This week sees two New York City tributes to Bowie, and it’s for that reason that former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe was in town, performing solo on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Specifically, Stipe performed a stripped down version of Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World.”
This is Stipe’s first televised performance since R.E.M. called it quits in 2011, and it’s a pretty good one. Maybe a little, uh, emo for the tastes of some folks, but it’s always nice to see a stripped back performance of Bowie from someone who cares about giving the song its proper due. Really, Gaga’s overdone tribute in February left such a bad taste in our mouths that something with a bit of subtlety is always A-OK at this point.
Watch the performance below.
This isn’t the first time Stipe has covered Bowie, either. In December of 2015, he covered Bowie’s “All the Young Dudes.” Recorded just four months ago, the growth in Stipe’s beard is seriously evident in the video, which you can watch below.