Monday, May 11, 2009

The Girl With The Stars In Her Eyes & The Man Who Fell To Earth


Stardate 1968 - Ken Pitt, David Bowie's manager of the time, had become aware of sizeable hit 'Comme d'Habitude' doing brisk business in France. Anticipating that an English language version could provide Bowie with a much needed breakthrough, got him to refit the lyrics and demo the song.However Pitt had been pipped to the rights by Paul Anka who had recently rescripted for the song for Sinatra as 'My Way'.

Bowie's recording titled 'Even A Fool Learns To Love' remains unreleased, although some years later Bowie responsed to the incident by writing his own 'My Way' inspired torch tune - 'Life On Mars'.

Given this then, it's not too much of a stretch to see how the song became a cover in the Streisand songbook - where she pretty much sticks to the script, but on the moments she does wander off on a warble (2:20 onwards) - it works.

Barbra Streisand - Life On Mars





If you were wondering where's Captain Kirk (geddit) during Friday's post - he's here, public speaking Pulp's anthem for the average into a pulse-pumping peasant's revolt.

William Shatner - Common People


PS this could be Call Me A Philistine Part 2 - as I prefer Bill's version to the Pulp original

11 comments:

Cocktails said...

Oh, I love a good overrought ballad by Babs. Superb. What album is this from? I must investigate further...

Life on Mars does lend itself to some great covers. I have a fab jazz version by The Bad Plus which I should post some time. The melodrama translates surprisingly well.

As for William Shatner's Common People, I'll just pretend that I didn't read your post script!

Planet Mondo said...

It's from Butterfly - with possibly the most literal album cover ever..

I love the Shatner version Cocktails - on the original, Jarvis seemed slightly weary and jaded of the situation - but Kirk's delivery is so fired up and as he builds the bile and the backing track gallops along the song seems completely re-energized (scuse pun)

lil said...

Wasn’t sure what to expect?
WS’s version is fantastic!
Brilliant find PM…

Keith said...

Hey there. Wow. I really love that version by Babs. I had never heard that before. She does have an amazing voice. I do like a lot of her stuff. Great post.

Planet Mondo said...

Lil - the album it's taken from Has Been , believe or not it, is well worth grabbing - produced and arranged by Ben Folds, it guest stars Aimee Mann and Henri Rollins, and features a heartbreaking ballad about his deceased wife..

Great voice Keith - I don't know why they never got her in for a Bond theme though..(perhaps Sheena Easton was cheaper)

Simon said...

Isn't that Joe Jackson on the Shatner cover?

Meanwhile Babs is wonderful.

Piley said...

Funny enough I picked up a double Babs CD only at the weekend in Bridport. Always had a soft spot (me dad has always been a big fan), and saw her live at Wembley Arena back in the 90's. How about that note she holds in the track 'Woman in Love'?? Incredible!

As for the Bowie track, I have a snippet of his version on a bootleg tape I bought back in the late 80's... it's pretty rough actually, don't think Sinatra woulda had as big a hit with Bowies version!


P

Planet Mondo said...

Simon Yes it's Joe Jackson on Common People, 'mazing that the Bab's track has gone down so well - I was expecting it to raise an eyebrow or two!

P I remember seeing a vid' for it too on a BBC Docu' about 'My Way' it showed Bowie and his girlfriend of the time Hermione wandering around a park to the track..

In a Marvel Comics 'What If' style scenario - imagine if Bowie had scored a hit with it, and not Frank - would he have still worked his way to Ziggy Stardom?

Gabbi said...

I love that Bab's covered Bowie :) and I actually like Shatner's song.... great post dear Mondo! xo

Planet Mondo said...

I've got a few more 'covera obscura' tunes here if you fancy grabbing them Gabbi...

this wheel's on fire said...

i've never heard her version before! and yes, i love the who. love doesn't even begin to describe it actually