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Nick Cave Covers T. Rex’s ‘Cosmic Dancer’ for New Tribute Album ‘Angelheaded Hipster’

Compilation produced by the late Hal Willner will also feature U2, Elton John, Joan Jett, Kesha

Nick Cave shared a tender interpretation of T. Rex’s “Cosmic Dancer,” the first offering from the upcoming tribute compilation, Angelheaded Hipster, which was produced by the late Hal Willner. The record will arrive September 4th via BMG.

For his cover, Cave transformed “Cosmic Dancer” into a poignant piano ballad buoyed by a rich orchestral arrangement. The track arrived with a video of Cave and others recording the song in the studio, paired with a montage of archival footage of T. Rex.

Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex boasts renditions of 26 songs Bolan recorded between 1968 and 1977. Some big names on the comp include U2 and Elton John doing “Bang a Gong (Get It On),” Joan Jett doing “Jeepster,” Lucinda Williams doing “Life’s a Gas” and Kesha doing “Children of the Revolution.”

Devendra Banhart, Gaby Moreno, Emily Haines, John Cameron Mitchell, Father John Misty, Perry Farrell, Todd Rundgren and Sean Lennon also contributed to the LP, while Donald Fagen, Van Dyke Parks, Bill Frisell and Wayne Kramer will appear as special guests. The arrangements were crafted by Thomas Bartlett, Steven Bernstein, Eli Brueggemann, J.G. Thirlwell and Steve Weisberg. Bill Curbishley and Ethan Silverman conceived and executive produced the project.

Willner — who died of complications from COVID-19 in early April — produced an array of tribute compilations throughout his career, enlisting musicians to cover everything from Disney songs and old sea shanties to the music of Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and Leonard Cohen. Willner had been working on Angelheaded Hipster for several years, with sessions taking place all over in the world in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, London, Paris and Berlin.

“Hal had a unique vision of Marc Bolan’s music, and working on Angelheaded Hipster brought him great joy,” Rachel Fox, the comp’s supervising producer, said in a statement. “Speaking for those closest to him, we will forever be heartbroken at the untimely loss of our beloved friend and irreplaceable creative engine. Hal, who referred to Angelheaded Hipster as his ‘White Album,’ was eager for everyone to hear these beautiful songs and to start thinking about Bolan and T. Rex again. This album is a testament to Hal’s spirit.”

Angelheaded Hipster Tracklist

Disc One
1. “Children of the Revolution” – Kesha
2. “Cosmic Dancer” – Nick Cave
3. “Jeepster” – Joan Jett
4. “Scenescof” – Devendra Banhart
5. “Life’s a Gas” – Lucinda Williams
6. “Solid Gold, Easy Action” – Peaches
7. “Dawn Storm” – BØRNS
8. “Hippy Gumbo” – Beth Orton
9. “I Love to Boogie” – King Khan
10. “Beltane Walk” – Gaby Moreno
11. “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” – U2 feat. Elton John
12. “Diamond Meadows” – John Cameron Mitchell
13. “Ballrooms of Mars” – Emily Haines

Disc Two
1. “Main Man” – Father John Misty
2. “Rock On” – Perry Farrell
3. “The Street and Babe Shadow” – Elysian Fields
4. “The Leopards” – Gavin Friday
5. “Metal Guru” – Nena
6. “Teenage Dream” – Marc Almond
7. “Organ Blues” – Helga Davis
8. “Planet Queen” – Todd Rundgren
9. “Great Horse” – Jessie Harris
10. “Mambo Sun” – Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl
11. “Pilgrim’s Tale” – Victoria Williams with Julian Lennon
12. “Bang a Gong (Get It On) Reprise” – David Johansen
13. “She Was Born to Be My Unicorn / Ride A White Swan” – Maria McKee