HALLO Spaceboy! I was a club DJ when David Bowie and the Pet Shop Boys teamed up to release that track in 1996.
I remember the buzz at the time. It was exciting, and rightly so. Here was a song that bought into the whole Major Tom ethos, providing a direct timeline to the earlier hits Space Oddity and Ashes to Ashes, not forgetting Starman and Life on Mars – for the Thin White Duke there was no escaping space.
I was never a Bowie fanatic like many. I was born just a little too late to feel his initial impact on the world of pop, but that’s not to say I didn’t come to appreciate his consummate showmanship and beautifully harnessed talent. Whether covering Jacques Brel’s dark and brooding In The Port of Amsterdam, strutting his stuff with Freddie Mercury in Under Pressure, or crooning along with Bing Crosby on Little Drummer Boy, Bowie was simply mesmerising.
Despite overt, grandiose stage displays, there was always something grounded about Bowie’s music and performances. A knowing twinkle was seldom far from those famously mismatched eyes. Never more so that on releases like the much maligned Laughing Gnome, or in the brilliantly quirky movie Absolute Beginners, above, or even his wonderfully tongue in cheek cameo for Ricky Gervais in Extras. My Top 10 Bowie tracks are as eclectic as anyone’s, I imagine:
10 Life On Mars; 9 Starman; 8 Ashes To Ashes; 7 Modern Love; 6 Laughing Gnome; 5 Space Oddity; 4 Heroes; 3 Absolute Beginners; 2 In The Port of Amsterdam; 1 Hallo Spaceboy.
I’m off now to listen to Blackstar. I have no doubt some tracks will do nothing for me while others will transport me to another place.
That, perhaps, was the secret of Bowie’s genius; you don’t have to like everything he did because you know something very special is only ever a track or two away.
Thank you for the music Brixton boy.