Hear David Bowie’s Previously Unreleased John Lennon & Bob Dylan Covers
Sunday will be the fifth anniversary of David Bowie’s death. If Bowie was still alive, today would’ve been his 74th birthday. This seems like as good a time as any to look back at the man’s towering legacy. Today, we’ve already gotten Duran Duran covering Bowie’s “Five Years” and We Are KING taking on “Space Oddity.” And now we get to hear two previously unreleased cover songs from Bowie himself. Rhino has unearthed two covers that Bowie recorded in 1998, releasing both of them as a single.
In 1998, David Bowie got together with producer and regular collaborator Tony Visconti to record a version of “Mother,” the classic 1970 song from Bowie’s friend and collaborator John Lennon. Bowie and Lennon had a real connection. The two of them wrote Bowie’s 1975 smash “Fame” together, and Lennon sang and played guitar on it. Lennon also helped out on Bowie’s cover of the Beatles’ “Across The Universe,” from his Young Americans album. Bowie recorded his version of “Mother” for a Lennon tribute album that never came out. Bowie’s take on the song is a warm and soulful. Lennon wrote the original song about feeling abandoned by his parents, and there’s a ton of empathy in Bowie’s reading of it.
In 1998, Bowie also recorded his own version of Bob Dylan’s “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven.” At the time, the song was new; Dylan had included it on his craggy 1997 masterpiece Time Out Of Mind. Bowie’s admiration for Dylan went back a long way; he’d included the homage “Song For Bob Dylan” on his 1971 album Hunky Dory. Bowie’s self-produced version of “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven” has a soft desperation to it, and it has some extra resonance now, with Bowie gone.
Check out Bowie’s versions of “Mother” and “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven” below.
The limited vinyl single of “Mother” b/w “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven” is out now on Rhino, and you can order it here.