Hero: The Main Man Records Tribute to David Bowie
First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2008, Volume 15, #1
Written by Matt Parish
Wed January 23, 2008, 07:30 AM CST
David Bowie’s monumental influence on music, fashion, and rock ’n‘ roll is no secret to an industry that is indebted to his originality and imagination. Now, finally, a laudatory record worthy of his genius has been released. Entitled Hero: The Main Man Records Tribute to David Bowie, the collection leaves one with feelings of true respect and gratitude for the man who broke all of the molds and paved the way for the multitudes that followed in his stardust-encrusted footsteps.
Clocking in at more than two hours in length, Hero could single-handedly and simultaneously reignite interest in glam and punk rock. Simply put, this incredible, two-disc collection of Bowie classics and deeper album cuts is a glorious record of remarkable interpretation. Don’t let the fact that you might not recognize some of the bands performing on the set scare you away. Their stellar, new versions, dare I say, equal or surpass their creator’s trailblazing sound and vision.
Still, at least a few of the guests featured on Hero will be immediately recognizable. Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper), Earl Slick (David Bowie), Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols), Clem Burke (Blondie), The Alarm, Rat Scabies (The Damned), Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle), and Enuff Z'Nuff are among the 30 artists who take shots at reinterpreting Bowie’s work. Even Mick Ronson’s fabled guitar, which graced many classic Bowie cuts, makes a special appearance during the Dennis Dunaway Project’s masterful recreation of Moonage Daydream. Here, guitarist and vocalist Rick Tedesco faithfully conjures Bowie’s haunting vocals and Mick Ronson’s soaring signature leads with equal amounts of respect for the past and a shimmering, swaggering look toward the future.
From Space Oddity (which appeared on Bowie’s 1969 effort Man of Words/Man of Music) to his cover of Jonathan Richman’s Pablo Picasso (which was featured on his 2003 endeavor Reality), the good folks at Main Man Records clearly worked overtime to cram as much as they could into Hero. Somehow, the label succeeded in its Herculean task by effectively distilling 34 years worth of music into a wildly diverse and innovative retrospective. Bowie’s signature song Changes long has been the mantra for this Hunky Dorian Gray’s career, and the brilliant, new interpretations featured on Hero can only help to widen his already Grand Canyon-esque appeal.
There are so many standout performances on Hero that to detail all 35 songs simply would be an exercise in gushing, repetitive praise. It is sufficient to say that if you are a Bowie aficionado, you will be blown away by the selection of songs as well as their treatments. Meanwhile, casual fans will find Hero to be a tremendous way to learn why Bowie’s vast and extraordinary catalog is held in such high regard by his legions of fans as well as by his peers.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box