Unknown Mortal Orchestra Cover David Bowie Song - Rolling Stone
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Hear Unknown Mortal Orchestra Cover David Bowie’s ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’

Psych-rock band played ‘Hunky Dory’ track for SiriusXMU performance

Unknown Mortal Orchestra recorded a faithful cover of David Bowie‘s 1971 glam rock classic “Oh! You Pretty Things” for the SiriusXMU channel. The psych-rock act recreated the Hunky Dory cut’s prominent piano and rhythmic shifts, with frontman Ruban Nielson adopting a Bowie-esque croon.

Bowie’s eclecticism is a crucial influence for Nielson, helping inspire the band’s 2015 LP, Multi-Love. “‘Young Americans,’ ‘Let’s Dance’ … that chunk of Bowie. As I got to know more about Bowie’s career, I discovered how important ‘Young Americans’ was to the ‘Berlin’ albums,” he told Redbull that year. 

“He kept the rhythm section from the ‘Young Americans’ session, when he had the idea to go to America and make a soul record. He stayed with Carlos Alomar and the drummer and bass player, so had this Harlem rhythm section all the way through to ‘Let’s Dance.’ But then he put Alomar and this Harlem R&B rhythm section in the same room with Robert Fripp and Brian Eno, and they didn’t see eye to eye at all. It created this weird chemistry.”

The band’s radio spot is part of their ongoing world tour behind their recently issued fourth LP, Sex & Food. The North American leg continues Wednesday, July 13th in Austin, Texas and concludes July 27th in Chicago, Illinois.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra previously promoted Sex & Food with a trio of animated videos for “Hunnybee,” “Not in Love We’re Just High” and “American Guilt.” 


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