Did Nine Inch Nails Release a David Bowie Cover Last Year?
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At their first concert in three years last night, Nine Inch Nails covered “I Can’t Give Anything Away,” a track from David Bowie‘s final album, Blackstar. Now, sharp ears have noticed that it sounds similar to a version of the song that surfaced anonymously last year.
Stereogum noted that, last December, a “Farewell Mix” of Bowie’s tune was uploaded to Soundcloud by someone calling themselves “thisisthenumbernineteen,” and it has a similar arrangement. There is no other information about the user, and this is the only song he/she has uploaded. We’ve embedded Nine Inch Nails’ performance from last night above and the Soundcloud widget below so you can compare the two.
Bowie and Trent Reznor cemented their friendship in 1995, when Nine Inch Nails served as the opening act on Bowie’s Outside tour. Shortly after Bowie’s 2016 death, Reznor opened up about what Bowie, both as a musician and a friend, meant to him. “He was a tremendous inspiration in terms of what was possible,” he wrote, “what the role of an entertainer could be, that there are no rules. … One of the greatest moments of my life was standing onstage next to David Bowie while he sang ‘Hurt’ with me. I was outside of myself, thinking, ‘I’m standing onstage next to the most important influence I’ve ever had, and he’s singing a song I wrote in my bedroom.’ It was just an awesome moment.”
Reznor added that, during that tour, he was drinking heavily, and that Bowie had subtly nudged him in the direction of sobriety. A few years later, Reznor went to see Bowie in Los Angeles to thank him for his help. “I was met with warmth, and grace, and love,” Reznor continued. “And I started to say, ‘Hey listen, I’ve been clean for…’ I don’t even think I finished the sentence; I got a big hug. And he said, ‘I knew. I knew you’d do that. I knew you’d come out of that.’ I have goosebumps right now just thinking about it. It was another very important moment in my life.”
Listen to thisisthenumbernineteen’s Cover of “I Can’t Give Anything Away”
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