Hear Jenny Lewis cover David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Neutral Milk Hotel, and more

Whether she's making music with Rilo Kiley, The Postal Service, Nice As Fuck, The Watson Twins, Jenny & Johnny, Serengeti, or solo, Jenny Lewis has a show-stealing flair, and the songs to match, that have made her an indie rock icon. Today (1/8) is her birthday, and in her honor, we've collected some videos and recordings of her putting her own unique spin on other artists' songs. Listen and watch those below.


"This is a Depeche Mode song...just kidding," Jenny Lewis introduces this Neutral Milk Hotel cover, recorded at a June 28, 2002 LA show, mere months before the release of The Execution of All Things, before teasing the crowd further with, "it's a Spin Doctor song...just kidding!" When she sings the unforgettable opening lines of the indie rock classic instead, the crowd goes nuts, and you can hear one person exclaim "this is my favorite song of all time!" Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) joined Rilo Kiley on pedal steel for this rendition, adding some country twang, and the original is further expanded upon with a mid-song guitar breakdown.



Jenny joined former Letterman musical director Paul Shaffer to pay tribute to David Bowie -- who she shares a birthday with -- with a cover of McCoys' "Sorrow," which Bowie covered on 1973's Pin Ups. Before that, though, on Rilo Kiley's 2004 tour supporting More Adventurous, she covered The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars track "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" a few times. This particular version is from San Francisco's Bottom of the Hill on January 14, and stays pretty stripped back throughout, getting into distorted territory towards the end.



Jenny has spoken about her love of Neil Young growing up, and she was joined by collaborators The Watson Twins at the October 2013 edition of his Bridge School Benefit where she delivered an acoustic version of his Silver & Gold track "Buffalo Springfield Again." "What a song," she exclaimed at the end of the rendition. She's since also dueted with Beck on a cover of "Harvest Moon" at Red Rocks Amphitheater in 2018.



Jenny recounted listening to Dylan's Time Out of Mind with her mother near the end of her life, and she recorded a demo of one of its tracks, "Standing in the Doorway," in the beginning stages of making her most recent album, 2019's On The Line. She also performed it live, backed by string players, at a St. Paul show for The Current.



"When I was 15, a friend invited me to see the Grateful Dead in Vegas," Jenny told Relix in a 2021 interview. "It was more of an event, something to do. I loved the environment and knew their records, but I didn’t understand musicianship on that level at the time. I started going really deep in my 30s—appreciating the whole thing on an improvisational level. You have to go through pop music and jazz, and then you arrive at the Grateful Dead. It’s just real music at a time when things are filtered out, auto-tuned and edited into oblivion." She covered their song "Shakedown Street" multiple times during tour dates supporting The Voyager in 2014 and 2015, and also joined Phosphorescent and friends on a rendition of "Sugaree" for Aaron and Bryce Dessner's Red Hot Organization benefit compilation, Day of the Dead.


See pictures from Jenny's 2019 Brooklyn show at Kings Theatre below.