Tuesday, November 22, 2011

1970 - David Bowie Finds His Inner Alien

David Bowie 1969

It was 1969 and David Bowie just knew he had a hit in the making with his latest song, Space Oddity. After several years of struggling to get noticed, having to change his name after the creepy little  guys from the Monkees stole it and more or less just not having the mainstream audience "get" him, he had the right song.

The only issue though, was how to present himself when he sang it.

Should he present his new song as a nice normal, long haired hippie guy?

No, maybe that's wasn't it, there were after all a million long haired guys out there with their shirt open to the belly, and really that just wasn't David.

So maybe he should go just the opposite route and go for complete geekdom.

Bad haircut, thick glasses, that sort of thing.

Well maybe that would work, but honestly, just going out there and acting weird might not be enough.

Then it hit him, if he was going to sing about a spaceman, then just maybe it would work better if Bowie WAS the spaceman.

And what do you know, that version was the one that worked.


  1. Nice...but 1970? Bowie didn't even start on the spikey hair til '71. Though 1970 was the year of The Man Who Sold the World, which in a sense started his classic period with its simple hard rock mixed with acoustic balladry and the strange, evocative lyrics...

    ...oh thanks a lot Rick. I was going to listen to some La Monte Young but now I have to go dig that song out again...

  2. Oh and I didn't even know that the second video existed. The first minute or so, with it's minimalist imagery and profile shots of Bowie's face really does suggest the heroin-addiction implications of the song...but then at the 1:14 mark he stretches out his arms and that kinda kills the mood briefly. But then he goes out "into space" and you realize he is definitely "on the nod".

    I will admit though, for an obviously no budget video there's some genuinely creative attempts to work within that while coming up with some worthwhile imagery such as filming the scenes through a mental tube with the camera on it's side and cavorting around in that room with no lights, treating it more like a modern dance number. (Bowie did have professional theatre training and worked with a mime troupe.) I can see why it was left off of the Best Bowie DVD in favour of the 'Ziggy' video.