David Bowie scores his first U.K No.1 in 1975 rehashing “Space Oddity”

The popular Bowie song was first released as a single in 1969

David Bowie scores his first U.K No.1 in 1975 rehashing “Space Oddity”

Written by David Bowie, “Space Oddity” was first released as a Phillips single on 11 July 1969 to tie in with the Apollo 11 moon landing. The song was also the opening track of his second studio album “David Bowie”. Heavily inspired by the 1968 Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey”, the song features Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman on the synthesizer backing. With the creation of one of his most famous characters, Major Tom, a fictional astronaut that he would later revisit in the songs “Ashes to Ashes”, “Hallo Spaceboy” and on the music video for “Blackstar”, “Space Oddity” marks a turning point in Bowie’s career, after the sales flop of his first album, the baroque-pop “David Bowie” in 1967. In 1969, it gave Bowie his first chart hit in the U.K, inspiring him to keep up with his music career that he thought about quit. The song also did well across Europe and was released in several European countries, earned the 1970 Ivor Novello Special Award for Originality and even an Italian version was made for the Italian market. Despite that, Bowie’s career got stuck again, and shortly after the success of “Space Oddity” he was thrown immediately by the music press to the undesirable “one hit wonder” bin. Thankfully, it didn’t make him quit and after his rise to stardom as “Ziggy Stardust”, his 1969 album was renamed after “Space Oddity” for its 1972 re-release by RCA Records to cash in Bowie’s success and became known by this name. In 1975, upon re-release as part of a maxi-single featuring “Changes” and “Velvet Goldmine” the song became Bowie’s first UK No. 1 single when it peaked to the top of the charts on November 10, 1975, re-ashing the success he first had with it.
In 2013, the song gained renewed popularity after it was recorded 44 years after Bowie by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who performed the song while aboard the International Space Station and therefore became the first music video shot in space. In January 2016, the song re-entered singles charts around the world following Bowie’s death, which surprisingly included becoming Bowie’s first single to top the French Singles Chart. It’s now considered one of Bowie’s signature songs.

Look back at David Bowie’s 1972 music video “Space Oddity”

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