Here’s another one of David Bowie’s super camp covers of classic songs from Pinups. The original artist was Billy Boy Arnold, a minor Chicago blues musician who played with Bo Diddley. That’s probably not the version David Bowie heard and loved, though. That would be The Yardbirds’ version. I might be in a small minority here, but I think that The Yardbirds, though they sure knew how to pick guitarists, were one of the less interesting British Invasion bands. They played a sped-up blues-rock, and they played in well, but without the soulfulness of The Animals, the theatricality of The Who or the raw sex appeal of The Rolling Stones. Their cover of Arnold’s song was good, but not particularly memorable. No question, the original, being the original, is more authentic. David Bowie’s cover, though it hasn’t gone down in history as one of his greatest songs, is way on the other end of the spectrum from Billy Boy. It’s amped-up and dramatic, almost a pastiche of the British Invasion sound, and miles away from being recognizable blues. What Bowie’s intentions, aside from having a little fun in the studio, might have been, I don’t know. Maybe he wanted to make some kind of meta statement about musical identity and transformation. There’s a library’s worth of thesis papers waiting to be written about those things. For example, I could take off and write my thesis about David Bowie, a working class young British lad, appropriating American black identity via the already Anglified blues of The Yardbirds, and transmogrifying it into a pansexual non-gender-normative empowerment identity using his own hyper-camp androgynous image as the conduit, concurrently taking the musical language of racial delineation and turning it into a language of sexual and gender role transformation and identity creation. But that would be a pretentious thing to write. What he really did was take an obscure blues song and made it really gay.