Meaning of Starman by David Bowie & The Story Behind

Once in the top five of the British charts with the song Space Oddity, David Bowie began to experiment with style and fell out of the public eye for three years. He was already rushed to write down the authors of one hit, as the musician released the concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The turning point in the career of the performer was a bright performance on the TV show Top of the Pops with the composition Starman, which established him as a star.

Critics see in Starman the influence of the famous songs Over the Rainbow and You Keep Me Hangin’ On, although there is no need to talk about plagiarism in this case.

The story of the creation and meaning of Bowie’s Starman song

The song is part of the story of the album’s protagonist, Ziggy Stardust, which Bowie detailed in a famous interview with William Burroughs. We will not quote it in full, limiting ourselves to an excerpt in which the author explains the main idea of ​​Starman in the context of the entire storyline:

The end comes when the infinities arrive. Actually, they are a black hole, but I created them by people because it would be very difficult to imagine a black hole on stage.

In Ziggy’s dream, the infinities tell him to write about the coming of Starman. So he composes the song Starman, which becomes the first message of hope heard by the people. Of course, they immediately grab onto it … The star people he speaks of are called infinities, and they jump from one black hole to another. Ziggy talks about this amazing alien from outer space who will appear to save the Earth.

Burroughs live: the collected interviews of William S. Burroughs, 1960-1997

The song is performed on behalf of a young man who heard Starman’s message on the radio and hurried to tell his friends about it.

After the release of the track, numerous versions of the interpretation of the meaning of Starman and all kinds of rumors around the composition arose. For example, references to the second coming of Jesus Christ and various prophecies were found in its text. The hype around the song only contributed to its rise in the charts and the commercial success of the single. So Starman made David Bowie a real rock and roll star.

Release and achievements

The composition was the last track included in the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. They say that Dennis Katz from RCA Records insisted on this, seeing a future hit in the composition. In the end, Bowie dropped the Chuck Berry cover of Round and Round in favor of Starman.

In April 1972 it was released as the first single from the new album. The song stayed on the UK charts for eleven weeks, peaking at number ten.

In the summer, David performed it on the Top of the Pops show, captivating the audience in a spectacular way. During the number, Bowie hugged guitarist Mick Ronson by the shoulders, which many perceived as a manifestation of homosexuality. The most prim representatives of the conservative English public lashed out at the musician with criticism, but the young people were delighted with the singer’s relaxed manner on stage.

Starman video by David Bowie

Below is the official music video for Bowie’s song.

Interesting Facts

  • Q Magazine included Starman in their list of the 100 Greatest Singles.
  • The song was included in the official soundtrack of the science fiction film “The Martian” (The Martian OST) starring Matt Damon.

Starman Lyrics by David Bowie

goodbye love
Didn’t know what time it was the lights were low
I leaned back on my radio
Some cat was layin’ down some rock n roll lotta soul, he said
Then the loud sound did seem to fade
Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase
That weren’t no dj that was hazy cosmic jive

There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me:
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

I had to phone someone so I picked on you
Hey, that’s far out so you heard him too!
Switch on the tv we may pick him up on channel two
Look out your window I can see his light
If we can sparkle he may land tonight
Don’t tell your poppa or hell get us locked up in fright

Starman Lyrics by David Bowie Alternate

goodbye love
I don’t know what time it was, the lights were dimmed
I stuck to my radio
Some guy claimed that rock ‘n’ roll had soul
Suddenly the loud sound stopped
And returned in a quiet, growing voice,
It was not a DJ, but obscure space jazz

In the sky, the Starman is waiting,
He would like to come and meet us
But he thinks our minds can’t take it
In the sky, the Starman is waiting,
He said don’t miss the moment
Because he knows how important it is
He told me:
Let the kids lose it
Let the kids use it
Let all the children dance

I had to call someone and I chose you
Hey, now you heard it too!
Turn on the TV: maybe we’ll find it on the second channel
Look out the window: I see its light
If we give a flash signal, he can land today.
Don’t tell dad, otherwise he’ll get scared and ban us from home

Song quote

I adore Starman because the song has an idea of ​​hope. That “we’re not alone” and “they” make contact with children, not adults, and like, “let’s get along.” “Let the kids dance”: music and rock and roll! She diverted attention from the depressing state of affairs in the seventies, made the future look better. Starman was Bowie’s first song since Space Oddity to appeal to the masses. After Starman, everything changed.

Drummer Woody Woodmansey, Uncut, 2008

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