Space Oddity peaked at no 11 on the Go-Set National Top 40 on 30 June 1973.
(The single was originally released in 1969.)
Inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), with a title that plays on the film’s title, the song is about the launch into space 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 program which was, and still is, an unmanned project.
In a 2003 interview with Performing Songwriter magazine, Bowie explained: “In England, it was always presumed that it was written about the [Apollo 11 moon landing], because it kind of came to prominence around the same time. But it actually wasn’t. It was written because of going to see the film 2001, which I found amazing. I was out of my gourd anyway, I was very stoned when I went to see it, several times, and it was really a revelation to me. It got the song flowing.
This song is also on our Spotify playlist.
New to Bang a Gong? Click HERE to learn more about us.