David Bowie’s ascent to overnight super-stardom took several long years. But Bowie had conviction, and "never did anything by halves," as the English say. Throwing everything behind the song Space Oddity and timing its release to coincide with the first moon landing, Bowie was gambling big at a critical point in his career; but it paid off. Extra-terrestrial themes recurred in Bowie's work. His Ziggy Stardust character became such a powerful force that it subsumed its creator. Paranoid, estranged, coke-addicted, for a while Bowie became an alien to himself. But unlike Major Tom, Bowie did not drift off into the stratosphere. He came back.
Through the cold and dark, across the muddy fields, toward the glimmer in the night; torchlight like phosphorous beneath the pall...
When they cut me free, I lacked the strength to stand; they drew me up against the sky. Words like feathers on a distant wing, pressing gently at the space around. My world rearranged. They came to find this fallen star, lost to the universe.
I've been gone, far away, out of my body, out of my mind. But now I'm back, back to earth.
To speed the hour, they sang a song of striving. Like the wind it soared, receding and arriving. Its beauty moved my heart to wonder – does love sustain or pull asunder? Oh, I don't know. What binds the spirit at its birth, to the earth?
(You're out of the woods, you're out of the dark, you're out of the night...)
They put you on TV, and then they move on; up to the stars you look, your distant home.
Now I listen closely to the twilight, waiting for the whisper of my half-life.
I've been gone, far away, out of my body, out of my mind. But now I'm back, back to earth. I've been gone, far away, out of my body, out of my mind. But now I'm back, for better or for worse, back to earth.
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