One night in Houston, Texas, in January 2016 Madonna followed up her earlier online response to the death of David Bowie by covering one of his seventies standards: Rebel Rebel, an an out-and-out Stonesy rocker which was the lead single from his eighth studio album, Diamond Dogs, a 45 which was released, conveniently, 45 years ago in February 1974.
It‘s a fitting choice, given that Madge was still on her Rebel Heart tour, though Bowie’s register is a tad low for his quavery fellow art-pop provocateur, but, like Bruce Springsteen‘s gruffer one-off rendition four days later in Pittsburgh, the heart (and the strut) is definitely there. Happily, the singer explained her love for the Starman to the crowd:
If you haven’t heard about David Bowie, then look him up motherfuckers… He was one of the geniuses of the music industry, one of the greatest singer/songwriters of the 20th century, and he changed my life when I went to see him in concert in Detroit. He showed me that it was OK to be different. And he’s the first rebel heart that I laid eyes on, OK?
Causing a Commotion: 30 Stupid Things Madonna’s Done is here