Inspired by David Bowie: 10 Artists Who Borrowed a Page From the Late Icon’s … – E! Online
David Bowie‘s death leaves a gaping hole in the roster of living artists whose inspirational reach spanned genres, generations and modes of media, the British singer having made his mark on stage, screens, canvas and the recording studio.
Countless people—famous and not—have taken time Monday to share how much Bowie meant to them, be it for his music, his style, his humor, his enduring relationship with his wife, Iman, or his show-stopping turn in Labyrinth.
But it hardly took his untimely passing at 69, after a battle with cancer he and his family kept entirely private, to make it known just how far and wide his influence spread. And the countless covers of his songs are only an indication of how just how much he inspired his fellow artists.
Check out these 10-and-beyond artists who ripped a page (or several) from the Bowie playbook:
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1. Lady Gaga’s “Applause”: The art for the freshly minted Golden Globe winner’s ode to the headiness of “Fame” shows Gaga sporting a face of rainbow Ziggy Stardust makeup and she’s rocking Bowie’s signature 1970s mullet. And with the singer-actress relighting the torch for glam rock and gender-bending appeal when she burst on the scene, consider her one of the master’s most avid disciples.
2. Beyoncé’s Surprise Album Drop: Not that Bey ever labeled herself a pioneer when it came to releasing a huge studio album without warning (though that sneak attack quickly became known as “pulling a Beyoncé”), but the Bowie faithful were quick to point out at the time that he had mastered the blindside first when he dropped the single “Where Are We Now?” on Jan. 8 and then revealed that the fruits of two years of secret labor—his first studio album in 10 years, The Next Day—would be out soon.
3. Kurt Cobain: Nirvana‘s cover of “The Man Who Sold the World” introduced many a flannel-bundled teen onto Bowie in 1993, and though the magnificent MTV Unplugged in New York album was a posthumous release for Cobain, perhaps he would’ve smiled at the fact that he helped spread the word about one of his own biggest influences. Bowie is quoted in Nirvana: The Chosen Rejects as saying he “always wanted to talk to [Cobain] about his reasons for covering ‘The Man Who Sold the World,'” saying he did “a good straight forward rendition and sounded somehow very honest.”
4. Tilda Swinton & Bowie Become One: A fabulous running pop culture joke was the fact that the androgynously sexy Swinton and Bowie were actually the same person—and they were both apparently tickled by the comparison! Swinton starred in his video for “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” proving once and for all that they could both be in the same place at once.
5. Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou: This quirky (what else?) comedy starring Bill Murray as an aquatic explorer who’s out to get the shark that ate his buddy is a polarizing film in the Anderson canon, but the resurgence of Bowie’s “Life on Mars” via the film’s soundtrack—including this devastating cover by Seu Jorge—is unquestionably a highlight.
6. Boy George & Beyond: “You changed my life,” the Culture Club singer and gay icon tweeted upon hearing the news of Bowie’s death. “I cannot believe it. Thank you for everything.” Bowie—in his full face of makeup (which accented his captivating eyes and illegally sharp cheekbones) and skintight “space” suits as his otherworldly creation Ziggy Stardust—helped set the tone for artists (including Queen, Patti Smith, The Cure and Prince in addition to George, Gaga, Depeche Mode, Annie Lennox and more) to push the boundaries of gender and sexuality, ultimately pushing their brand of emo-glam into the mainstream and showing that gay or straight, feminine or masculine, dress or three-piece suit didn’t matter. You could be everything to everyone, all at once.
Or, a Bowie specialty, you could be one thing today, and another tomorrow.
7. The Killers’ “All These Things That I Have Done”: Frontman Brandon Flowers, who has the deep, almost-monotone-but-still-mellifluous voice associated with Bowie, admitted the band ripped this song’s bass line from “Slow Burn.” Moreover, no one releases a song called “Spaceman” without a tacit nod to the original space oddity.
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8. Marilyn Manson’s Theatrics: While Bowie and Manson weren’t exactly delivering the same message through their music, Bowie’s brave, arousing stage presence definitely inspired the likes of Manson and other artists who live to provoke onstage. “When I grew up, there was David Bowie and Iggy Pop—people who had something to say and had quite an impact on music and society.”
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9. U2‘s Existence: “It’s not exaggerating to say what Elvis meant to America, David Bowie meant to the U.K. and Ireland,” Bono told Rolling Stone in 2010, while also offering up his top 15 all-time Bowie tunes (may as well go listen to them all right now) for the magazine. “It was that radical a shift in consciousness.”
10. Madonna: Speaking of testing boundaries… This girl from Detroit attributed Bowie with changing her life by opening her eyes to a type of artistry she had no idea was possible. “This is a beauitful man. Before I saw David Bowie live, I was just your normal, dysfunctional, rebellious teenager from the Midwest, and he has truly changed my life,” she said while speaking on his behalf at his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “I’ve always had a sentimental attachment to David Bowie.”
And as it turned out, millions of other people did, too. Next time you’re playing the latest infectious pop hit on repeat or watching a full-fledged star tear it up on stage, take a moment to remember whether or not, in fact, Bowie did it first.