Space Oddity

David Bowie

About Space Oddity

"Space Oddity" is a song written and recorded by David Bowie. It was first released as a 7-inch single on 11 July 1969. It was also the opening track of his second studio album, David Bowie. It became one of Bowie's signature songs and one of four of his songs to be included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Inspired by Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), the song is about the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut, and was released during a period of great interest in space flight. The United States' Apollo 11 mission would launch five days later and would become the first manned moon landing another five days after that. The lyrics have also been seen to lampoon the British space programme, which was, and still is, an unmanned project. Bowie revisited his Major Tom character in the songs "Ashes to Ashes", "Hallo Spaceboy" and possibly the music video for "Blackstar". "Space Oddity" was Bowie's first single to chart in the UK. It reached the top five on its initial release and received the 1970 Ivor Novello Special Award for Originality. His second album, originally released as David Bowie in the UK, was renamed after the track for its 1972 re-release by RCA Records and became known by this name. In 1975, upon re-release as part of a maxi-single, the song became Bowie's first UK No. 1 single. In 2013, the song gained renewed popularity following its recording 44 years after Bowie by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who performed the song (with slightly revised lyrics) while aboard the International Space Station, and therefore became the first music video shot in space. In January 2016, the song re-entered singles charts around the world following Bowie's death, which included becoming Bowie's first single to top the French Singles Chart. The song also ranked as third on iTunes on 12 January 2016. 


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David Bowie

David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 - 10 January 2016), known by his stage name David Bowie ( /ˈboʊ.i/ BOH-ee), was an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. He is known for his distinctive voice as well as the intellectual depth and considerable eclecticism of his work. more »

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14 facts about this song

Release Date
"Space Oddity" was released on 11th July 1969, coinciding with the Apollo 11 moon landing which took place on 16th July that same year.
The song was directly influenced by Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey."
“Space Oddity” was one of David Bowie’s most popular songs, reaching No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart in 1969 and No.15 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1973.
Re-release Success
On its re-release in 1975, the song topped the UK Singles Chart, catapulting Bowie's career to new heights.
The song narrates the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut who becomes lost in space. The lyrics portray a mix of technology and existentialism.
The song won the Ivor Novello Special Award for Originality in 1970.
Music Video
The music video for the song, which sees Bowie as Major Tom, was one of the first to be filmed in a specially prepared television studio.
Later Albums Reference
The character Major Tom reappears in several later Bowie songs, including "Ashes to Ashes", "Hallo Spaceboy", "Blackstar" and "Space Oddity's" sequel, "Dollar Days".
Influence on Culture
The phrase "Ground Control to Major Tom" has since become a synonym for connection loss or the feeling of being adrift, detached, or lost.
Cover Versions
Numerous artists have covered the song over the years, including Smashing Pumpkins, Chris Hadfield (the first rendition recorded in space), and Kristen Wiig and David Bowie himself in the film "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."
Use in Cinema
The song has been used in various film soundtracks, including "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and Christiane F. - We Children from Bahnhof Zoo.
Space Connection
In May 2013, astronaut Chris Hadfield performed a cover of the song aboard the International Space Station. The resulting video became a hit and was the first-ever music video shot in space.
Bowie's Comments
Despite the song's success, Bowie himself had mixed feelings about it, calling it a "novelty record" that "isn't a particularly good, a good song." However, he noted that the public's affection for it was "so great" that he would "definitely include it" in his live sets.
"Space Oddity" was one of 25 songs added to the National Recording Registry of the U.S. Library of Congress for preservation because of their cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance.

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    Space Oddity

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    Top Hot 100 Songs 1973

    Billboard #15



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