David Bowie‘s career was one that was comprised of two intrinsic and concurrent threads. The bold, pioneering moves he made by his own ingenuity and the way that his ideas were augmented by the musicians he chose to support him for any given chapter. Be it Mick Ronson and The Spiders from Mars, Nile Rodgers, Tony Visconti or Mike Garson, much of Bowie’s career was characterised by his collaborative efforts with others.
Whether this is on a solo David Bowie project, his 1981 single ‘Under Pressure’ with Queen, the 1985 version of ‘Dancing In The Street’ with Mick Jagger, or many live performances alongside artists ranging from Klaus Nomi to Lou Reed, Bowie would not have been the same without these team efforts, and many of those he collaborated with would have had far less pulp without Bowie’s input.
If you were to trawl through Bowie’s long and celebrated career, you’d quickly heed that he was an ideas man at heart, a true visionary. Of course, he was a more than a capable musician, one who penned some of the most iconic tracks ever, but his expansive creative vision needed more than he to be brought to life. He required a colourful cast of characters to be able to bring to fruition his chameleonic musical style and his vivid musical and aesthetic directions.
Bowie was perhaps the most consistently surprising artist ever to have lived, save for the likes of Björk and Aphex Twin. You knew roughly in what realm his music would lay, with one hand on music’s beating heart and the other on the periphery, but in terms of dynamics and inspirations, they could come from anywhere. Hard-rock, jazz, the avant-garde, electronic; he took from every corner of music to create his totally unique and extensive back catalogue.
One of the biggest surprises came on his 2002 record, Heathen. Unsurprisingly, the album featured a whole host of musicians, including The Who’s Pete Townsend and Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater. However, the most surprising of all came on track six.
This was Bowie’s cover of an early Neil Young classic, 1968’s ‘I’ve Been Waiting for You’. Noisy, droning and atmospheric, Bowie and crew took the languid psychedelia of the original and dragged it into the 21st century. Bowie’s take is an almost unrecognisable version of Young’s. Either way, it’s brilliant, and this heavy drive of the rendition is expanded by none other than Dave Grohl on the overdriven lead guitar.
A total surprise, and nothing but triumphant, there can be no surprise that David Bowie and Dave Grohl would be a match made in heaven.
Listen to their rendition of ‘I’ve Been Waiting for You’ below.