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Alterkaker Hot 3

January 11, 2016

David Bowie first caught the public’s attention in July 1969 when his song "Space Oddity" reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart. Over the next 45 years he would put out about as diverse a portfolio of modern music (and personas) as any pop star ever has. Along the way, he evidently did a few duets as well. Here are 3, plus a video of his last single, Lazarus.

Dancing In The Street by David Bowie and Mick Jagger

"Dancing in the Street" is a 1964 song first recorded by Martha and the Vandellas. A hit version was done by Bowie and Mick Jagger in 1985 for the Live Aid charity. The original plan was to perform a track together live, with Bowie performing at Wembley Stadium and Jagger at John F. Kennedy Stadium, until it was realized that the satellite link-up would cause a half-second delay that would make this impossible unless either Bowie or Jagger mimed their contribution, something neither artist was willing to do. So they got together in a studio to record it and then made a video.

Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen

"Under Pressure" is a 1981 song originally recorded by Queen and David Bowie, and later included on Queen's 1982 album Hot Space. It reached number one on the UK Singles Chart, Band member Brian May had this to say about the tune: “Looking back, it's a great song but it should have been mixed differently. Freddie and David had a fierce battle over that. It's a significant song because of David and its lyrical content."

I’m Afraid Of Americans by David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails

Bowie toured with Trent Reznor and the American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails in 1995. Two years later they released this song. Bowie has explained that the track isn’t hostile to America: “It's merely sardonic. I was traveling in Java when [its] first McDonald’s went up; it was like, ‘for fuck's sake’." 

Jagger and Bowie
Freddie Mercury and Bowie
Trent Reznor and Bowie
Bowie's Last Single
November 30, 2015

Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, and The Flying Burrito Brothers: 3 quirky, eclectic sort-of-country rock bands. They don't fit neatly in any genre, as this trio of bands ranged from bluegrass to swing to rockabilly and on and on. All were defined by talented musicianship and lively concerts. 

Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks first recorded in 1969, and over the years performed an eclectic mix of cowboy folk, jazz, country, swing, bluegrass, pop, and gypsy music. There was humor in their songs too, as evidenced by Hicks’ tune "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?" “Payday Blues” is from the 1973 Last Train to Hicksville – the first album to gain the band real acclaim and provide them with a wider following. Hicks nonetheless disbanded the group in 1974.

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen is an American country rock band founded in 1967. The group released their first album in late 1971, Lost in the Ozone, which yielded its best-known hit, a cover version of the 1955 song "Hot Rod Lincoln", which reached the top ten on the Billboard singles chart in early 1972. Founder George Frayne IV (alias Commander Cody) mixed country, rock 'n' roll, Western swing, rockabilly, and jump blues, often backed by a boogie-woogie piano. "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)" was written by Merle Travis and Tex Williams and first recorded on March 27, 1947. The Commander’s rendition comes from the band’s 1973 Country Casanova LP. We've also got a video of the band performing Hot Rod Lincoln live in 1974.

Devil in Disguise comes from 1972’s live Last of the Red Hot Burritos, the fourth album by the country rock group. The Flying Burrito Brothers was founded in 1968 by former Byrds members Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, but Parsons had left before this album was recorded and the band forever underwent personnel changes. Still, when they were hot they were hot.

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
The Flying Burrito Brothers
Hot Rod Lincoln by Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
October 5, 2015

The Beatles have been covered by such a ridiculous number of artists that to choose three renditions for this AKH3 would be near impossible. So I narrowed my search for African-American singers with Beatles songs in their repertoire – of which there are still dozens, from Ray Charles to Wilson Pickett to Lauryn Hill. Our trio encompasses a funky rendition of Eleanor Rigby by Aretha Franklin (from “This Girl’s In Love With You” album, 1970), a spunky version of We Can Work It Out by Stevie Wonder (“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” 1970), and a fairly faithful cover of Come Together by Michael Jackson (“HIStory: Past, Present and Future" 1994).

The video is from The Grey Album by Danger Mouse. Released in 2004, it’s a mashup of The Beatles’ The White Album with Jay-Z’s The Black Album. Fans of either artist should get a kick out of it.

Eleanor Rigby by Aretha Franklin
We Can Work It Out by Stevie Wonder
Come Together by Michael Jackson
The Grey Album by Danger Mouse