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Tracks from the Past: David Bowie - Space Oddity

BY DI STAFF | JUNE 21, 2012 6:30 AM

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Justin Bieber released his latest album this week.

Barf.

With that in mind, this week's Tracks from the Past dates back to a time when pop music didn't make me want to gouge my eardrums with a golf pencil.

David Bowie went into a London recording studio on June 20, 1969, and emerged having recorded a song called "Space Oddity." That song would kick off his second record, which was self-titled in 1969 but rebranded after its most famous track when it was rereleased three years later.

The introduction of astronaut Major Tom (he who sits in a tin can) begins with eerie acoustic guitar before launching into the clap-accented riff that made up the only redeeming quality of the Adam Sandler flick Mr. Deeds.

The record explores various influences, from the vaguely Bob Dylan-esque "Unwashed and Slightly Dazed" to the ethereal, peace-driven "Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud" that features a 50-piece orchestra. "Memory of a Free Festival" ends with a nod to the Beatles classic "Hey Jude," which had been released a year earlier.

Space Oddity as a whole doesn't necessarily reflect the majesty of Bowie's later masterpieces, but it sold well and bookmarked Bowie as a marketable recording artist and superstar-in-the-making — and the title track is still a radio staple, 43 years after its initial release.

Let's see Biebs do that.

Turn it up.

— by Seth Roberts


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