This is a David Bowie song that I gath­er was most­ly for­got­ten  —  I’d cer­tain­ly nev­er heard it  —  until it popped up on Nirvana’s MTV Un­plugged In New York. This was in 1993, af­ter which Bowie ap­par­ent­ly added it to his reg­u­lar live set; which is cool.

Kurt Cobain on unplugged

The whole Un­plugged set is great; it doesn’t have any Nir­vana chest­nut­s, just ob­scure num­bers and cov­er­s. My second-favorite song on it is Plateau, for which a few Meat Pup­pets joined the band and has the im­mor­tal lyric You see a lot up there but don’t be scared / Who needs ac­tion when you got word­s. But gimme a break, this is one of Bowie’s best and Kurt didn’t put any of his own on the record, so I think it’s the one to pick.

I can’t even type Kurt Cobain’s name with­out get­ting all sad. So much tal­ent ex­plod­ing out of him, even with his am­a­teur­ish car­ry­ing on and lack of show­man­ship, the mu­sic was still so great so of­ten; he was maybe the great­est song­writ­er of his gen­er­a­tion. Here’s a little-known fact about me; I once had a gig writ­ing for au­dio­phile mag The Ab­so­lute Sound, and I wrote Kurt’s obit­u­ary.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This tune on Ama­zon, iTunes, Spo­ti­fy. There’s live video of this per­for­mance; wow, 174 mil­lion views. See, these Songs of the Day are main­stream mu­sic. Oh wait, I for­got Bowie; here’s a spooky per­for­mance with a band that’s way sharp­er than Nir­vana, and a nice straight-ahead elec­tric take; but for me, Kurt will own this song forever.

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March 21, 2018
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