Relive The White Stripes’ 1997 cover of David Bowie’s ‘Moonage Daydream’
We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you one very special performance as The White Stripes take on David Bowie’s powerhouse track ‘Moonage Daydream’.
When you think back to some of David Bowie’s best songs it’s very hard to look too far past his illustrious and seminal record The Rise and Fall ofZiggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars.
It’s an LP that introduced the world to Bowie’s persona Ziggy Stardust and created its own genre of glam rock. So it’s no wonder that an aspiring young band called The White Stripes picked up one of the record’s best tracks ‘Moonage Daydream’ for a special early cover over 20 years later to express their incarnation.
The White Stripes were in their infancy when they picked up the cult favourite track and added their own unique spin. The recording below is likely from one of their first-ever shows with most people dating the clip back to around 1997. But what really hit us is that despite the rough sound, Jack White’s oddly high vocals, and a newly developed band, this cover incredibly indicative of The White Stripes’ future sound.
The interpretation from one of our favourite guitar impresarios is a uniquely Jack White style of sound, even at the young age of 22. It moves away from the original glam rock tones and instead leans more heavily on the blues roots of the song, White’s fire breathing guitar eviscerating all those in earshot. The fuzzing guitars and pounding drums signalling the beginning of the new generation taking up their rock and roll batons.
To put this into the context of the mid-90s, with Britain still deeply entrenched in the Oasis v Blur war, and much of the US still reeling over the death of grunge, The White Stripes were years ahead of the curve. Another beautiful, and quite revealing, moment from the recording is a member of the crowd’s delightful review of Jack White and his newly worked out stage presence. He quite simply says in the recording “He sounds like a weirdo”.
Though they may have been right, White is a little bit odd let’s be honest, it’s a laughable moment knowing that the crowd were witnessing one of the biggest bands of the 21st century being delivered 3 years early. Somehow on a cover, The White Stripes were honing their own sound.
So while we will never know of David Bowie‘s feeling on this contemporary cover of his glam-rock classic, nor will we ever see the duet of dreams between he and White take place—we can be safe in the knowledge that rock stars of the modern age are at least learning from the best.
Listen to The White Stripes performing David Bowie’s classic song ‘Moonage Daydream’ below.