As we all know, it has that typical late 60s "rock group with string section added on" sound. I recommend it here mainly because I *love* the change in mood and minor tonality that comes with line "Ground control to Major Tom, your circuit's dead - There's something wrong" which comes after "Tell my wife I love her very much - she knows". The diminished 7th chord under the words "Major Tom" is, well, sublime.
The song was produced by Gus Dudgeon who went on to produce most of Elton John's classic material, and features Rick Wakeman amongst several subsequently famous session musicians. The Wikipedia articles on the track and the album it came from are interesting, well-written, and seem well-researched (unless anyone wants to disagree).
from Space Oddity (Philips) available on CD - lots (EMI)
I discovered this work of absolute genius today - it was on a 3 disc Bowie compilation ("The Platinum Collection") which a colleague was playing at work.
The song starts with an echoey 80s drum sound with a repeated guitar riff, behind which we begin to hear a beautiful chord sequence played on the synth. The riff drops out and Bowie sings a fantastic melody over the chord sequence, which takes many subtle and grand turns. The song has a relatively complicated construction and instrumentation.
Okay, I know this is kind of a well known, outplayed song...still, it is a classic...and so much fun to listen to.
"We live for just these twenty years to have to die for the fifty more..."
17 Aug 03 ·FlyingDutchman1971: Great song! The 'Best of Bowie' DVD set features a great live performance of this song from the Dick Cavett show. 17 Aug 03 ·VichyFrance: The best part of the song is the nonsensical ranting that precedes the "ain't there one damn song..." line. Coke-era Bowie was great at that fast paced mumbo jumbo.