The loss of David Bowie in January hit the music industry and fans hard, but he certainly hasn’t been forgotten. The iconic musician’s legacy has been evident in the record-breaking amount of streams he has racked up, the day named after him in New York City, and homages from fellow entertainers. Most recently, Jimmy Fallon and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin joined forces to honor the late singer with a cover of his 1971 hit Life on Mars? for The Tonight Show.
With Martin on piano, Fallon providing vocals, and Roots guitarist Captain Kirk Douglas performing a guitar solo, it comes together as a nice cover. It’s unlikely that anyone would rank it above the original, but it’s worth a listen. Although Martin and Douglas both outshine Fallon, he does a pretty decent Bowie impression.
The cover has a few comical moments for viewers as well. Midway through, Douglas seems to crash the party with his guitar in hand. He saunters into the shot, unceremoniously dumps his amp in Fallon’s lap, plays his short solo, and leaves as abruptly as he came. Later, as the final note fades out, Fallon pats Martin on the shoulder and encouragingly tells him, “Well, you keep working on it.”
The cover joins the ranks of the many, many others out there. Numerous versions of the song have emerged over the years, from Barbra Streisand’s in 1974 to Lorde’s tribute at the Brit Awards last month. Bowie originally dropped the song in 1971 on the album Hunky Dory, but then later released it as a single in 1973 to commercial success.
Fortunately for fans, Bowie’s old music isn’t all they have to remember him by. The musician was able to release a final album, Blackstar, just days before he lost his battle with cancer.