Among the various Breaking News bulletins on my phone when I woke this morning was the notification of David Bowie’s death.

I think I’m like a lot of people of my generation: not a huge Bowie fan – I really didn’t know who he was until his 1983 album Let’s Dance, which was the poppiest, most mainstream of his career – but I certainly recognized the impact he had on music. I like his bigger hits,[1] but much of his arty work is lost on me.

For the post-Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Who era, he set the model that artists can be whatever they want, whenever they want. It’s a little amazing how many bands, many of whom made music nothing like Bowie’s, cite him as an influence. Not many people sounded like Bowie. But tons of bands over the last 40 years followed his path one way or another.

When I hit shuffle on the iPad this morning, this was the third or fourth song that came up. It’s a song written by Bowie but first recorded by British band Mott the Hoople. It was a huge hit for them in Britain in 1972, and often considered the anthem of the 70s glam rock movement. It was also a favorite of The Clash, who’s “All The Young Punks” was both an updated version for the punk era and tribute to the original.

On a day when lots of Bowie’s originals will be spun, I thought I’d offer up one of his songs someone else made famous.

  1. “Suffragette City,” “Changes,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Young Americans,” “Fame,” “Heroes,” “Under Pressure,” and all the ’83 hits. So I guess I actually like quite a few of his songs.  ↩