Sunday, November 14th, 2010
"John, I'm Only Dancing"
Paul Westerberg covers David Bowie
paulwesterberg.comIf Twitter is to be believed – and when has it ever been wrong about anything? – then yesterday was International Bowie Day, a day to pay tribute to all things thin white and duke-like. Which makes this the day after International Bowie Day. But every day is a good day for Bowie so I’ll not worry too much about being a day late, I prefer to think of it as being 364 days early for next year’s edition.
Point being, this week’s selection pays homage to not one but two of today’s great musical recluses. David Bowie, of course, hasn’t released a record of new music since 2003, toured since 2004 and sung live since 2006. And this trending downwards of activity hasn’t been accompanied by any formal statement of retirement or anything, thus keeping a flicker of hope in his legions of fans’ hearts that he might return to active duty soon, even though there’s no signs of that happening.
Paul Westerberg hasn’t quite pulled the same disappearing act, but his last widely available release was the soundtrack to the animated feature Open Season – not quite what one might expect from the man who fronted one of America’s greatest and most self-destructive rock bands in The Replacements. Since then he’s kept a pretty low profile when not tending to the Mats’ legacy via a steady stream of reissues, but occasionally pops up with digitally self-released homebrew albums or in the case of a couple weeks ago, a new 7″ under the guise of “Mr. F”. If nothing else, Westerberg is clearly keeping himself amused and his fans on their toes. Which is really how it should be.
And what Bowie and Westerberg have in common is this – a cover of the former’s “John, I’m Only Dancing” done by the latter way back in 1996, when Bowie was turning out a record every other year (Outside came in ’95, Earthling in 97) and Westerberg was working his second solo record Eventually. It was recorded for a radio session at San Francisco’s KFOG, the whole of which you can grab over at Captain’s Dead.