Dave Gahan & Mark Lanegan cover David Bowie’s “Cat People”; Marilyn Manson too
by Joseph Schafer
“Cat People” is my karaoke song. The second-to-last song on David Bowie’s 1983 smash hit "Let’s Dance" was a standout on an otherwise peppy album by Bowie’s standards. Co-written by Italian disco legend Giorgio Moroder (who has an interesting event coming up) and featuring a blistering guitar solo by Stevie Ray Vaughn, it’s a creeping and gothic torch jam, one that took Bowie’s sexual frustration and unrequited lust and blew them up in cinematic fashion.
Cinematic is the keyword here. “Cat People” was written as the end credits song for a Paul Schrader's 1982 horror film of the same name. The film soundtrack edit of the song – which doubles down on its creeping intro – has experienced a boom in popularity since Quentitn Tarantino injected it into one of the most memorable sequences in Inglorious Basterds. That’s where I first heard the tune, and I’ve been obsessed with it since.
And I’m not alone. Marilyn Manson recently recorded a cover with Shooter Jennings, and sings “Cat People” as his pre-show warmup (not that it does him any good).
Manson’s cover is great, but not stellar. A new version by Martyn Lenoble of Porno for Pyros and for-hire skinsman Christian Eigner is much superior, thanks in no small part to a vocal tag-team effort by Mark Lanegan and David Gahan of Depeche Mode. Gahan sticks to the harmonies, but Lanegan swings for the fences. His oil-soaked rag of a voice doesn’t have Bowie’s range, but his restrained take somehow ratchets the song’s tension up even higher. Some Hammond organ flourishes give everything a vintage Doors-ish feeling. It’s a stellar tribute to Bowie. Proceeds from the single will go to the American Liver Foundation. Grab it on Bandcamp or Amazon or iTunes. Listen here:
Speaking of Bowie tributes, Seu Jorge recently added more Life Aquatic shows.
And Here's the "Cat People" original: