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R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe Covered David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World”

There have been many David Bowie tributes since the musician’s death in January. Seemingly every artist has shared a Bowie anecdote or played a cover of a Bowie song in the past two months, and the granddaddy of all Bowie tributes arrives this week in New York City. On Thursday and Friday, 18 iconic musicians are gathering to play “The Music of David Bowie” at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, respectively.

Last night, to preface his performances at the upcoming shows, Michael Stipe performed an intimate cover of Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” on The Tonight Show. The song has seen little love in the cover heyday that’s followed Starman’s ascendance to cosmic realms (though it’s been rather famously covered in the past), and Stipe’s intimate rendition was a breath of fresh air. With just a piano accompanying him, the R.E.M. frontman and his prolific beard delivered a tender, barebones take on one of Bowie’s earliest hits.

If you were able to snag a ticket to one of the tributes this week, you can bet that Stipe will do the piece justice once again. He’ll be joined by Pixies, Blondie, The Roots, The Flaming Lips, Cat Power, J Mascis, Mumford & Sons, Amanda Palmer with Jherek Bishoff, Anna Calvi and the Kronos Quartet, and Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti. If you weren’t one of the lucky few to grab a ticket, fear not, the organization has teamed with Skype to livestream the Radio City show. The suggested donation for tuning in is $20 and all proceeds will benefit music education organizations.

Anybody out there heading to one of the tribute shows? Let us know in the comments.

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HT: Vulture

IMAGE: NBC

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