1972 – "Moonage Daydream," David Bowie

My choice for 1972 is David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.” MD was originally released as a single, with different lyrics and credited to “Arnold Corns” — another Bowie pseudonym (Ziggy Stardust = HUGE improvement) — in 1971. The version that I’m covering is the album cut from Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). It’s a pretty amazing track, in my opinion, and this fact was solidified when my son Kieran and I got the chance to watch D.A. Pennebaker’s Ziggy Stardust concert film last month on VH-1 Classic. I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to afford the massive cable package we have now — Tracey and I are discussing cancelling cable altogether at the moment to try and save money — but it really was pretty amazing to finally see the “final” Ziggy show with Bowie and the Spiders in all their supreme glam glory. For those of you unfamiliar with the Bowie ouvre (heathens!), I’ll point you to my blip.fm site and the  lyrics below:

I’m an alligator, I’m a mama-papa coming for you
I’m the space invader, I’ll be a rock ‘n’ rollin’ bitch for you
Keep your mouth shut,
you’re squawking like a pink monkey bird
And I’m busting up my brains for the words

Keep your electric eye on me babe
Put your ray gun to my head
Press your space face close to mine, love
Freak out in a moonage daydream, oh yeah!

Don’t fake it baby, lay the real thing on me
The church of man, love
Is such a holy place to be
Make me baby, make me know you really care
Make me jump into the air

Keep your electric eye on me babe
Put your ray gun to my head
Press your space face close to mine, love
Freak out in a moonage daydream, oh yeah!
Freak out, far out, way out

I can hardly begin to express how awesome it feels to sing lines like “I’m an alligator/I’m a momma-poppa comin’ for you/ I’m the space invader, / I’ll be a rock’n’rollin’ bitch for you” — especially in front of a crowd that’s expecting either innocuous folky musings or macho rock and roll posturing. And that is, if I can hazard a guess, one of the primary reasons that Bowie still strikes a chord with so many music lovers and musicians. If there was ever anyone who wrote fearlessly and “faced the strange” with an uninhibited sense of language that very seldom lapsed into self-parody (I’m a fan of Let’s Dance, myself, although many loathed it), it’s David Bowie.

I mention watching the Pennebaker film with Kieran, my 9 year-old. He really does love Bowie: I made him a Bowie comp at his request, and he’s been saying for almost a year now that he’s going to dress as Bowie (in either Ziggy or Labyrinth regalia) for Halloween. God bless ‘im! I think it started withFlight of the Conchords, who definitely have a Bowie fixation (e.g. “Bowie’s in Space” – a parody/mash-up of “Space Oddity” and “Let’s Dance”), and then continued, obviously, with our viewing of Labyrinth, a favorite of mine, and Tracey’s … and probably just about anyone nerdy who was born between 1969-1979. Tracey has fantasies of Kieran as the Goblin King with Luli as a butterfly-winged fairy (or Kate Bush) — hey, it might just happen.


One of the coolest things about having kids is passing on your enthusiasms to them, but you also never know what direction they will take them. I would’ve never considered dressing as Bowie when I was 9 (maybe as Jim Bowie?), but at least I have the confidence to perform a Bowie song now, which is not something I would’ve had 5, 10, or 15 years ago. Not that I’m any closer to my bi-curious side, I’m just finally mature enough to know that’s not what it’s about (music, that is). It’s about following your enthusiasms.

I’m so very proud that my 9 year-old son wants to dress as Bowie for Halloween. I’ll be helping him with his hose and face paint that day, with a smile!


About russellwriter

Rob Russell is a dad, husband, writer, musician, educator, comic book reader, bad solderer, pop culture junky, trivia buff and student of everything cool and uncool. His favorite records are Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and, currently, The Best of Bobbie Gentry: The Capitol Years. His favorite comic books are Kurt Busiek's Astro City and Neil Gaiman's Sandman. His favorite literary novels are Gabrial Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude and William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. His favorite genre novels are John Scalzi's Red Shirts, M.R. Carrey's The Girl with All the Gifts, and Dan Simmons' Drood. His favorite movie is Goodfellas. His favorite hobby, besides everything, is writing about himself and his favorite things in the third person.

Posted on January 12, 2010, in Rock and Roll and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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