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Space Oddity (song): Wikis

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This article is about the song. For the album which includes this song, see Space Oddity (album).
"Space Oddity"
Single by David Bowie
from the album Space Oddity
B-side "Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud"
Released 11 July 1969 (1969-07-11)
1975 (reissue)
Format Vinyl record
Recorded Trident Studios, 20 June 1969 (1969-06-20)
Genre Space rock, psychedelic folk
Length 5:13 (1969 single version)
5:15 (full-length album and 1975 single version)
Label Philips (UK)
Mercury (U.S.)
Writer(s) David Bowie
Producer Gus Dudgeon
David Bowie singles chronology
"Love You Till Tuesday"
(1967)
"Space Oddity"
(1969)
"Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola"
(1970)
David Bowie (aka Space Oddity) track listing

Side 1

  1. "Space Oddity"
  2. "Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed"
  3. "Don't Sit Down"
  4. "Letter to Hermione"
  5. "Cygnet Committee"

Side 2

  1. "Janine"
  2. "An Occasional Dream"
  3. "Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud"
  4. "God Knows I'm Good"
  5. "Memory of a Free Festival"

"Space Oddity" is a song written and performed by David Bowie and released as a single in 1969. It is about the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut. The song appears on the album Space Oddity. The BBC featured the song in its television coverage of the lunar landing.

Bowie would later revisit his Major Tom character in the songs "Ashes to Ashes" and "Hallo Spaceboy".

Contents

Recording and release

Following Bowie's split from record label Deram, his manager Kenneth Pitt managed to negotiate a one-album deal (with options for a further one or two albums) with Mercury Records, and their UK subsidiary Philips in 1969. Next he tried to find a producer. George Martin turned the project down[citation needed], while Tony Visconti liked the album demo-tracks, but considered the planned lead-off single, "Space Oddity", a gimmick track[citation needed], and delegated its production to Gus Dudgeon. An early version of the song had appeared in Bowie's promotional film Love You Till Tuesday.

Following recording of a fresh version, the single was rush-released on 11 July 1969 to coincide with the Apollo 11 moon landings. In the UK, it was used in conjunction with the BBC's coverage of the landing, and also promoted via advertisements for the Stylophone, played by Bowie on the record. This exposure finally gave Bowie a hit, reaching #5 in the chart. In the US, it stalled at 124.

Mogol wrote Italian lyrics, and Bowie recorded a new vocal, releasing the single "Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola" ("Lonely Boy, Lonely Girl") in Italy, reportedly to take attention away from covers by the Italian bands Equipe 84 and The Computers.

The song was awarded the 1969 Ivor Novello Award, together with Peter Sarstedt's "Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)".

The song became so well-known that Bowie's second album, originally released as David Bowie in the UK (like his first album), was renamed after the track for its 1972 reissue by RCA, and has since become known by this name.

In December 1972, Mick Rock shot a film clip of Bowie performing the song during the sessions for Aladdin Sane, which was used to promote the January 1973 U.S. reissue on RCA, which reached #15 in the Billboard Chart. This was then used to support RCA's 1975 UK reissue, which gave Bowie his first #1 single in November.

A stripped down version, originally performed on Kenny Everett's New Year's Eve Show was issued in February 1980 as the B-side of "Alabama Song".

The B-side version of "Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud" first appeared on CD on 1989's Sound + Vision.

On 20 July 2009, the single was reissued as a digital EP that features four previously-released versions of the song as well as stems allowing fans a chance to remix the song. It coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moonlanding.

The rock band U2 use this song during shows on their international 360 concert tour: It is the last song played over the PA system before the house lights go down and as the huge stage, lighting, and sound system, semi-officially known as the "space ship", begins warming up and emitting smoke. It is also used again during a short animated interlude played during the concert on the stage's large wrap around screen, with brief snippets sung by an animated alien space traveler looking out through portholes on the stage/space ship.

Track listing

All songs written by David Bowie.

1969 original
  1. "Space Oddity" – 5:13
  2. "Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud" – 4:59
1975 reissue
  1. "Space Oddity" – 5:15
  2. "Changes" – 3:33
  3. "Velvet Goldmine" - 3:09
2009 reissue (Digital EP)
  1. "Space Oddity" (Original UK mono single edit)
  2. "Space Oddity" (US mono single edit)
  3. "Space Oddity" (US stereo single edit)
  4. "Space Oddity" (1979 re-record)
  5. "Space Oddity" (Bass and Drums)
  6. "Space Oddity" (Strings)
  7. "Space Oddity" (Acoustic guitar)
  8. "Space Oddity" (Mellotron)
  9. "Space Oddity" (Backing vocal, flute and cellos)
  10. "Space Oddity" (Stylophone and guitar)
  11. "Space Oddity" (Lead vocal)
  12. "Space Oddity" (Main backing vocal including countdown)

Alternative covers

Personnel

Credits apply to 1969 original release:

Musical
Technical
  • Gus Dudgeon - record producer

Other versions

Alternate studio versions
  • (1980) on Alabama Song - An unplugged re-recording of the song.
Live versions
Remix versions
  • (2009) David Bowie vs The Go! Team - Space Storm, an mashup of "Space Oddity" and The Go! Team's instrumental track "The Ice Storm" as produced by french mash-up artist, ToToM.
Cover versions

External links

Preceded by
"I Only Have Eyes For You" by Art Garfunkel
UK number-one single
8 November 1975 for two weeks
Succeeded by
"D.I.V.O.R.C.E." by Billy Connolly
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