What does Space Oddity mean?

David Bowie: Space Oddity Meaning

Album cover for Space Oddity album cover

Song Released: 1969

Space Oddity Lyrics

Ground control to major tom
Ground control to major tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

Ground control to major tom
Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition and may gods love be with you

Ten, nine, eight, seven,...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 22nd 2011 !⃝

    I believe the song has nothing to do with either space or taking drugs, too many metaphorical meanings are in place. i believe the persona created in the song has had to conform to society doing everything told, then when he succeeds based on societies expectations the media has no care of his achievements other that the hope to get their branding on him. society mockingly comments on deviating saying leave the capsule 'if you dare'. this is met with a rebellious reply with a romanticized depiction of the freedom with which he has been granted upon making the choice to do so. unfortunately this choice leads to his demise as he is separated from earth and makes a request to his wife. in this he has realisations of his inability to evoke change saying the earth is blue and there is nothing i can do, or to change his destiny as his spaceship knows which way to go


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Aug 6th 2011 !⃝

    In a 2003 interview with Performing Songwriter magazine, Bowie explained: "In England, it was always presumed that it was written about the space landing, because it kind of came to prominence around the same time. But it actually wasn't. It was written because of going to see the film 2001, which I found amazing. I was out of my gourd anyway, I was very stoned when I went to see it, several times, and it was really a revelation to me. It got the song flowing."

    In 1980, Bowie released a follow-up to this called "Ashes To Ashes," where Major Tom once again makes contact with Earth. He says he is happy in space, but Ground Control comes to the conclusion that he is a junkie.

  3. anonymous
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    Nov 26th 2016 !⃝

    What is a little know fact about Bowie is that he was a ceremonial magician who followed the Golden Dawn system. This is confirmed in a later song when he states "I'm closer to The Golden Dawn. Clothed in Crowley's uniform." Crowley was a famous member of the original Golden Dawn order. The group practiced a form of magic that was supposed to raise one through the mystical Qubalahlistic Tree of Life to immortality. The story of Major Tom is of a person who is ascending The Tree of Life and arrives at the highest level one can get without projecting his being just before death onto the body of light he has built with his magic.

    Most of Bowie's work through his life reflected this belief system. The later persona he developed of Ziggy Stardust was not really about an alien. It was about someone who had already ascended and chose to descend to the lower level where humans exist to "show the way," much in the way some religions believe in avatars.

    The whole narrative was concluded with Bowie's "Black Star." When the Black Star says he will take the one to be executed's place but still "Wanted him to go home with him," it is a reference to the actual person's body dying but the spirit being projected onto the the Black Star to live forever as one of the gods. This is actually a very old idea as that was part of the doctrine of the Gnostic Christian Church early in the history of Christianity regarding the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.

    David Bowie's music cannot really be explained piecemeal. It told a story over his whole lifetime. Not every song was part of the narrative, but a lot was.

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 25th 2016 !⃝

    The song was made for the first movie david bowie did where he portrayed an alien. the song coincide with the movie and rest in peace david robert jones, also known as david bowie.

  5. anonymous
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    Jan 19th 2016 !⃝

    My feelings on this song are that it has a hidden meaning - a man is dying after overdosing on heroin.

    There's subtle hints in the lyrics like "take your protein pills" and "I'm floating in the most peculiar way", these are the experiences of 'Major Tom' (who is actually a Junkie). Ground Control seem to be sung by two parties - Tom's friends and then paramedics. Tom has been dared ( to take a sizeable amount of heroin resulting in a collapse. This is when he is rushed to hospital and is trying to be saved by the new Ground Control (the paramedics). They are trying to communicate with the now comatose and fading Tom but it is futile. Tom tries to say his last goodbyes (to his wife) and is feeling rather serene and calm despite the knowledge that he is going to fall into a permanent sleep.
    If you think about it, Bowie wrote this in an era where carefree use of drugs like heroin was extremely common - resulting in the deaths of many young adults. He may have written this as a warning as such or he may just be highlighting this fact to many ignorant people who wanted to repeat Toms unwise actions, either way you look at it, it's about the mistake that Tom made that cost him his life.
    Just goes to say - don't do drugs kids.

  6. george7607
    click a star to vote
    Oct 19th 2014 !⃝

    Space Oddity is about an acid trip. Major
    Tom is Timothy Leary who advocated LSD."Take your protein pill and put your helmet on",indicates of taking the tab of acid and get ready for the trip."I'm stepping through the door",indicated the "Doors of Perception"which was written to increase ones awareness through hallucigenics.The sixth verse indicates there is no return from the trip.One has to ride it through.The seventh verse indicates he feels secure he will come through okay from the trip.The spaceship could be another person to guide the person through the trip in case its a bad trip.Verse eigth and nine inidicates it was a bad trip.

  7. anonymous
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    Aug 14th 2014 !⃝

    First, the people who take this song literally aren't very smart. Musicians are artists and poets and poetry always has meanings beyond the literal words, including the meanings others, not just the artist himself or herself, impute to it. This song could be said to be about the experience of death, for example.

  8. anonymous
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    Jul 2nd 2013 !⃝

    I agree with this gay theory, but its not about sex, its about comming out, cos I first knew about the song from a gay movie called C.R.A.Z.Y and the lyrics just go with the story very well.

    Anyway, the magic about that song is that you can interpret it in so many forms and for different meanings.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  9. anonymous
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    May 12th 2013 !⃝

    I think it's about Apollo 13, The ' tin can' repesenting the lunar module they had to use to get home and the pills repsent the asprin one of the astronauts took ( in the film ), If you don't know what happened on Appllo 13 watch the film and the song fits right in with it. ' the circuits dead, there is something wrong ' repesents when the explosion happend and the Oxygen tanks leaked. When the lyrics ' Can tou hear meMajor Tom ' are repeated after this repesnt either when they take there heart rate trackers off or when the communication went off for 4 minutes when re-entering the earths atmosphere. - Chloe Allen

  10. anonymous
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    Jan 20th 2012 !⃝

    I think the song might be a metaphor for success. After all Major Tom is doing something thats very respected and rare by going into space and everyone is swept up in his accomplishments, thats why newspapers want to know irrelevent things about him like what shirts he wears. When he asks ground control to tell hius wife he loves her it just means that he accepts that he risks failure in order to try to do something great. It also might mean that people spend too much of their time worrying about being successful when he says "here and Im sitting on my tin can... and theres nothing I can do" meaning he has accomplished something that only a handful of humans have with space travel but the world will still carry on without him. I just think this is such a powerful metaphor, actually staring at the world beneath you and not being able to do anything about it

  11. madogmgd
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    Oct 26th 2011 !⃝

    Ground Control to Major Tom
    Ground Control to Major Tom
    Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

    Interpretation: A man preparing for sex with another man

    Ground Control to Major Tom
    Commencing countdown, engines on
    Check ignition and may God's love be with you

    Interpretation: Insertion, Engines on as in start the "magic,"

    Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five,
    Four, Three, Two, One, Liftoff

    Interpretation: Intercourse and going to the height of it. Lift off as in the climax.

    This is Ground Control to Major Tom
    You've really made the grade
    And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
    Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare

    Interpretation: Ground control is the man under the other man having sex with him. He is telling his partner how great it was. Time to leave the capsule which means to uninsert. Probably because his wife is coming home.

    "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

    The gay man's partner leaving the home. He is ecstatic about the sex. Everything looks better to him. Life is brighter

    For here
    Am I sitting in a tin can
    Far above the world
    Planet Earth is blue
    And there's nothing I can do

    Interpretation: How the world sees homosexuals. He can't change the hate.

    Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles
    I'm feeling very still
    And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
    Tell my wife I love her very much she knows"

    Interpretation: He got a wife to hide his gayness. But he couldn't hide it anymore. His spaceship as in his inner self knows what it wants to do. He's following his heart. His wife knew about his gaynesss.

    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?
    Can you....

    Interpretation: The man's partner no longer sees him due to possible reasons. He left him and never saw him again.

    "Here am I floating round my tin can
    Far above the Moon
    Planet Earth is blue
    And there's nothing I can do."

    Interpretation: See above.

    I think the

    "The papers want to know which shirt you wear. It's time to leave the capsule if you dare."

    Could also be about coming out of the closet, which is probably why the man left because he isn't ready to make that kind of exposure yet

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  12. anonymous
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    Jul 24th 2011 !⃝

    This couldn't be plainer. It's about an astronaut Major Tom. He gets launched into space revolves around the earth and his capsule loses its place in Earth's gravity. It shoots off into the vastness of space and they lose contact with him. Basically he dies. No drugs rtards

  13. anonymous
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    Apr 23rd 2011 !⃝

    I think that this song is about exactly what it means. Some guy named Major Tom goes into space and dies.

  14. Spartan103
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    Feb 11th 2010 !⃝

    Major tom is a junkie and hit an all time high but is crash was so hard it caused him to die as he feels regret.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  15. anonymous
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    Jun 7th 2009 !⃝

    It's written in response to a movie that came out called, "Space Oddessy" (I hope I spelled oddessy right) lol And it's about someone etting lost in space, drugs or not, the drugs later mmentioned, in Ashes to Ashes is actually mre of a reference to his own drug induced parinoia, hence his move to Berlin. . . to write, "heroes", lodger, and Low. The most influentioal albums of that time. You can thank a 10 page essay I had to do on him in English. . . it was crazy. I thought it was a good idea, my brain lied about 6 ways into the paper. . . I thought, geez there's too much to condense to 10 pages, but that's what every book and int. site gave me, so I give it to you all...

  16. Surfer_Coyote
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    Nov 18th 2008 !⃝

    Like so many Bowie songs, space travel and other planets are really parallels for fame, drugs, and sex.

  17. anonymous
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    Aug 19th 2008 !⃝

    LOLLERSKATES. I think some of you are cosmonauts! It's about heroin, friends. Hello? Bowie did a sequel...
    "Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
    Strung out in heavens high
    Hitting an all-time low..."

    The space program. OMG.

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