Space Oddity was one of David Bowie's most popular songs. I'm here to take a look at the lyrics of this song and see what they really mean.
The song was released on July 11th, 1969. The song was mainly about... well, space. Strangely enough, five days after the songs release, the Apollo 11 mission successfully landed men on the moon.
The first line of the song is, "Ground control to Major Tom." This introduces the main character of our song, Major Tom, as he is getting ready to go into space. Ground control tells him to, "Take your protein pills and put your helmet on." Then, someone from Ground Control begins to count down from 10 as the ship is preparing to launch. The engines of the ship turn on, and Ground Control says, "Check ignition, and may God's love be with you." The ship begins to fly into space, followed by a lot of discord in the music that Bowie had created. Once it all settles, and Major Tom has made it into space, Ground Control says, "... Major Tom, you've really made the grade, and the papers want to know whose shirts you wear...", as if Tom was already some sort of celebrity. Ground Control tells him, "Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare." For the first time, we hear our hero sing as he says, "This is Major Tom to Ground Control, I'm stepping through the door, and I'm floating in a most peculiar way, and the stars look very different today." This shows that from space, the stars would appear very different than on the ground. He also says that he's "floating in a most peculiar way" as if something wasn't quite right. Now he says, "For here am I sitting in a tin can, far above the world. Planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do." The tin can obviously references to his ship, but as soon as he says "there's nothing I can do" we know something is definitely wrong.
Tom now sings, "Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles, I'm feeling very still, and I think my spaceship knows which way to go." He's saying that he won't be able to return, but his spaceship might, which is unrealistic. Major Tom's final words are, "Tell my wife I love her very much, she knows." And with that, Tom stops singing. Ground Control becomes extremely stressed, singing, "Ground Control to Major Tom, your circuit's dead, there's something wrong, can you hear me Major Tom? Can you hear me Major Tom? Can you hear me Major Tom?" To no avail, Major Tom had died in space. The song ends with something strange. We don't know who's singing it, but Ground Control goes for another, "Can you...", and someone else sings, "... here am I floating round my tin can, far above the Moon. Planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do." Could that be Tom's actual final words? Could it be his spirit? We'll never know. And with that, the song continues with some beautiful music, until the very end, where the song goes out of control.
However, we don't actually know if Major Tom died for sure, as he is referenced in two of Bowie's other songs, Ashes to Ashes and Hallo Spaceboy. This song is full of mystery, but it's one of my favorites.