Covers of David Bowie’s “Heroes” that are good to varying degrees, but not better than the original
David Bowie fans shocked by news on Monday of the musician’s unexpected death have spent the week listening to Bowie’s greatest hits online and watching his videos.
On Monday, Bowie shattered Adele’s single-day record for video views on Vevo. And fans streamed his music in enormous numbers as well. No song in Bowie’s catalogue was being streamed more than his 1977 rock anthem “Heroes.” There are numerous “Heroes” covers out there — from The Wallflowers to Bon Jovi to Monae Janelle, to The Toadies, who this week released a free download of a live version they’d recorded. All of them are good to varying degrees (leave it to a Dylan to do the song the most justice). Below, take a listen to each one.
And at the end — a bonus: David Bowie covering “Heroes,” a song Germany credits with helping bring down the Berlin Wall, in German. It, too, is good, but like the others still not quite as good as the original.
The Wallflowers really get the gravity of the song, and don’t try to do too much. Nicely done by Jacod Dylan and Co.
Widespread Panic performs an interesting interpretation of the song. The horn section is a little distracting, but they bring a fun jammy rhythm to the song and the guitar leads are expert.
Pride of New Jersey Bon Jovi covers “Heroes” with the help of a string section. Acoustic rhythm guitar and Jon’s vocals are nice. OK.
Blondie does a nice job of making the song their own, but still maintaining the soul that made the original so visceral and anthemic.
Oasis knows the rock territory here and does the song justice.
The Toadies, a middling alternative rock band, know the territory too. And they do probably the second-best job with the song deploying a nice acoustic guitar to handle the rhythm sections. Surprisingly good stuff here.
Janelle Monae. Eh, this one’s hard on the ears.
David Bowie singing “Heroes” in German. Interestingly, it works probably in large part due to the fact that the lyrics are sung over the original music.
Did I miss any good covers? Let me know.