Speed Reads

remembering david bowie

Listen to David Bowie's spot-on impressions of Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Neil Young, and more

The one thing that's certain about David Bowie's persona is that it was always shifting. And now, a recently unearthed recording provides another fascinating and candid look at Bowie's talent as a musical chameleon. During a 1985 recording session for the Absolute Beginners soundtrack, producer Mark Saunders was in the studio when Bowie decided to spoof some of his contemporaries — including Bruce Springsteen, Iggy Pop, Neil Young, and Lou Reed — for a few bars at a time.

"At the end of the session, he broke into the impersonations and I realized that these might get erased at some point, so I quickly put a cassette in and hit 'record,'" Saunders told The Talkhouse's Zach Staggers. The results are hilariously spot-on, and shine a light on a serious musician's deft sense of humor. Though Saunders hasn't clarified the order of the impressions, the general consensus is that Bowie tries his hand at singing like Bruce Springsteen, T.Rex's Marc Bolan, Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Anthony Newley, Iggy Pop, and Neil Young, in that order. Listen below. Samantha Rollins