Good on Vox for posting Chris Hadfield’s cover of “Space Oddity.” That was the first thing I thought of when I heard that David Bowie died today. Here’s the video:
Bowie seems to have been the kind of artist who was good at almost every genre he tried. He was an exceptional actor, too, as fans of Labyrinth may attest. (He’s certainly the best thing about the film.) I think his stunt casting as Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ, though, is one of the most memorable bit parts ever put on screen. Credit Scorsese for recognizing how to put Bowie’s presence to use, but give Bowie the credit for his pitch-perfect calibration.
I’m not sure for how many people this is true, but the first time I really took notice of Bowie was in the prominence of his music in 2001’s Moulin Rouge!. It’s been a decade since I’ve seen it, so I’ve no idea if the film holds up, but those who were around at the time may recall how crazy popular the soundtrack was. It was exactly the kind of film I needed to see at the time I saw it, whatever its merits, and it reinvigorated my love for musicals and it piqued an interest in classic rock. “Heroes” is, of course, a now-legendary song from Bowie’s collaboration with Brian Eno, and the original version is pretty awesome. I really like this live version, too, though; like the original, it builds, but instead of barrelling straight in, with all the production bells/whistles, it relies on the rhythm and Bowie’s vocal performance to gain momentum: