Friday, January 15, 2016

#BoTB : Goodbye, David Bowie

Can you hear me, Major Tom? 
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?

A legend has left us behind. This is my mediocre way of paying tribute to a genius that changed the face of music with a career that spanned half a century.



In Bowie's own words (1997):
"That song for me always exemplified kind of how you feel when you're young, when you know that there's a piece of yourself that you haven't really put together yet. You have this great searching, this great need to find out who you really are."

Great, great song.

No, we're not pitting Bowie against anyone today. Instead, two contenders will be doing battle in his honor. First up is a band who turned The Man Who Sold The World as an anthem for an entire new generation.

I give you

NIRVANA




The second contender, of Thin Lizzy and Ultravox fame, released his cover of Bowie's The Man Who Sold The World in 1985, fifteen years after the original was released. Give it up for

MIDGE URE



Your turn. Who does this song better? Who would you rather listen to? Who carried more (or less) of Bowie's original intent and feel into the modern version? Which one touches you deepest—or not at all? Tell us in the comments. I'll be back on the 21st to tally the votes and (dread, dread) add my own.

P.S. — I'll be traveling today, so I'll probably be late with responding and with visits to other Battles and blogs... But I'll get there. I promise :)

Check out the other awesome Battles playing out today! And HUGE gratitude to hosts Stephen and FAE for keeping the spirit alive :)


And if you're in the mood for a full Bowie retrospective, Rolling Stone put together a 30-song playlist that is totally worth setting aside a whole afternoon for.

Goodbye, Major Tom.

40 comments :

  1. Hi Guilie - yes Bowie has brought back lots of memories in our lives ... such a sad loss - but he exemplifies creativity at its best. Thanks for the playlist too ... cheers Hilary

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    1. "Creativity at its best" — so true, Hilary, and a very sad loss indeed. Thanks for the visit :)

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  2. Midge Ure's version is interesting and with it's techno arty sound captures the spirit of Bowie's original best. But for my own taste I prefer Nirvana's unplugged version. It's more pure, less pretentious, and musically cool.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. First vote goes to Nirvana! Thanks, Lee :)

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  3. Hi, Guilie; Lovely tribute! The world was shocked and saddened by David Bowie's death. Have you seen his last video, "Lazarus"? Heartbreaking!
    As for the contest, I think Midge Ure's version is a bit closer to the original, techno effects notwithstanding. My preference though is for Nirvana. More haunting and emotional. Have a good trip!

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    1. Another vote for Nirvana! Thanks, Debbie... Nirvana's version will be hard to beat :)

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  4. Guilie - Nirvana takes it from me too. It's bittersweet sound is haunting.
    Be careful in your travels :)

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes, Dixie! Nirvana is sweeping this battle :)

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  5. I was going to use this song today as well. I noticed you used it so I switched musical gears. I agree with Arlee and I was going to vote for Midge. Only thing is it wouldn't be honest so I have to vote for Nirvana. I like their version better.

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    1. I'm sorry to have stolen this one from under you, Mike... I suspect many others would've had Bowie in mind for this battle. And another vote for Nirvana! (Will this be my first shut-out, I wonder?) Thanks for coming by!

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  6. Voting for Nirvana. Kurt Cobain just 'does it' for me :)

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    1. Nirvana 4, Midge 0. Thanks for the vote, Mary :)

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  7. Oh gosh this is a tough one because they are so different and I could listen to both as each brings something unique but I am going with Midge Ure. I like the out of this world feel the instruments give and I feels like it has more than one layer so I go with Midge. Funny, I was watching one of the Entertainment shows who spoke to Kurt Cobain's widow (name escapes me but hot mess sounds good). She mentioned how they were neighbours with Bowie for 6 years. Bowie liked Cobain's rendition of this song-they showed a clip of it.

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    1. Yay! First vote for Midge — thanks, Birgit, for the visit and for stopping poor Midge from ending up with a grand total of ZERO votes ;) I read that too, how Bowie loved the Nirvana version... It's a great one, no doubt. But I'm glad you found depth in Midge's. I really like that one.

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  8. I definitely like Nirvana better for this song. Eerie to see Cobain playing tribute to Bowie, isn't it? And now another great has entered the Rock 'n Roll Heaven...
    Please give my vote to Nirvana.
    Good battle Guilie!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this one, Michele! Definitely eerie... Too bad we've lost them both now :( Got you down for Nirvana!

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  9. Howdy, GUILIE, how the hell are ya?!

    I just came from Doc Cherdo's tribute to Bowie. Now here I am at yours.

    As I said to the Good Doctor, I was never a Bowie fan, with the exception of a small handful of songs. He was just too "Bowie-ish" for me. (I'm a pretty down-to-earth, rootsy guy, and I don't go in for weirdness except for Tiny Tim. ...And Andy Kaufman. ...And 'Revolution #9'... and 'Koyaanisqatsi', and 'Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again', and conspiracy theories, and... OK, so I go in for weirdness. But just not David Bowie.)

    Nevertheless, this was a nice tribute to the man... er-- or whatever David Bowie was. (I'm not sure if he was a boy or a girl - and THAT last lyric was MY tribute to the man... er-- well, whatever.)

    I guess I'm gonna vote for... uhm... NIRVANA? There's not one single thing I like about Kurt Cobain, but at least it sounded more like a song than an electronic experiment. And I did like that weird sound they had going on right at the end of the recording.

    Take care, Guilie. Yak later...

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Heyya, Stephen! Haha... Loved your non-weirdness explanation :D It's all good... I doubt you're alone in the "just not Bowie" sentiment, and I'm happy you liked this tribute. Aaaaand... another vote for Nirvana! Thanks for coming by :)

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  10. Bowie sounds weird on this one.

    Anyway, Midge Ure sounds cool: a bit of a Halloween / candlelit room / black cape vibe. But the extra two minutes or whatever didn't help.

    Nirvana's version is more like the man who's been around the block / beer for breakfast vibe. But it's Nirvana.

    So I vote for none of the above.

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    1. Haha... All right, Mr. Ellipsis. Duly noted. (And apologies. Will try harder next time ;) )

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  11. Midge Ure's version was so extravagantly done, and definitely embraced Bowie's weirdness in general. But the winner for me is Nirvana, hands-down. Their version just seems to have a lot more emotion behind the words, and at the time they performed it, it just really spoke to an entirely new generation.

    Battle of the Bands for 1.15.16 (On the 17th, because me)

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    1. I totally agree with you... Lots of emotion layered in the Nirvana version. It might be (arguably) simpler, musically / special-effects-wise speaking, but it's got an integrity about it that's hard to beat. Thanks for coming by!

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  12. I did not know Bowie did this originally. Hmm. This song totally belongs to Nirvana though. I loved what Ure did with it, but even Bowie wasn't as good as Kurt.

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    1. Entire generations will agree with you, Donna... Nirvana owned this one at the time, and they gave it a breath of fresh, vibrant air. As far as covers go, they nailed it with this one. Thanks for the visit!

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  13. I really liked Nirvanas version better. Nothing against Midge, it just didn't work for me.

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    1. You're not alone, Jeffrey ;) Thanks for the visit!

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  14. I didn't care much for either version, but Nirvana's sat with me better, and besides, there's a guy playing a Buck Owens red, white, and blue guitar in that one, and the bass was excellent.

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    1. I love the justification for the Nirvana vote, John :) Thanks for coming by!

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  15. I just plain don't like Nirvana, so I'm going to go with Midge Ure on this one, but still Bowie does it best.

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    1. YAY! Another vote for Midge... He's now one above the gracious loser's One Vote :D I'm with you, FAE; Bowie does this one (and so many others) best :)

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  16. I vote for Nirvana--so beautiful. Kurt Cobain was a sweet man in many ways.

    Love,
    Janie

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  17. I can't say I've ever been a Nirvana fan, but this is a lovely rendition. The Midge Ure version was better than I anticipated (based solely on the picture from the video... hahaha). The techno sound was interesting, but it didn't hit me in the heart in the same way that the Nirvana version did. One more for Nirvana.

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    1. I hear you, Robin... There's something about the Nirvana version that bypasses the neurons and heads straight for the heart. Thanks for the visit!

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  18. Oh man, seriously, thanks for the link to Rolling Stone's playlist. I've been listening to YouTube mashups on and off all week.
    Midge Ure feels more Bowie to me, but I really just dug the Nirvana version. So there's my vote :)
    I know technically I'm too late to vote, so disregard my comment if you want!

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    1. Madilyn, I'm late with posting results, so your vote wasn't too late at all :) Glad you enjoyed the RS playlist — I loved it :)

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  19. Sigh. I'm still sad about his death. Feels like an era just suddenly ended.

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    1. Too right, Misha... I'm having a hard time with digesting this one, too :(

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  20. Gotta go with Nirvana on this one; nice battle!

    The Bowie demise is a serious blow to rock and roll. {{sigh}}

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    1. Glad you liked it, Cherdo! Yeah, you're not kidding about the blow... I look at the music industry today and I see nothing pointing towards a Bowie-like innovator / boundary-pusher that might pick up the baton. That seems, somehow, sadder. But I did hear that Bowie left several albums for post-mortem release... At least we can look forward to that :) Thanks for the visit and the vote!

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