Saturday, July 20, 2019

50 years ago: David Bowie’s Career Takes Off – Thanks to Men Landing on the Moon

First posted 7/20/2011; updated 2/11/2021.

Space Oddity

David Bowie

Writer(s): David Bowie (see lyrics here)

Released: July 11, 1969

First Charted: August 16, 1969

Peak: 15 US, 17 CB, 10 HR, 1 CL, 1 CO, 12 UK, 16 CN, 9 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.77 UK, 1.02 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 121.03 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

July 20, 1969 marked one of the greatest achievements of mankind when American astronauts walked on the moon. The event was televised throughout the world, with an estimated 600 million people watching.

In the U.K., the BBC’s coverage of the landmark included a song called “Space Oddity” by an uncharted David Bowie. “Oddity” was tapped as his first single after he split from Deram Records and signed with Mercury. An early version appeared in Bowie’s Love You Till Tuesday promotional film.

It was newly recorded and released in anticipation of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The song alluded to the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and lampooned the British space program. The exposure led to Bowie’s first chart entry. “Oddity” peaked at #5 originally, but a 1975 reissue went all the way to #1.

In the U.S., Bowie hit the Hot 100 with “Changes,” “Starman,” and “The Jean Genie” before “Space Oddity” hit #15 after a 1973 reissue. The 1968 album, Man of Words, Man of Music, from which the song originated, was rechristened Space Oddity and charted in 1972 after Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars had introduced American audiences to Bowie. It became his highest charting album yet, hitting #16.

“Space Oddity” has received many honors over the years. It earned Bowie the British songwriting Novello Award.

Resources and Related Links:

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I'd never seen the original video before. It's clearly inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey. And Bowie looks so . . . nerdy. :D

    Great find, Dave.