Major Tom (Coming Home) – Peter Schilling | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#14) and Mainstream Rock (#8); 1983

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

David Bowie’s Major Tom has had more lives than the nine of a cat. Tom was officially born in July of 1969 when a single of Space Oddity was rush-released to coincide with the Apollo 11 moon landing. BBC coverage of the event utilized David’s timely tune, lifting it to #5. Three-and-a-half years later a reissue of Space Oddity in the States rose to #15, and a 1975 re-release in the UK gave Bowie his first #1. Meanwhile, Elton John had name-checked a Major Tom-like Rocket Man on Honky Chateau, and Bowie added a rocket man reference during a live BBC performance of Space Oddity. Bowie looked in on Tom again in 1980’s Ashes To Ashes, and Peter Schilling extended the franchise with 1983’s Major Tom (Coming Home). In 1996, the Pet Shop Boys mixed samples from Space Oddity with Bowie’s Hallo Spaceboy for a #12 Brit hit. And, in what’s surely not the last word, K.I.A. weighed in the wife’s perspective on Mrs. Tom in 2002.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Armin Sabol
  • Peter Schilling

Lyrics Written by:

  • Peter Schilling