In late November 1993, the planets aligned and something uncanny happened: Three different MTV Unplugged tapings in two days, unbeknownst to each other, all contained David Bowie covers. On November 17, 1993, Stone Temple Pilots chose to cover “Andy Warhol,” from 1971’s Hunky Dory, during their appearance, though it wasn’t televised. You can listen to the audio from the performance below.
Duran Duran’s set, taped the same day, found the band doing Bowie’s “TVC 15,” from 1976’s Station to Station, which was also cut from the final televised edition (and seemingly YouTube-unavailable), though it was a live staple for the band at the time.
Then, as the entire SPIN-reading world knows, Nirvana taped their Unplugged episode on November 18, 1993, famously bringing a whole new generation’s attention to Bowie’s 1970 classic “The Man Who Sold the World,” which you bet made it to air — it was Nirvana’s final hit and made the U.S. Top 40.
Together they form an eerie triptych, and a fitting tribute that bands as disparate as synthpop overlords and grunge arena heroes could find common ground in this singular, unpredictable artist.