“Major Tom (Coming Home)” by Peter Schilling
Here, Peter Schilling tells the story of an astronaut known as Major Tom who stops communicating with Earth in order to live in Space.
The song is themed in a spacecraft setting where it appears Major Tom and his crew are set to return to Earth. However, just as they are about to embark on the journey, he cuts contact with the Earth and interrupts the power on the space ship.
With his last line being “give my wife my love”, his colleagues and everyone else assumes that he is dead, when in fact he deliberately faked the whole scene so he could stay in Space. The home he frequently mentions is not Earth but Space, which he now feels more attached to.
This track is actually a reference and a sequel to David Bowie’s iconic late 1960s song “Space Oddity”. It should be stated that “Space Oddity” is also primarily centered on the character, Tom.
Did David Bowie write “Major Tom (Coming Home)”?
No. Despite this being a chapter two of his famous “Space Oddity” song, Bowie played no role in the song’s composition. It was composed by Peter Schilling alongside one David H. Lodge.
Recording and Release
Schilling originally recorded this song in his native language German and released it in home country (West Germany). After it achieved huge success in Germany and other European countries, he recorded its English version and released it in America as part of his maiden English album titled “Error in the System”. This was actually the album’s third and final single.
The release of both versions of the song occurred in 1983. The German version was in January whereas the English version came out in September.
Did “Major Tom (Home Coming)” chart?
Yes. It was actually one of the most successful singles of the 1980s. The German version of the track was a number 1 hit in West Germany. It also achieved the same status in Switzerland and Austria.
It’s English version also achieved a similar status in Canada. On America’s popular “Hot 100” chart, it reached the 14th position (its peak position). It also made it into Britain’s official singles chart, where it managed to reach number 42.