1788. “Alabama Song” by David Bowie

Live in 2000 in Berlin:

Our final two songs from Bowie are his versions of a pair of songs by German playwright Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill. They are best known for “Mac The Knife” from The Threepenny Opera.

Their next best known song is “Alabama Song” from Mahagony – best known in America because of The Doors’ cover version. The song was written in oddly phrased English and is performed in that language, even when the rest of Mahagony is performed in German.

Bowie’s cover actually captures the song’s oddness a little better than The Doors’ version. That is not to say its better than The Doors’ version. Indeed, The Doors’ version is much more pleasant to listen to. Bowie’s version is closer to the way I’ve heard the song performed.

In the original, the song is sung by a chorus of prostitutes and “little girl” is (I think) “pretty boy.” Something about changing the phrase to “little girl” makes the song creepier.


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