Credit: BBC

Hear the beauty of David Bowie’s isolated vocal on ‘Space Oddity’ and get instant chills

We’re digging into the Far out vaults to take a look back at the iconic song ‘Space Oddity’, a moment in time when David Bowie transcended earth and became a hero. Released on this day in 1969, the song is still as poetic as ever.

When you’re as iconic as David Bowie it’s hard to find even small moments of his career that have not yet been fully explored. Today, we’re bringing you one of those rare moments as we’re listening to Bowie’s isolated vocal on his seminal song ‘Space Oddity’.

The track is still an absolutely vital piece of Bowie’s iconography and when re-listening to the song it is utterly remarkable just how well it holds up to this day. Though you’d be hard-pressed to get a song like that on the pop radio these days if it was released tomorrow, its conception, its power and its remarkable cadence would still see it heralded as one of the best releases of the year—such is its timeless nature.

The song, originally released as a 7-inch single on 11 July 1969, was the world’s first proper dose of Bowie as we know and love him and was the opening track of his second studio album, David Bowie.

‘Space Oddity’ was David Bowie’s first single to chart in the UK and was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s pioneering sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey. It would mark a collective turning head of the world, as the moon landing had gathered the imaginations of the earth and told them all to look skyward. Necks craned to the heavens there was only one man to soundtrack this event—the Starman.

The song would launch Bowie’s career into the stratosphere and begin his long journey as one of the most artistically sound and creatively pure musical artists we are likely to see in our lifetimes. While the track is as iconic as the moon landing itself, when it is played without the beautiful arrangement, and the vocals isolated, it takes on new life as a piece of emphatic poetry.

The imagery Bowie conjures in his lyricism, when given extra room to breathe by isolating the vocal, suddenly becomes the work of a master craftsman, despite the singer’s protestations. Creating for us an image of sublime nothingness, Bowie determines the allure of fixing the beauty of the world while still fighting the urge to float off into the atmosphere.

While the figure of Major Tom is meant to act as a lightning rod protagonist, his ambiguity allowing for such character manipulation, he allows Bowie to pronounce a juxtaposing view.

At times ‘Space Oddity’ is a rallying call to the inhabitants of earth to ensure they enjoy the beauty of life while they’re in it, not when they’re being dragged to the edges of death. On the other hand, it lauds in the beauty of listlessness and the aching allure of the unknown.

It’s a masterpiece of poetry and should be seen as such. Bowie has never truly moved to explain any of his songs – and we’re all the happier for it. We should be allowed to add whatever truth to Major Tom as we please – it’s exactly what Bowie would’ve wanted.

Listen below to the isolated vocal of David Bowie on his iconic song ‘Space Oddity’ below.

David Bowie 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 God’s love be with you

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

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

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

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

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

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….

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

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