Psychedelic Rock Music
Ah, 1969. The tensions of the race to space had worked their way into ever day life since the mid-1950s. The Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union affected the world and had part of its drama play out in outer space. In 1968, Stanley Kubrick released is epic sci-fi flick 2001: A Space Odyssey. (HAL: Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave?) And, on June 20, 1969, Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the moon. Space exploration was on our minds.
On July 11, 1969, David Bowie released his song “Space Oddity,” which was written and performed by the one and only David Bowie. It is also the opening track for his 1969 album David Bowie. The lyrics have been said to allude to Kubrick’s film as well as poke a bit of fun at the British space program. In the song Bowie introduces his character Major Tom. The BBC did not play the song until the Apollo 11 crew had returned home safely. The song has been recorded and reissued a number of times, so there are many chart positions. The initial recording went to #5 in the U.K. and only #124 in the U.S. In 1973, it went to #15 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. In 1975, it became Bowie’s first #1 UK single. The character Major Tom appeared in other songs, including “Ashes to Ashes,” “Hallo Spaceboy,” and “Blackstar.”
David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, London, England, on January 8, 1947. He died of liver cancer on January 10, 2016. He was a singer, songwriter, musician on many instruments, record producer, arranger, painter, and actor.