Bowie wrote "Moonage Daydream" specifically for fashion designer Fred Burrett, who Bowie met in The Sombrero gay bar and decided to groom for stardom. Burrett, who changed him name to Freddie Burretti, is credited as a vocalist on the song, but whatever contributions he might have made never actually made it onto the track.
This was originally the first single released by David Bowie's side-project Arnold Corns in 1971. It flopped but was subsequently dusted down to be the song that heralds the arrival of Ziggy Stardust on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
The B-side of the 1971 single "Hang on to Yourself" also later appeared on the Ziggy Stardust album.
In a 2003 interview with Performing Songwriter magazine, Bowie explained how the song "Sure Know a Lot About Love" by The Hollywood Argyles influenced this song. Said Bowie: "It was a combination of the baritone sax and the piccolo on the solo which I thought, 'Now there's a great thing to put in a rock song' (laughs). Which I nicked, then put in 'Moonage Daydream' later."
Mick Ronson's guitar work was vital to the sound of the Ziggy Stardust album, including this song's otherworldly sustain-drenched solo. Bowie summed up Ronson's contributions in David Buckley's essay in the booklet accompanying the 30th Anniversary 2-CD edition of the album: "A perfect foil and collaborator, Mick's raw, passionate Jeff Beck-style guitar was perfect for Ziggy and the Spiders. It had such integrity. You believed every note had been wrenched from his soul."
Bowie continued: "I would also literally draw out on paper with a crayon or felt tip pen the shape of a solo. The one in 'Moonage Daydream,' for instance, started as a flat line that became a fat megaphone type shape, and ended as sprays of disassociated and broken lines. I'd read somewhere that Frank Zappa used a series of drawn symbols to explain to his musicians how he wanted the shape of a composition to sound. Mick could take something like that and actually bloody play it, bring it to life."
The song's introductory guitar riff would be later incorporated into punk pop band Green Day's 2005 hit single, "Jesus of Suburbia
This features in the 2003 movie, School of Rock, starring Jack Black.
The White Stripes drummer Meg White started drumming along to Jack White's cover of this song, inspiring the duo to start the band together shortly after.
Bertrand - Paris, France
This was used in the 2014 film Guardians Of The Galaxy and included on the soundtrack, which is comprised of songs from the '70s. The soundtrack became the first to hit #1 without any new songs on the track list.