Music

It’s Been 50 Years Since David Bowie’s Space Oddity Was Released

“Can you hear me, Major Tom?”
IMAGE IMDB
Comments

In 1969, Major Tom lost contact with ground control, setting off on his space odyssey completely alone. Or at least, that’s how the story goes in David Bowie’s career-launching single “Space Oddity.”

50 years ago, the then relatively unknown British artist released his breakthrough single, which finally set his career in motion after multiple past singles failed to make it to the charts.

Photo by WIKIPEDIA.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

As the song title suggests, Bowie was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s magnum opus 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he had watched three times before writing the song. "Space Oddity," like the film, is a story of isolation with hints of existentialism, featuring the character Major Tom, who reappears in Bowie’s future songs "Ashes to Ashes" and "Hello Spaceboy." 

In the UK, it made it to the top five on the charts on its release, which probably made up for the fact that Bowie recorded the song a day after a break-up.

Marking the beginning of Bowie’s iconic sound, "Space Oddity" is best remembered as the song that put him on the map. The trippy vibes laid the foundation for the conception of Bowie’s iconic alter ego Ziggy Stardust, who would then go on to influence future artists to adopt their own gender ambiguous characters on stage.

It’s a song of its time, back when society was just exploring otherworldly concepts, both literally and figuratively. Just five days after the song was released, Apollo 11 shot off into space and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to set foot on the moon. 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

One producer who passed on producing Space Oddity once criticized the song as a cheap attempt at cashing in on the Apollo 11 space mission, but if anything, "Space Oddity" is a story that runs parallel to Bowie’s journey in the music industry. His first album was a messy attempt at becoming every artist all at once, but it was with his second album that Bowie, like Major Tom, separated from that image and decided to embark on a space odyssey all on his own, guided by kismet or his belief that his music would take him where he needed to go.

Or maybe it was just the drugs. We’ll never know.

Comments
View More Articles About:
Recommended Videos
About The Author
Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
View Other Articles From Anri
Comments
Latest Feed
 
Share
For all its loaded dialogues and stunning imagery, the film deserves the undivided attention of its audience members.
 
Share
Don’t worry, your boss could feel like a fraud too.
 
Share
 
Share
The singer hit the streets of New York in some knitwear that looks a little familiar.
 
Share
The fast food giant is investing $7.8 million in the China franchise venture.
 
Share
Rife with biting satire, the film laughs in the face of modern society’s ills, and bravely so.
 
Share
The Malampaya gas field is a vital part of the Philippine gas industry.
 
Share
CEO Adam Mosseri has said they are happy to make decisions that hurt the business, but parent company Facebook has made it clear in the past that profit comes before users.
 
Share
She put her face on a fake cover of Time magazine, and expected to get away with it.
 
Share
FKJ and Adoy are playing tonight in the latest edition of Karpos Live.
Load More Articles
Connect With Us