Today Jim has chosen my suggestion of Space, Planets, Aliens for our theme.
I am looking forward to the responses which I am sure will include Rocket Man by Elton John, Space Oddity by David Bowie, Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft by the Carpenters and a host of others.
When I originally thought of my suggestion, I was going to go with The Carpenters, but instead I’ve decided on this:
Courtesy of WIKI
Recording for “Life on Mars?” took place on 6 August 1971, the final day of the Hunky Dory sessions. Co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott, the backing band consisted of guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey; Ronson also composed the song’s string arrangement. After failing to acquire pianist Dudley Moore, piano was played by Strawbs member Rick Wakeman.
Musically, “Life on Mars?” is described as a “soaring, cinematic ballad”. It is primarily glam rock, with elements of cabaret and art rock. The song has a complex structure, containing different chord changes throughout. The instruments act in tandem with one another and Bowie’s vocal, steadily growing throughout its runtime. Lyrically, the song describes a girl who goes to the cinema to escape reality, using numerous surreal images. It thematically reflects optimism and the effects of Hollywood. Despite its title, the song has no connection to Mars itself; it is instead a reference to a then-recent media frenzy between the United States and Soviet Union.
At the height of Bowie’s fame as Ziggy Stardust, RCA Records issued “Life on Mars?” as a single on 22 June 1973 in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart and stayed on the chart for thirteen weeks. The single release was promoted by a promotional video shot by photographer Mick Rock, featuring a made-up Bowie in a turquoise suit performing the song against a white backdrop. Bowie performed the song during his concerts frequently throughout his career, performances of which have appeared on several live albums. The song also has appeared on numerous compilation albums and was remixed by Scott in 2003 and 2016, the latter being a ‘stripped down’ mix. The 2016 mix was accompanied by a remastered and reedited version of Rock’s video.
“Life on Mars?” is considered by biographers and reviewers as one of Bowie’s finest songs, with many describing it as a masterpiece. Praise is also given to Bowie’s vocal performance and growth as a songwriter. Several publications have also considered it one of the greatest songs of all time. The song was the namesake of the British television series Life on Mars and has featured in other films and television shows. Artists who have covered the song include singer Barbra Streisand and Nine Inch Nails members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The song charted worldwide following Bowie’s death in 2016 and became a frequent tribute song for the artist; tributes by Nicholas Freestone and singer Lorde garnered widespread attention.
Life on Mars by David Bowie.
Lyrics are in the clip. I have always liked this track because of the music itself.