Well, last week’s blog post seems to have gone down well. It’s already one of this year’s most popular posts, and the feedback I’ve received so far leads me to believe that you like that sort of nonsense.
So, here’s some more.
Yes: today I present, for your enjoyment, even more ludicrous David Bowie covers. But instead of the obvious, we’re going to look at foreign-language covers of a couple of David’s early hits, namely Space Oddity and The Laughing Gnome.
First up is Spanish duo Hermanos Calatrava with their dreadful version of Bowie’s breakthrough hit, which I believe would translate as Curiosidad Del Espacio, but they kept the original title anyway. Hermanos Calatrava consist of brother brothers Manuel García Lozano (Manolo) and Francisco García Lozano (Paco), and are a pair of ‘comedians, parodists and singers’, according to their Wikipedia page. With their take on Space Oddity they’ve attempted to turn the song into some sort of satirical sketch, but it backfires spectacularly. Issued as the B-side to their 1974 single Gigi L’Amoroso, It’s just horrendous. The pair have been hamming it up since 1955: it’s about time they stopped.
Next is Italian band I Giganti with Corri Uomo Corri, a reasonable ‘straight’ version of Space Oddity that was issued in 1970, just a year after the original. It’s nothing like as bad as the Hermanos Calatrava version, although the member of the quartet who handles the introductory vocal (who, I believe, is drummer Enrico Papes) sounds to me like he needs surgery: no one should sound that much like a bullfrog naturally. The psychedelic keyboard solo is a nice touch. Popular in their native land between from the mid-60s until the early 70s, they split around 1972 but a new version of the band, featuring some original members, resurfaced in 2008, releasing an album of re-recordings of their early hits.
Incidentally, another Italian group, Computers, issued their own, vastly superior, version of the song, as Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola, a year earlier. That translates as Lonely Boy, Lonely Girl, and is the same title Bowie used for his own Italian-language version, which he recorded in London shortly before Christmas 1969: I have found a press cutting where his then-manager, ken Pitt, states that he recorded the vocals at the beginning of January 1970, but I believe he actually did the deed on December 20. Wikipedia claims that our old friends Equipe 84 recorded a version that same year, but that does not appear to be listed at Discogs, so this may be a mistake.
Finally, I’ll leave you with the utterly charming French yéyé singer Caroline, and her single Mister A Gogo, a fun but nutso version of The Laughing Gnome, issued in 1967 and now super-rare, commanding silly prices for the original single. I love this: I hope you will too!
Download Hermanos HERE
Download I Giganti HERE
Download Caroline HERE