Hallo Spaceboy
by David Bowie (featuring Pet Shop Boys)

Album: Outside (1995)
Charted: 12
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • It was American guitarist Reeves Gabrels who originally came up with the musical foundations for this track. He arrived at the recording sessions for Outside with a demo called "Moondust." Bowie and co-producer Brian Eno them proceeded to transform his guitar instrumental into a trashy, hardcore song with a Nine Inch Nails-like vibe.

    Bowie told Axcess magazine: "I adore that track. In my mind, it was like Jim Morrison meets industrial. When I heard it back, I thought, 'F--k me. It's like metal Doors.' It's an extraordinary sound."
  • The song was re-recorded the following year, and issued as a single, featuring Pet Shop Boys as guest vocalists. It was a major smash across Europe especially in France where it topped the chart.
  • The Pet Shop Boys duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe oversaw the remix mischievously lacing it with references to "Space Oddity".

    "When David Bowie asked us to do a reworking of 'Hallo Spaceboy', that was a career high point," Tennant recalled to NME in 2017. "But the song only had one verse and Chris in the studio suggested we cut up 'Space Oddity' to make a second verse – 'Ground to Major bye-bye Tom. Dead the circuit countdown's wrong'."

    "David Bowie phoned up to ask how it was going and we said, 'We've cut up the lyrics of 'Space Oddity'.' Silence. 'Sounds like I'd better come in,'" he continued. "We completed the Major Tom trilogy: 'Space Oddity', 'Ashes To Ashes' and suddenly 'Hallo Spaceboy'. I said to David Bowie, 'It's like Major Tom is in one of those Russian spaceships they can't afford to bring down,' and he said, 'Oh wow, is that where he is?'"

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Laura Nyro

Laura NyroSongwriting Legends

Laura Nyro talks about her complex, emotionally rich songwriting and how she supports women's culture through her art.

Marvin Gaye

Marvin GayeFact or Fiction

Did Marvin try out with the Detroit Lions? Did he fake crazy to get out of military service? And what about the cross-dressing?

Top American Idol Moments: Songs And Scandals

Top American Idol Moments: Songs And ScandalsSong Writing

Surprise exits, a catfight and some very memorable performances make our list of the most memorable Idol moments.

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be GiantsSongwriter Interviews

Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.

Bible Lyrics

Bible LyricsMusic Quiz

Rockers, rappers and pop stars have been known to quote the Bible in their songs. See if you match the artist to the biblical lyric.

Janet Jackson

Janet JacksonFact or Fiction

Was Janet secretly married at 18? Did she gain 60 pounds for a movie role that went to Mariah Carey? See what you know about Ms. Jackson.