David Bowie’s interstellar otherworldliness and Bruce Springsteen’s rather more straight-laced blue-collared ways might seem like two pretty disparate creative realms, but their paths have crossed more than a few times. Throughout this interlinking relationship, there has been a healthy stem of mutual admiration.
For instance, in 1979 for a BBC Radio Show, Bowie picked out ‘Saint In The City’ as one of his favourite songs of all time, and upon the Starman’s tragic passing in 2016, Springsteen announced: “Over here on E Street, we’re feeling the great loss of David Bowie. David was a visionary artist and an early supporter of our music. Always changing and ahead of the curve, he was an artist whose excellence you aspired to. He will be sorely missed.”
Bowie was never too shy to cover the songs he loved the most, delving in the ‘White Light/White Heat’ of his old friends from The Velvet Underground, and putting a unique twist on ‘God Only Knows’ by the Beach Boys.
In 1973, Bowie even recorded his classic Pin Ups cover album featuring his much-loved take on ‘Sorrow’ as well as a slew of other sixties classics from The Kinks, The Who and others.
The following year, Bowie came across Springsteen’s debut Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., which initially flopped upon release. Bowie, forever being the champion of new music that he was, decided to use his new-found stardom to help promote the album by covering ‘Growin’ Up’ in an early session for his Diamond Dogs record with Ronnie Wood on guitar.
Ultimately, the cover never found its place on a record until a re-release of Pin Ups in 2015 as part of the Five Years boxset that chartered Bowie’s career 1969-1973.
You can check out the simply stunning version below. It has all the energy of a full-throttled Springsteen piece with the natural quirk of Bowie’s creative ways, with a particularly session-weary hoarse-throated Starman sounding completely unique.