David Bowie Sends a Christmas Greeting in the Voice of Elvis Presley (and Sings “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You”)

After David Bowie died in 2016, we dis­cov­ered that the musi­cian had a knack for doing impres­sions of fel­low celebri­ties. Could he sing a song in the style of Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, and Bruce Spring­steen? Turns out, he could. And yes, he could do an Elvis impres­sion too.

The clip above aired back in 2013 on “This Is Radio Clash,” a radio show host­ed by the Clash’s Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Top­per Head­on. “Hel­lo every­body,” this is David Bowie mak­ing a tele­phone call from the US of A. At this time of the year I can’t help but remem­ber my British-ness and all the jol­ly British folk, so here’s to you and have your­selves a Mer­ry lit­tle Christ­mas and a Hap­py New Year. Thank you very much.”

It’s maybe not as mem­o­rable as his 1977 Christ­mas duet with Bing Cros­by, but, hey, it’s still a fun lit­tle way to get the hol­i­day sea­son in swing.

Bonus: Below hear Bowie sing Pres­ley’s clas­sic “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.” I had­n’t heard it before, and it’s a treat.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Bowie Sings Impres­sions of Bruce Spring­steen, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits & More In Stu­dio Out­takes (1985)

Watch Bing Crosby’s Final Christ­mas Spe­cial, Fea­tur­ing a Famous Duet with Bowie, and Bowie Intro­duc­ing His New Song, “Heroes” (1977)

Pro­duc­er Tony Vis­con­ti Breaks Down the Mak­ing of David Bowie’s Clas­sic “Heroes,” Track by Track

 

Threads Now Available in Europe & UK (Plus the US): Get Our Daily Culture Posts There at @OpenCulture

Threads is on the rise. After get­ting released in over 100 coun­tries (includ­ing the US and UK) ear­li­er this year, Meta has just made Threads avail­able in the EU. And that’s where we’re now shar­ing our dai­ly posts, along with oth­er objects of cul­tur­al inter­est. If you sign up, please search for @openculture, and give us a fol­low. Or just click right here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Hunter S. Thompson Sets His Christmas Tree on Fire, Nearly Burning His House Down (1990)

It was some­thing of a Christ­mas rit­u­al at Hunter S. Thomp­son’s Col­orado cab­in, Owl Farm. Every year, his sec­re­tary Deb­o­rah Fuller would take down the Christ­mas tree and leave it on the front porch rather than dis­pose of it entire­ly. That’s because Hunter, more often than not, want­ed to set it on fire. In 1990, Sam Allis, a writer for then for­mi­da­ble TIME mag­a­zine, vis­it­ed Thomp­son’s home and watched the fiery tra­di­tion unfold. He wrote:

I gave up on the inter­view and start­ed wor­ry­ing about my life when Hunter Thomp­son squirt­ed two cans of fire starter on the Christ­mas tree he was going to burn in his liv­ing-room fire­place, a few feet away from an unopened wood­en crate of 9‑mm bul­lets. That the tree was far too large to fit into the fire­place mat­tered not a whit to Hunter, who was sport­ing a dime-store wig at the time and resem­bled Tony Perkins in Psy­cho. Min­utes ear­li­er, he had smashed a Polaroid cam­era on the floor.

Hunter had decid­ed to video­tape the Christ­mas tree burn­ing, and we lat­er heard on the replay the ter­ri­fied voic­es of Deb­o­rah Fuller, his long­time sec­re­tary-baby sit­ter, and me off-cam­era plead­ing with him, “NO, HUNTER, NO! PLEASE, HUNTER, DON’T DO IT!” The orig­i­nal man­u­script of Hell’s Angels was on the table, and there were the bul­lets. Noth­ing doing. Thomp­son was a man pos­sessed by now, full of the Chivas Regal he had been slurp­ing straight from the bot­tle and the gin he had been mix­ing with pink lemon­ade for hours.

The wood­en man­tle above the fire­place appar­ent­ly still has burn marks on it today.

Note: An ear­li­er ver­sion of this post appeared on our site in 2015.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hunter S. Thompson’s Har­row­ing, Chem­i­cal-Filled Dai­ly Rou­tine

Hunter S. Thomp­son Chill­ing­ly Pre­dicts the Future, Telling Studs Terkel About the Com­ing Revenge of the Eco­nom­i­cal­ly & Tech­no­log­i­cal­ly “Obso­lete” (1967)

Hear the 10 Best Albums of the 1960s as Select­ed by Hunter S. Thomp­son

Hunter S. Thomp­son, Exis­ten­tial­ist Life Coach, Gives Tips for Find­ing Mean­ing in Life

You Can Get Open Culture Posts on Threads, Mastodon, Post, & Other Social Media Platforms

As Twit­ter decays, we want to remind you that you can find posts from Open Cul­ture on oth­er social media plat­forms. Find us now on Threads, where have 900+ fol­low­ers in the first 24 hours. We’re also on Mastodon, Post, Blue Sky, and Face­book. Or get our dai­ly email newslet­ter. Pick your favorite and keep tabs on our dai­ly posts.…

Kraftwerk’s “The Robots” Performed by German 1st Graders in Cute Cardboard Robot Costumes

“Teach your chil­dren well” sang Cros­by, Stills and Nash once upon a long ago, and that adage could be para­phrased as “make sure your stu­dents don’t grow up learn­ing sub­stan­dard pop songs. Give them a real edu­ca­tion.” An enter­pris­ing ele­men­tary school teacher in Mom­bach, a dis­trict of the Rhineland city of Mainz, did so in 2015, dress­ing up his stu­dents from Lemm­chen Ele­men­tary in their own hand­made robot out­fits and teach­ing them to sing the clas­sic 1978 Kraftwerk hit “The Robots” (or “Robot­er” if you own the Ger­man ver­sion, which you can hear below).

While the orig­i­nal prog-rock­ers turned elec­tron­ic demigods tried to strip away as much of their human­i­ty when play­ing live, you just can’t do it with kids. They’re just too cute, and their wob­bly, shuf­fling attempts to be machines only warms the heart more. (Could their par­ents tell who was who, I won­der?) Their ver­sion of the music is sim­i­lar­ly charm­ing and pret­ty faith­ful, though it’s pos­si­bly played by instruc­tor Lars Reimer. (An old­er class shows their faces and plays instru­ments in a more recent video, a cov­er of “Tanz” by Stop­pok.) So yes, Mr. Reimer, you’re pass­ing on some good musi­cal taste.

Though Kraftwerk was often thought of as cold and arti­fi­cial when they first arrived on the inter­na­tion­al music scene, the inter­ven­ing years have only empha­sized the roman­tic beau­ty of their (most­ly major key) melodies. (See for exam­ple the Bal­anes­cu Quartet’s ren­di­tion of the same song below.)

Note: An ear­li­er ver­sion of this post appeared on our site in 2016.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ele­men­tary School Kids Sing David Bowie’s “Space Odd­i­ty” & Oth­er Rock Hits: A Cult Clas­sic Record­ed in 1976

Kraftwerk’s First Con­cert: The Begin­ning of the End­less­ly Influ­en­tial Band (1970)

One Man Shows You How to Play Kraftwerk’s “The Robots” with Just One Syn­the­siz­er

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

A Star Wars Film Made in a Wes Anderson Aesthetic

Above, you can watch the Galac­tic Menagerie, “a whim­si­cal and visu­al­ly stun­ning fan-made fake trail­er that reimag­ines the clas­sic Star Wars uni­verse through the eccen­tric lens of Wes Ander­son. This enchant­i­ng mashup brings togeth­er icon­ic Star Wars char­ac­ters with Ander­son­’s trade­mark sym­met­ri­cal com­po­si­tions, pas­tel col­or palettes, and quirky humor.” There are also, of course, “pecu­liar loca­tions rem­i­nis­cent of Ander­son­’s beloved films such as Moon­rise King­dom and The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Enjoy!

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Wes Ander­son Goes Sci-Fi in 1950s Amer­i­ca: Watch the Trail­er for His New Film Aster­oid City

Wes Ander­son Explains How He Writes and Directs Movies, and What Goes Into His Dis­tinc­tive Film­mak­ing Style

How the Aston­ish­ing Sushi Scene in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs Was Ani­mat­ed: A Time-Lapse of the Month-Long Shoot

A Com­plete Col­lec­tion of Wes Ander­son Video Essays

Benedict Cumberbatch Reads a Letter to People Who Don’t Lock Bathroom Doors

In April 2018, author Andrew For­rester wrote an open let­ter to “Peo­ple Who Don’t Make Every Con­ceiv­able Effort to Ensure that the Bath­room Door is Locked.” And now Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch has read it, and read it well. This read­ing took place at Let­ters Live, an event cel­e­brat­ing the pow­er of lit­er­ary cor­re­spon­dence, held at Lon­don’s Roy­al Albert Hall. You can find oth­er Cum­ber­batch read­ings in the Relat­eds below.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch & Ian McK­ellen Read Epic Let­ters Writ­ten by Kurt Von­negut

Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch Reads “the Best Cov­er Let­ter Ever Writ­ten”

Hear Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch Read­ing Let­ters by Kurt Von­negut, Alan Tur­ing, Sol LeWitt, and Oth­ers

Gnome Chomsky: The Indispensable Ornament for the Thinking Person’s Garden

Images via Just­SayG­nome

The Noam Chom­sky Gar­den Gnome. That’s right, I said it, the Noam Chom­sky Gar­den Gnome.

Over at justsaygnome.net, you can buy “Gnome Chom­sky the Gar­den Noam.” Here’s is how it’s gen­er­al­ly described:

Just over one foot in height, the ful­ly paint­ed Gnome Chom­sky the Gar­den Noam (Ver­sion II) stands relaxed and con­fi­dent in his classy gnome clothes, hat and glass­es. Equipped with a cou­ple books on an author­i­ta­tive pil­lar, he’s ready to give your gar­den or home a big infu­sion of insight­ful gnome polit­i­cal per­spec­tive. A sol­id foun­da­tion base com­plete with a carved title assures that Gar­den Noam will be well-bal­anced and helps inform any­one who may not imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nize him of the iden­ti­ty of this hand­some and schol­ar­ly gnome.

The gnome costs $228.00 paint­ed and $124 unpaint­ed (plus ship­ping). And if you’re inter­est­ed, you can also get Howard the Zinn Monk and BerGnome Sanders.

In putting this post togeth­er, I spot­ted an old com­ic bit that took the idea of a Noam Gar­den Gnome as its premise. You can watch it below.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Noam Chom­sky on Chat­G­PT: It’s “Basi­cal­ly High-Tech Pla­gia­rism” and “a Way of Avoid­ing Learn­ing”

Clash of the Titans: Noam Chom­sky & Michel Fou­cault Debate Human Nature & Pow­er on Dutch TV, 1971

Noam Chom­sky Explains the Best Way for Ordi­nary Peo­ple to Make Change in the World, Even When It Seems Daunt­ing

Noam Chom­sky Defines What It Means to Be a Tru­ly Edu­cat­ed Per­son

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.