On This Day: David Bowie Released “Space Oddity” During the Apollo 11 Landing

On July 11, 1969, famed musician David Bowie released “Space Oddity” ahead of his self-titled second studio album. The song is incredible, but what made the release stand out was the fact that it was released shortly before the Apollo 11 moon landing launch. You really don’t see that kind of music marketing anymore!

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The Significance of “Space Oddity” and the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

“Space Oddity” was rushed to be released as a 7-inch single on July 11, 1969. It was specifically released to coincide and capitalize on the famed Apollo 11 mission. The actual mission finally kicked off after some delays on July 16 and lasted for about eight days. 

In a way, releasing “Space Oddity” a bit early was a smart move. The entire country (and, realistically, the entire world) was buzzing about the history-making moon mission for weeks. “Space Oddity” was released when everyone was glued to their televisions and radios. Even though David Bowie was a big name by that point, the song may not have gotten the attention it did if it had not been intentionally released shortly before the moon landing mission began.

The Enduring Quality of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”

David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” was inspired by the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as Bowie’s growing feelings of isolation in his career.

The track marked a notable difference in Bowie’s sound. In a time when he was once known for tunes inspired by British music hall, he pivoted and entered the psychedelic folk/rock space. He went on to explore and experiment with different sounds and genres after the release of David Bowie.

“Space Oddity” is still a legendary song today. It’s been covered by everyone from Wilco to Def Leppard to Chris Hadfield, who covered the song in 2013 quite literally from space.

Photo via the cover of David Bowie, 1969

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