I’ve spent the day with David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity” in my head. This is not entirely shocking, given that this is one of his more famous songs off of one of his most popular albums, (which shares the song name), Space Oddity. It is even less shocking given the rather abrupt news of Bowie’s death on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016.
As I went to and from my classes I listened to my car radio expecting any station I might turn to would be playing at least one of his songs. I even tuned in to the classic rock stations here in Conway—something I don’t often do. While I’m sure some local stations were celebrating his life and mourning his passing by sharing his greatest hits, I must have had truly awful timing. I wasn’t lucky enough to happen across a single station while they paid tribute to the rock ‘n’ roll giant.
As a result, the only lyrics of Bowie’s that I’ve heard today are ones tumbling around in my own head. And while I’ve never been his biggest fan, I liked and knew a good number of his songs by virtue of my parents musically educating me from a young age.
The lines that I kept wanting to sing aloud from the song Space Oddity go as follows:
“Here, am I floating ‘round my tin can,
Far above the Moon,
Planet Earth is blue, and there’s nothing I can do..”
I don’t know why those particular lyrics were in my head, but somehow they seemed appropriate to the man I’d seen in the videos and heard my mother fawn over in my younger years.
Bowie was famous for his adoption and adaptation of numerous personas across his far-reaching musical and acting career. From his character Major Tom, to Ziggy Stardust, to Jareth the Goblin King from Labyrinth, Bowie always played a character that somehow told us more about the man himself than his interviews ever could. While he may not have been the cultural magnate and role model for millennials that he was for the baby-boomers, we still have a lot to thank Bowie for. His influence is still seen and felt today in artists such as Lady Gaga—whom he paved the way for in both the acceptance of the strange and unusual and the exploration of taboo concepts of sexuality in music.
The enigmatic artist had been battling cancer for the better part of two years, according to reports. Two days prior to his passing, he celebrated his 69th birthday on and released his final album, Blackstar.
Despite the lyrics present in my head and on my lips today, I sit here now and I think there may be different lines from that same song that more concisely sum up the thoughts and admirations for the man that so many held near to their hearts:
“This is Ground Control to Major Tom,
You’ve really made the grade.”
image via mrmusichead.com