David Bowie passed away in 2016 at age 69, depriving the world of one of the most unique musical voices. That’s why fan Howard Stern planned a Bowie tribute across all Howard Stern Channels on Sirius XM Radio. The project is hosted by Tony Visconti, the longtime producer for Bowie. The tribute will feature 25 artists who created their own original interpretations of Bowie’s music.
“This project is very ambitious because David Bowie songs are not easy to play and sing for technical reasons,” Visconti told HowardStern.com. “But everyone who participated in this rose to the occasion.”
The Howard Stern Tribute to David Bowie begins on Howard 101 Friday, Feb. 9 at 10 p.m. ET. The first guest is Peter Frampton, with a live performance of “Rebel Rebel,” from Bowie’s 1974 album Diamond Dogs. Frampton’s father was young Bowie’s art teacher, and the two became friends during their school years.
Michael Penn performs “After All,” with his wife, Aimee Mann, singing background vocals. Penn noted that covering Bowie can be difficult since he wrote from the perspective of specific characters. However, “After All” always stuck with him. Pen described it as “the darkest lullaby in the world.”
Spoon singer Britt Daniel recorded his cover of “Never Let Me Down” on the same night Bowie died. Britt told Stern.com that “I woke up in the middle of the night, the night Bowie died. I glanced at my phone and saw the headline, felt the shock, woke all the way up, and couldn’t go back to sleep. I sat up in bed listening to songs, watching videos, thinking about all the times I’d spent with his music.”
Lisa Loeb describes herself as an “obsessed” Bowie fan who used to pour over his music book when she was a young teen. She performs a song written by Bowie, “All the Young Dudes.”
Bleachers covered Bowie’s 1972 masterpiece “Ziggy Stardust.” Shawn Colvin recorded “Heroes” in the Stern Show studios. Garbage described Bowie as the “Starman who blew our minds.” They chose to perform “Starman,” from Bowie’s experimental album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.”
Stern also gave younger artists the opportunity to play a role in the tribute.
Greta Van Fleet performs “the Jean Genie” with their father on the harmonica. Stern has compared Greta Van Fleet to Led Zeppelin. The band has only issued two EP’s and have yet to release their major label debut. However, their “From the Fires” took the top spot on the Hard Rock Albums Chart. Stern played the track “Highway Tune” on the Stern Show in 2017, which drove the song to No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock charts.
Stern Show superfan Kristeen Young is a singer-songwriter who has toured with Foo Fighters and Morrissey. She appeared on Bowie’s 2002 Heathen and he sang a duet with her on her 2003 album “Breasticles.” For the tribute, Kristeen is overing “Moonage Daydream.”
Fans can get an advanced look at songs by Frampton, Daryl Hall (“Fame”) and Loeb on Rollingstone.com. Visconti said he was glad to share this part of his long relationship with Bowie. “And I’m glad we can share these fantastic interpretations of his songs. There is no end to how they can be interpreted.”