The varied run of David Bowie tributes in recent months has revealed an emerging tacit consensus among his admirers: “Life on Mars” bears perhaps Bowie’s most gorgeous, iconic, and memorial-worthy melody. The latest rendition comes from none other than Jimmy Fallon, who performed the Hunky Dory classic on The Tonight Show Monday night, with an assist from Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
Fallon sings the song’s evocative lyrics over Martin’s impressive, nimble playing, and the Roots’ “Captain” Kirk Douglas cameos right on cue for the song’s guitar solo. Notably, while Fallon has musically impersonated his fair share of famous musicians (Bowie included), here he mostly eschews shtick—accent aside—for straightforward sincerity. The novel approach makes for an affecting performance, and a worthy addition to the tribute trove.