David Bowie: Space Oddity Meaning
Song Released: 1969
Space Oddity Lyrics
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,...
anonymous Mar 22nd, 2011 3:53am report
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
anonymous Aug 6th, 2011 8:32am report
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.
anonymous Nov 26th, 2016 11:42am report
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.
anonymous Apr 25th, 2016 4:39am report
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.
anonymous Jan 19th, 2016 1:13pm report
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.
george7607 Oct 19th, 2014 10:08am report
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.
anonymous Aug 14th, 2014 8:35pm report
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.
anonymous May 12th, 2013 5:51pm report
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
anonymous Jan 20th, 2012 1:40am report
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
anonymous Jul 24th, 2011 7:57pm report
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
anonymous Apr 23rd, 2011 4:58pm report
I think that this song is about exactly what it means. Some guy named Major Tom goes into space and dies.
anonymous Jun 7th, 2009 6:08pm report
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...
anonymous Aug 19th, 2008 8:16am report
LOLLERSKATES. I think some of you are cosmonauts! It's about heroin, friends. Hello? Bowie did a sequel...
"Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
WE KNOW MAJOR TOM'S A JUNKIE,
Strung out in heavens high
Hitting an all-time low..."
The space program. OMG.
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