David Bowie was a commercial force in the ’80s, but his work during the decade hasn’t aged all that well. A lot of that comes down to the production. Bowie might’ve helped lay the foundation for the ecstatic artificiality of ’80s pop, but that doesn’t mean the sound suited him all that well. And later this month, a new box set will take a good, hard look at Bowie’s work during the era.
The new box set Loving The Alien (1983-1988) will include all of Bowie’s live and studio albums from that period, and it’ll also include some reworkings, including a complete reworking of Bowie’s 1987 album Never Let Me Down. Back in 2008, Bowie asked the producer Mario McNulty to radically rework the songs from that album, and the new version of it features string arrangements from Nico Muhly.
We’ve already posted the box set’s new versions of “Zeroes” and “Beat Of Your Drum.” And today, we get to hear Bowie’s revamped cover of Iggy Pop’s “Bang Bang.” Iggy was, of course, an old Bowie collaborator. “Bang Bang” was a wild-eyed slow-burner from Pop’s 1981 album Party. Bowie liked the song enough to record it for Never Let Me Down and to perform it on his 1987 Spiders tour. But the Never Let Me Down version of “Bang Bang” is a pretty generic ’80s rocker, whereas the new take is starker and more atmospheric.
And now Iggy Pop has debuted the new 2018 version of “Bang Bang” on his BBC 6 Music radio show. As Rolling Stone points out, you can hear the new version here; it’s at the 1:38:30 mark.
Meanwhile, here’s Iggy Pop’s original “Bang Bang”:
And here’s Bowie’s supremely ’80s Never Let Me Down take:
The Loving The Alien (1983-1988) box set is out 10/12 on Parlophone. More info here.