Chris Young’s David Bowie-Inspired New Song Is More Than a Spin-Off
Chris Young finds the nexus between timeless rock guitars and nostalgia-heavy, fresh country music in "Young Love & Saturday Nights," a blazing new song that weaves in the lick and melody from David Bowie's "Rebel, Rebel."
The concept of refurbishing classic songs is a hot one in country music right now. In June 2022, Cole Swindell's "She Had Me at Heads Carolina" came out, laying new brickwork over Jo Dee Messina's '90s country classic "Heads Carolina, Tails California." More recently, Jake Owen has put his own vacation-focused spin on Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again."
Young's song takes the trend one step further, and not only because the original hit he's sampling comes from a completely different genre. "Young Love" has no lyrics or story line in common with Bowie's 1974 original: A song about throwing gender stereotypes and constructs to the wind, its lyric describe dancing with a lover who defies traditional gender expectations. "You like me and I like it all / We like dancing and we look divine," Bowie sings.
The only part of that "Young Love & Saturday Nights" hangs onto is the iconic riff itself, and Bowie's rebellious spirit. Young's song is country through and through: A Chevy Silverado, a Southern drawl and a blue-eyed girl all feature prominently. This is much more a storyline about small-town nostalgia than it is about rebelling against societal norms.
Speaking to Taste of Country about the process of recording "Young Love & Saturday Nights," Young gushed about the freedom he felt to use a classic piece of Bowie's catalog to construct something entirely new.
"I love that we're leaning into being able to do that with certain songs," he says. "Being able to go, 'Hey, I wanna take this thing that I fell in love with, that I heard before, and make it new again — not just my cover of something. I love that."
And if he's able to introduce some younger fans to Bowie's music more broadly? All the better, the singer continues.
"I hope there's one person out there that stumbles upon this song, falls in love with it and then goes, 'Oh wait, that was from somebody else.' And finds his catalog, which is insane and legendary," Young goes on to say. "If I do that one time, I'll be proud of that one."
The singer adds that he worked hard to create a song that would bring longtime Bowie fans along for the ride into new territory. But ideally, "Young Love" will also shine a light on the source material.
"I would be so in love with that and so grateful."