Streisand – Life On Mars

This track stands unquestionably alone as the worst David Bowie cover ever, mostly because its intentions were higher than any of the others. Bowie hated it and he told Babs so, apologetically, of course. Streisand is one of the great singers of all time, but this was a real unfortunate choice of material.

Photo credit: By Jean-Luc (originally posted to Flickr as David Bowie) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

5 comments to “10 Stupid, Awful David Bowie Covers”
  1. You couldn’t find a “real” cover and had to pick on poor Dewey Cox at #7. You’re too ironic to actually acknowledge actual irony.

    • Irony is best served as a subtle poke delivered with a wink. Blatant mockery is not irony. It would have been ironic, and funnier, if Dewey Cox tried to sound like Bowie a little bit.

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