It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since David Bowie‘s death. It hurts for many reasons, but if there’s any solace to glean from the loss, it’s that Bowie has been properly mourned. Not just among civilians — you’d be hard-pressed to find an artist who didn’t turn in a Bowie cover at some point. Here are some of our favorites from the past year, ranging from deep cuts to the obvious ones.
Seu Jorge, “Space Oddity”
Okay, okay, this one’s kind of a cheat. Seu Jorge’s lovely samba-flavored covers of Bowie’s best-known songs served as the soundtrack to Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou long before 2016. But it was also the year Jorge took the act on the road — complete with his Team Zissou uniform — proving that no matter how many times “Portuguese David Bowie covers” makes someone do a double-take, Jorge’s lilting, tropical versions prove the universal appeal of Bowie’s songs.
Temple of the Dog, “Quicksand”
Temple of the Dog, a band itself formed out of a tragic death — members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam came together to honor Andrew Wood, a shared friend from the Seattle music scene who died of a heroin overdose — is also one of the bands best equipped to tackle a Bowie tune, thanks to singer Chris Cornell’s skyscraper-high voice. The band chose “Quicksand,” a cut that originally closed out the “A” side of Bowie’s Hunky Dory album.
Lorde, “Life on Mars?”
“Life on Mars?” is one of Bowie’s most emblematic songs: It’s a series of disjointed, sci-fi-lite images married to a swooning, magisterial vocal. Lorde’s version (which starts at 10:47 in the above video) hews closer to the song’s pop side, but her wise-beyond-her-years gravitas sells it nonetheless.
Michael Stipe, “Ashes to Ashes”
Michael Stipe’s quavering, fragile voice is as dear to the hearts of misfit kids of the ’80s and ’90s as Bowie’s was for those of the ’70s. His version of “Ashes to Ashes” trades the original’s electronics for hushed piano and harmonies from Karen Elson. It is devastating. Also, sweet beard, Mike.
Joe Elliott, “All the Young Dudes”
To get all pedantic about this being a Mott the Hoople song instead of a “proper” Bowie song is to miss the point of this incredible cover, which features backing vocals from the London Community Gospel Choir.
Iggy Pop, “Tonight”
This is another cheat, since Bowie technically co-wrote it with Pop for the latter’s debut solo album, The Idiot. But considering it features guest vocals from another great we lost in 2016, Sharon Jones, it’s too good to not include.
Josh Klinghoffer, “Changes”
Sure, this instrumental cover of “Changes” from Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer is a bit out there. But Bowie — who made a career out of collaborating with slightly-off guitar wiz kids on the order of Klinghoffer — probably would have loved it.
Bruce Springsteen, “Rebel Rebel”
Springsteen adds a personal note about how Bowie supported his music in the early days, covering tunes like “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City.” The love he and the E Street Band bring to “Rebel Rebel” here is palpable.
Perhaps the most high-profile Bowie tribute, Mother Monster belted out a slew of the late icon’s hits with legendary guitarist and Bowie collaborator Nile Rodgers during the 2016 Grammys. Gearing up for the performance, Gaga got a large tattoo of Bowie’s face on her torso. A+ for dedication.