Song Lyric Sunday — Space Oddity

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams is leveraging a suggestion from Di, at Pensitivity101, to use the words Space, Planets, or Aliens as our theme. I decided to run with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

“Space Oddity” was written and recorded by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was first released on 11 July 1969 as a single, and then as the opening track of his second studio album, David Bowie. Its release was timed to coincide with the moon landing, but while the song received critical praise when it was first released, it sold poorly in the U.K. and found a very small audience in America. But following the commercial breakthrough of Ziggy Stardust in 1972, RCA Records reissued “Space Oddity” as a single in the U.S., where it peaked at number 15, becoming Bowie’s first U.S. hit.

Bowie wrote this after seeing the 1968 Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. “Space Oddity” is a play on the phrase “Space Odyssey,” although the title does not appear in the lyrics. Bowie said that he was very stoned when he went to see it, and it was really a revelation to him. It got the song flowing.

The song tells the story a fictional astronaut named Major Tom, who is informed by Ground Control that a malfunction has occurred in his spacecraft. But Major Tom does not get the message because he either misses it or is in such awe of outer space that he does not hear it. Eventually, Major Tom, cuts off communication with Earth and floats into space.

Some Bowie followers have claimed that Bowie’s Major Tom, floating helplessly in outer space, represented a Sixties counterculture hopelessness about political reform (“Planet Earth is blue / And there’s nothing I can do”). Others have suggested that the song was reflective of Bowie’s loneliness and heartache following his break-up with his girlfriend, Hermione Farthingale, which deeply affected him.

Here are the lyrics to “Space Oddity.”

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

(Ten)
Ground Control
(Nine)
To Major Tom
(Eight, seven, six)
Commencing countdown
(Five)
Engines on
(Four, three, two)
Check ignition
(One)
And may God’s love
(Lift-off)
Be with you

This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much
She knows

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you he—

Here am I floating ’round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

18 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Space Oddity

  1. SadiRose February 6, 2022 / 3:13 am

    I seriously considered using this amazing song. Glad someone did!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. writerravenclaw February 6, 2022 / 3:19 am

    David Bowie was ahead of his time, and I remember this song when it was in the charts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango February 6, 2022 / 11:36 am

      It has turned out to one of his most popular songs.

      Like

  3. Maryanne February 6, 2022 / 5:16 am

    Love Bowie. Saw him perform twice, in 1984 and 1987. Also walked right passed him at The Ritz (he was with two body guards) on a night when Iggy Pop was performing. It was so surreal seeing his two different colored eyes close up.
    Thanks for the link to the song writing prompts. I’m hopping onboard next week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango February 6, 2022 / 11:38 am

      Welcome aboard, Maryanne.

      Like

  4. newepicauthor February 6, 2022 / 6:15 am

    I have listened to this song many times, but this is the first time that I read something about it. You did a great job explaining this song Fandango and I have a new found respect for it now,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marleen February 6, 2022 / 10:58 am

    System of a Down — Aerials
    [in the style of alien metal
    featuring @Melodicka Bros]

    This is a cover, but I like the
    tweak on style (while I like
    the SOAD original as well).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen February 6, 2022 / 11:00 am

      https://genius.com/System-of-a-down-aerials-lyrics

      Aerials Lyrics
      [Verse 1: Serj Tankian]
      Life is a waterfall
      We’re one in the river and one again after the fall
      Swimming through the void, we hear the word
      We lose ourselves, but we find it all
      ‘Cause we are the ones that wanna play
      Always wanna go, but you never wanna stay
      And we are the ones that wanna choose
      Always wanna play, but you never wanna lose

      [Chorus: Serj Tankian]
      Aerials in the sky
      When you lose small mind, you free your life

      [Verse 2: Serj Tankian]
      Life is a waterfall
      We drink from the river then we turn around and put up our walls
      Swimming through the void, we hear the word
      We lose ourselves, but we find it all
      ‘Cause we are the ones that wanna play
      Always wanna go, but you never wanna stay
      And we are the ones that wanna choose
      Always wanna play, but you never wanna lose, oh

      [Chorus: Serj Tankian]
      Aerials in the sky
      When you lose small mind, you free your life
      Aerials, so up high
      When you free your eyes, eternal prize

      [Outro: Serj Tankian with Daron Malakian]
      Aerials in the sky
      When you lose small mind, you free your life
      Aerials, so up high
      When you free your eyes, eternal prize
      Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
      Ah, ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah-ah
      Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
      Ah, ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, om

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango February 6, 2022 / 10:04 pm

      Thanks, Christine.

      Like

  6. J-Dub February 6, 2022 / 3:41 pm

    I had a feeling you might pick this song. Our weekly gathering here would not be complete without it! Excellent!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. leigha66 February 14, 2022 / 1:39 pm

    I have always loved Bowie. This is a great choice!

    Liked by 1 person

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