Thursday April 24th 2014

Face the Music

A Fenway Park inspired re-visit of Bowie’s “Starman”

By: Aimsel Ponti

Hey there Music Fans,

OK so there I was at the last Red Sox home game of the regular season yesterday. There I sat under sunny skies watching our bearded boys defeat The Blue Jays from my seats deep in the outfield.

In between innings I heard a most unusual sound played by Red Sox organist Josh Kantor. It was not one I could have ever expected to hear but one that pleased me immensely.

Kantor played a snippet of David Bowie’s 1972 song “Starman.” The song has always been a favorite and it’s one of many brilliant ones from the “Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars” record.

The 15 second riff also got me thinking about other versions of the songs that have been done over the years.

Research this morning revealed that there are actually dozens of covers of “Starman.” But I whittled it down to five. My criteria was simple: I had to already be aware of the cover and had to truly like it.

Here they are. Enjoy!

1. This one is by Milky Edwards & The Chamberlings. It has recently “surfaced” although there is very little known about the band and rumor has it they’re actually an elaborate hoax.  Either way, they cover “Starman” as well as “Moonage Daydream” and a few other Ziggy era Bowie songs and I love what they’ve done here. Is it just me or does the singer kind of sound like Tom Jones?

2. I got wind of the singer-songwriter Happy Rhodes during my college radio days. This is her song “Feed the Fire” (acoustic tribute version). You’ll not only hear a nod to Kate Bush in it but also some Bowie.  Impatient? Skip ahead to the 3:28 mark for the “Starman” part.

3. 10, 000 Maniacs. They’ve always been a favorite band, especially during the Natalie Merchant years. Here’s a reggae flavored “Starman” from a b-sides Maniacs record.

4. Mates of State.One word: Fantastic.

5. Dar Williams. I love her and I dare say this is my favorite cover of the song.

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