Reggae cover of David Bowie's classic. It works slightly better than you'd suppose.
Year of Release: 1981
It never ceases to amaze me how many unexpected and ambitious reggae cover versions there are out there. Some work, whereas others set their sights high and miss by miles.
In 1981, Eddy Grant's brother Rudy, not content with stopping at one or two singles, decided to recording an album of covers which contained some unusual but generally workable choices, such as John Lennon's "Woman", Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence", and Stevie Wonder's "Lately". All of these attempts hang together well, and in the case of the Simon and Garfunkel classic, amazingly so.
This, however, is on dangerous territory. While the original version of "Space Oddity" may have a catchy melody at its centre, it's filled with odd fits and starts and instrumental diversions - which is what elevated the song above the mere 'novelty' tag some felt keen to give it during its initial chart run. It's an enormously sprawling, filmic sounding track with each flourish adding drama to the lyrical storyline. As such, it's a very tricky song to tack a steady reggae beat on to, and the way Rudy sidesteps this is quite interesting.