In those days, pop and rock music blossomed wildly, and getting a prize in a musical race was no less difficult than in space. And despite the fact that nee David Robert Jones was from childhood a person of extraordinary and comprehensively developed. Even an eye injury, received at the age of 15 as a result of a stupid fight with a friend, only added to the extraordinary guy — henceforth his eyes acquired a different color.
Perhaps it was the versatility of nature that harmed David, forcing him to rush from one hobby to another. He is engaged in painting and works in an advertising agency, then enters the school of mimes Lindsay Kemp (the one who will be taught by another singer 10 years later, Kate Bush), then he creates the avant-garde theater “Artlab” monk and thinks over literally 2 weeks before initialization.
And all this time he is constantly trying to break into the music market. On the one hand, companies see talent in a guy and sign contracts, on the other hand, released singles pass unnoticed. The pseudonym borrowed by David from the brand of the Bowie hunting knife does not bring happiness (so as not to be confused with the member of the MONKEES group - David Jones). The first album in 1967, "David Bowie" fails miserably.
I must say that in those days, Bowie's songs were acoustic sketches - a cross between Bob Dylan's ballads and variety shows. And on the next album - with one of these songs - we decided to experiment, making a kind of hybrid of acoustics with orchestration and electronics in the spirit of fashionable psychedelics.
The theme of the song had to do with it, because it was a kind of cosmic play - the story of cosmonaut Major Tom, who, having gone into outer space, for unclear reasons, loses touch with the earth center and disappears into the vastness of space. The song was called "Space Oddity" and was an open reference to the cinema masterpiece S. Kubrick, published a year earlier, "Space Odyssey 2001" ("2001: A Space Odyssey"). No wonder Bowie Scalamburil, replacing the word "Odyssey" (Odyssey) with "Oddity" (a strange case, an incident).
... the public image of an astronaut at work is something like a machine gun rather, and not a person at all, but my Major Tom is an exclusively human being. It happened because of the feeling of sadness from all these cosmic affairs — they were dehumanized, so I wrote a farce song on this subject to try to combine science with human emotions. This is the antidote to cosmic fever.... at the end of the song Major Tom is completely devoid of emotions and does not express any point of view on the situation in which he finds himself ... he just completely stops thinking ... He falls apart ... By the end of the song, his brain is completely erased - he becomes everything ...
Disturbing conversation center with Tom at the beginning, a countdown and a sharp transition from acoustics to electronic sound, when Tom goes into space - all this makes an impression today. Some critics even saw in this transition an allegory of the narcotic “parish”.
The fact that the single with the song was released on the day the astronauts landed on the moon was considered by Bowie to be a pure coincidence, but did not deny that this played into his hands. By the way, at first the single went badly, and so far, yes, David managed to go to music festivals in Italy and Malta, get prizes there, go back and show them to the dying father (who believed that his son would become a celebrity), after which he died happy.
Meanwhile, the single Space Oddity began climbing the steps of the British charts and reached 5th place. In addition, the song constantly accompanied the BBC broadcasts, highlighting the lunar expedition, about which David laughed: “Apparently, they don’t listen to the lyrics at all!” Wakeman
Also in 1969, with the help of Giulio Rapetti, Bowie recorded an Italian version of his hit, Ragazzo Solo Ragazza Sola. When David conscientiously otpelo song in an unfamiliar language, he asked Giulio, wasn’t it difficult for him to translate the text about the astronaut - and was surprised to find out that the Italian was not steamed, and the text was written about two lovers on top of the mountain.
A breakthrough with Space Oddity did not bring the expected results. The next single from the album was sold in quantities of just ... 798 copies, and the album itself (named, like the first one, "David Bowie") failed once again. Bowie was again at a crossroads.
Subsequently - already in the mask of Ziggy Stardust - he will still conquer the musical Olympus, but this is the topic of a separate article. And what about Major Tom?
And Major Tom will come back to life more than once. Reprinted in 1975 - in times of glory Bowie - the single "Space Oddity" already easily soars to the top of the charts. The volume will unexpectedly appear in the excellent song of 1980 “Ashes to Ashes” (“Dust to dust”). From her text, it suddenly turns out that the Major is still alive and is transmitting to Earth, that he is very happy in Cosmos, from which the center concludes that Tom is actually a “junkie” (drug addict).
... Mom told me - If you want to achieve something,
Never mess with Major Tom!
... in the subtext of “Ashes To Ashes” the children's rhyme is very noticeable, and for me this is a story about corruption. And it is almost as provocative as anyone can afford in the context of pop music, because I really wanted the word “junky” in a song that sounded on the BBC ...However, if you wish, in all this you can see something more serious than the “Continuation of the story about ...”. The fact is that when I first wrote about Major Tom, I was a very pragmatic and arrogant young man. I thought I knew everything about the great American dream, where its beginning and end is.There was talk about the great breakthrough of American technological know-how, which threw this guy into space. And once he was there, he was not quite sure why he was there. So I left him. Now we learn that a certain understanding has come to him, that the whole process that brought him up is flawed, was a product of vice; it decomposes it, and it is in the process of decomposition. But he really wants to go back to the cozy spherical womb of the Earth, where he came from.It seems to me that everything is simple. I absolutely do not see anything hidden in this pervert. This is actually - an ode to childhood, if you want - a popular children's rhyme. About how astronauts become addicts (laughs).
Major Tom will reappear in the works of David in 1995. The credit for this belongs to the well-known duet PET SHOP BOYS, who added a couplet about Tom in his remix of the song “Hello Spaceboy” from Bowie's album “Outside”. The author himself initially doubted the relevance of the revival of his hero, but still gave the go-ahead. Both the remix and the video for it turned out great.
However, they wrote about Major Tome without asking Bowie's blessing. So in 1983, German electronics engineer Peter Schilling released the song “Major Tom. Coming Home ”(“ Major Tom. Returning home ”), where Tom simulates a catastrophe during a landing, and in fact remains in Cosmos.
The French band PLASTIC BERTRAND will record their cover of this song, adding to the text that Tom refused to return because of the fear of atomic war. And in 2003, the K.I.A. he will also remember the astronaut's unfortunate wife, by releasing the song “Mrs. Major Tom ”(“ Mrs. Major Tom ”).