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I, I wish you could swim / Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
April 2, 2014 1:16 PM   Subscribe

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
We can be heroes, just for one day
posted by Going To Maine (51 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
One more.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:18 PM on April 2


If you had just one cover of Bowie's Heroes that is linked in this post to recommend to us, which would it be?

I didn't much like Bowie's original, but I imagine someone has probably done something nice with it that you've linked here.
posted by zarq at 1:25 PM on April 2


You link the single edit, but its worth linking the superior full length album version.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:25 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


And, of course, at around the 2:00 mark here.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:27 PM on April 2


Even more.
posted by Aznable at 1:27 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


If you had just one cover of Bowie's Heroes that is linked in this post to recommend to us, which would it be?

Try the second "I" through the first "And". (Inclusive.)
posted by Going To Maine at 1:30 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Going To Maine: "Try the second "I" through the first "And". (Inclusive.)"

Thanks! I appreciate it!
posted by zarq at 1:35 PM on April 2


This was THE soundtrack to my last year as a free-range teenager in San Francisco, 1977-78. I had no idea about the Berlin wall, but man, what heady days those were.

zarq: what ev-arr.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:35 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


Also, 9/10ths of the German I know is due to my 45 rpm copy of Bowie's german-language version Helden, that I picked up in '82 or so. I used to love shouting along:

"Ich glaubte zu träumen!
die Mauer!
Im Rücken war kalt!
Schüsse reissen die Luft!
Doch wir küssen!
Als ob nichts geschieht!
Und die Scham fiel auf ihre seite!
Oh, wir können sie schlagen!
Für alle zeiten!
Dann sind wir Helden!
Für diesen Tag!"
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:41 PM on April 2 [11 favorites]


I've always been partial to the Blondie version (the first "them"), but that's a pretty straight cover.
posted by ckape at 1:41 PM on April 2


I always liked the Aphex Twin version for just being plain weird.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:45 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


I didn't much like Bowie's original

I'm sorry, this phrase sends up a syntax error. Could you reword your statement and try again?
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:48 PM on April 2 [36 favorites]


*cough*
posted by COBRA! at 1:49 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Let's take this chance to enjoy the whole Heroes Album.

Side A:

Beauty and the Beast
Joe The Lion
Heroes (again)
Sons of the Silent Age (Best song on the album? Why, yes, thank you)
Blackout

Side B:

V-2 Schneider (inspired by Kraftwerk)
Sense of Doubt
Moss Garden
Neuköln
The Secret Life of Arabia
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:12 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]


I didn't see this one.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:12 PM on April 2


<3 V2 Schneider
posted by planetesimal at 2:21 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Best song on the album? Why, yes, thank you

Agreed. And the Philip Glass version is quite interesting. Re: the title song, also great, especially auf Deutsch (eventually found my 45 in a Regensburg record store in 1978). I'm unfamiliar with any of these covers, I'll investigate later but frankly, don't see the point.
(A cardinal rule of mine is, The Original Is Always The Best.)
posted by Rash at 2:32 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Et en francais.

Zarq. Go to your room. You've let everybody down, but most of all you've let yourself down. Now think about that and come down when you're ready to apologize.
posted by merocet at 2:35 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


Now do a post for any song by Jeff Buckley!!
posted by Fizz at 2:40 PM on April 2


Peter Gabriel's makes me sob, every time. I don't know how, but it reaches deep into my mind and finds the painful childhood nostalgia button and just punches the crap out of it.
posted by greenish at 2:40 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


There's this one too. (Celtic Frost)
posted by mukade at 2:42 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


I'm going to go through all the covers and see if they all make me cry like the original does. I bet they do. It's one of Those Songs for me.

Maybe I shouldn't do this at work, though.
posted by rtha at 2:51 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Bowie, man.

Bowie.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:56 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


Also, obligatory link to the Pushing Ahead of the Dame site's epic entry on the song.
posted by merocet at 3:04 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


Devils Rancher: "zarq: what ev-arr."

merocet: "Zarq. Go to your room. You've let everybody down, but most of all you've let yourself down. Now think about that and come down when you're ready to apologize."

Sorry! *hangs head*
posted by zarq at 3:05 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


This is my favorite song of all time.

That's all.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:10 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


I've always thought of this song as Bowie's love letter to Lou Reed. It's so very Reed in it's phrasing and structure, it could fit quite nicely on side 2 of White Light/White Heat.

Nice post. I've only heard about half of these.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:13 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


I've always thought of this song as Bowie's love letter to Lou Reed.

There are some gems in this YouTube search, including Reed/Bowie duets, but I haven't found if Reed ever covered Heroes. I can totally hear him singing it, though, you're right.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:32 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


V-2 Schneider yt (inspired by Kraftwerk)

One very late Bowie-fuelled night, I invented a "cocktail" that takes its name from this fucking amazing track. (1) Take a 500ml can of Scrumpy Jack and empty it into a pint glass. (2) Top this glass up with Stone's Ginger Wine. (3) Enjoy a relaxing and invigorating V-2 Cider.
posted by howfar at 4:21 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


howfar, I'm pretty sure you have to chase it with a speedball, but otherwise that's perfect. And much wiser.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:11 PM on April 2


I don't care if its Bowie, and I know zarq can stand up for himself, but even sarcastically making fun of someone for a difference opinion is pretty tiring.

Also, Bob Dylan puts the lie to the claim that the Original Is Always the Best.
posted by blue t-shirt at 5:31 PM on April 2


I'm just sad that I didn't make a bigger deal about the Monae cover, because then this thread would be full of folks fighting about afrofuturism.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:36 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Tony Visconti rigged up a system, a creative misuse of gating that may be termed "multi-latch gating", of three microphones to capture the epic vocal, with one microphone nine inches from Bowie, one 20 feet away and one 50 feet away. Only the first was opened for the quieter vocals at the start of the song, with the first and second opening on the louder passages, and all three on the loudest parts, creating progressively more reverb and ambience the louder the vocals became. Each microphone is muted as the next one is triggered. "Bowie's performance thus grows in intensity precisely as ever more ambience infuses his delivery until, by the final verse, he has to shout just to be heard....The more Bowie shouts just to be heard, in fact, the further back in the mix Visconti's multi-latch system pushes his vocal tracks, creating a stark metaphor for the situation of Bowie's doomed lovers".
posted by brevator at 5:57 PM on April 2 [12 favorites]


No fighting about afrofuturism. Just dancing about afrofuturism.
posted by Jeanne at 6:20 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Brevator - I know a lot of the back story/mythology of the track, but reading that while listening to it is revelatory. Thank you.
posted by Devonian at 6:24 PM on April 2


Wow, I am really digging the Nena version. Gianluigi Cavallo is also aces.

To me, what makes this song so perfect is its simple chord structure and driving 4/4 beat throbbing under those impassioned vocals. The more you stray from any one those, the more the song loses its essence. So I enjoy the straight covers more than the experimental (metal, jazz, folk) attempts. YMMV.
posted by stargell at 7:02 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


My favourite Bowie album I think. And Robert Fripp's guitar work on this is great.
posted by carter at 7:15 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


no time to browse the 'tube...the version here is to my mind second only to the original...Reeves Gabrels makes the best guitar noise since RF.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:11 PM on April 2


I didn't much like Bowie's original, but I imagine someone has probably done something nice with it that you've linked here.

"Heroes" had to grow on me. When I first heard it, I was like, "That's it? Why the hell is this such a hit?" but now I thoroughly appreciate it. It's a subtle one.

I say this as someone who once owned every David Bowie album and was near-obsessed with him.

Choosing between Sons of the Silent Age and V-2 Schneider is near impossible for me. I think maybe Sons of the Silent Age wins because of David Bowie's crooning "baby, baby" section. Beauty and the Beast a nice third.
posted by quincunx at 8:19 PM on April 2


(Nothing will ever beat "Soul Love" though. That and Young Americans.)
posted by quincunx at 8:26 PM on April 2


Yeah, Fripp. Some of his other work with Bowie is downright grating, but somehow his thing blended utterly seamlessly here. I hope he got points.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:44 PM on April 2


When we were younger, there was an awesome Greek drive-in on 63rd street.
After a few joints, our friend Mike would start singing " We could eat gyros - just for one day."

Whoever was driving knew where we were going next. Tzatziki heaven.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 9:31 PM on April 2


I love the way Bowie nailed it at the Concert for NYC. Starts slow, almost blase and then the song takes him up up up. Left me with chills the first time I saw it.
posted by Ber at 9:43 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Ahh memories, this was the first dance song for me and my wife at our wedding, 20 years ago.
posted by alfanut at 9:19 AM on April 3


I'm surprised you didn't have this one under "king".
posted by Grangousier at 9:48 AM on April 3


I'm surprised you didn't have this one yt under "king".

The ordering was largely based on trying to keep things from the same country a word apart, to mixed effect. I'm surprised that that one didn't pop up in my search.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:34 AM on April 3


Yeah, my favourite cover is still Peter Gabriel's. Though in some ways it sounds nothing like the original with the driving beat and rhythm, somehow he takes the emotion in the original and transmutes it into the slowly building cello and strings and then it just hits that peak... yup, like an arrow straight in the heart.

That being said, some of the other ones are pretty good too. I liked the Coal Porters one quite a bit, great fiddle! I confess some I did have to stop partway through so I could rock back and forth with my hands over my ears. Still, great set; thanks for the post.

But why do so many people start their covers with the chorus and not with the first verse ("I, I will be king" instead of "I, I wish I could swim")? Weird.
posted by Athanassiel at 3:20 AM on April 4


D'oh. Strike that last comment from the record.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:37 AM on April 4


Ever since I saw this post a few days ago I've had "for ev-ah and ev-ah" going through my head.

lumpenprole: I've always thought of this song as Bowie's love letter to Lou Reed. It's so very Reed in it's phrasing and structure, it could fit quite nicely on side 2 of White Light/White Heat.

From the Pushing Ahead of the Dame entry linked above: “Heroes” had a “plodding rhythm and tempo,” Bowie later said, which was intentional: it was another reworking of “I’m Waiting For the Man,” a song that had obsessed Bowie for ten years. Eno and Bowie, considering the ’70s German bands the natural heirs to the Velvet Underground, had taken the VU drone and translated it into motorik.

I was also very surprised to see that this single never even made the U.S. Hot 100 — to me it's such a perfect blend of a unique artistic vision and pure pop sensibilities. What were U.S. commercial-radio deejays on in the late '70s? (Never mind...)
posted by lisa g at 4:48 PM on April 4


Kids havin' fun.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:37 PM on April 4


The cockroaches from Joe's Apartment.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:28 PM on April 4


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