Can You Hear Me, Major Tom? Fifty Years On.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the release of Space Oddity.

I’m trying to have some recollection of when I first heard it. Obviously not when it was released, is it came out some 15 months before I was born. I don’t have any clear recollection when I did finally hear it but I know I’d have been very young and it would have been on the radio.

I have a clearer memory of hearing Sorrow on the radio quite a bit. And probably at the time of its release as it would have been 1973 and I know I was very young when I first recall hearing it. I remember it being a Bowie song (well, actually a cover) that I really liked.

As for Space Oddity…how can you not be drawn in by the song’s theme and its opening? The countdown sequence. It’s a magical thing. And pretty far removed from anything else on the eponymous 1969 album – alternatively titled “Man Of Words/Man Of Music” when released in the USA.

It was a very timely…and I am sure in fact, deliberately canny, release with Apollo 11 heading off for the Moon less than a week later. It made it to number 5 in the UK charts due largely on the strength that the BBC used it during coverage of the return journey by the Apollo 11 astronauts to Earth.

Happy Anniversary Space Oddity. Fifty years young, and a timeless classic.