Album: Ziggy Stardust (1972)
Charted: 10 65
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Songimage
  • This forms part of the Ziggy Stardust story, in which the end of the world lingers just five years away. This song tells of a salvation waiting in the sky, as revealed through Starman's messenger, Ziggy Stardust. The song is told from the perspective of a person listening to Ziggy on the radio. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Douglas - Waterloo, England
  • Woody Woodmansey was the drummer in Bowie's backing band, The Spiders From Mars. In 2008, he spoke to Uncut magazine about his impressions of this song: "I love 'Starman' as it's the concept of hope that the song communicates. That 'we're not alone' and 'they' contact the kids, not the adults, and kind of say 'get on with it.' 'Let the children boogie': music and rock 'n' roll! It lifted the attention away from the depressing affairs in the '70s, made the future look better. 'Starman' was the first Bowie song since 'Space Oddity' with mass appeal. After 'Starman,' everything changed."
  • In 1972, Bowie performed this song on the British TV show, Top of the Pops. Bowie appeared as the flame-haired Ziggy Stardust dressed in a multicolored jump suit. Bowie strummed a blue guitar while he moved flirtatiously alongside his guitarist, Mick Ronson. It was the first time many had seen Bowie and people were fascinated by his stage presence. This performance would catapult Bowie to stardom and prove wildly influential on the next generation of English rockers.

    Among the many who have cited this specific appearance as a transformative moment is Lol Tolhurst of The Cure, who writes in his memoir, "I remember sitting on my couch at home with my mother, watching this spectacle unfold, and at the point where Bowie sang the line, 'I had to phone someone so I picked on you,' he pointed directly at the camera, and I knew he was singing that line to me and everyone like me. It was a call to arms that put me on the path that I would soon follow."
  • Bowie was influenced by the song "Over The Rainbow," which is most obvious during the chorus ("There's a Starman..."). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mjn Seifer – England
  • This was the last song written for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, supposedly because nobody had heard a potential single on the album. It became Bowie's first UK hit in three years. His only previous chart entry had been "Space Oddity" in 1969.

    "We'd finished recording the Ziggy Stardust album at that time and it went into the record company. They said: 'We can't release this. It doesn't have a single on it!'" Woody Woodmansey recalled to The Quietus. "So, we came out of the studio and in about a month he had written 'Starman' and we were back in the studio by January. It was an obvious single! I think Mick and I went out in the car after David played it for us the first time, and we were already singing it, having only heard it only once."

    "At the time, we thought it might be a bit too poppy, a bit too commercial," he continued. "It might seem strange, but we just hadn't done anything that commercial before. I always thought Bowie had that ability, that any time he felt like it, he could write a hit single. He just had that about him. I think he chose not to right through his career. If he felt like it, he would write one, and if he didn't, he wouldn't. That was just the impression of working with him. It's not a fluke to be able to write all those amazing tunes."
  • This is also the title of John Carpenter's 1984 sci-fi movie, starring Jeff Bridges as an alien who takes the form of a woman's (Karen Allen) dead husband and needs her help to get home. The song is not used in the movie.
  • This was used in a 2016 commercial for the Audi R8 that first aired during the 2016 Super Bowl about two months after David Bowie died. In the spot, a retired astronaut has lost his passion for life, but gets it back after his son presents with with the car and he goes for a drive under a moonlit sky. The endpanel pays tribute to Bowie, stating, "In memory of the Starman."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 6

  • Seth from Somewhere In The UniverseOur glorious old friend David is now the Starman.
  • Mike from ScrantonThis song was featured in the movie "The Martian" starring Matt Damon. Great fit to a fantastic movie.
  • Nina from Brandon, MsMick Ronson, guitarist of the Spiders from Mars, was hugely instrumental in arranging and musically shaping Bowie's songs from the Ziggy Stardust era. Mick was a classically trained musician and incredibly talented, though extremely underated at the time.
  • Allie from A Little Ol' Town In, Mi0
  • Sara Mackenzie from Middle Of Nowhere, Fldude, this is SUCH a great song!! go ziggy!! =^_^=
  • Mark from London, EnglandThe full title of the LP is "The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars", although the first UK CD releases, on the RCA label, credited just "Ziggy Stardust". Shortly after his RCA back catalogue was released on CD for the first time, Bowie jumped ship to another label which bought the rights and reissued the CDs, thus creating possibly the first general release (i.e. non-promo) CD rarities in the world!
see more comments

Tom Keifer of CinderellaSongwriter Interviews

Tom talks about the evolution of Cinderella's songs through their first three albums, and how he writes as a solo artist.

Bill Medley of The Righteous BrothersSongwriter Interviews

Medley looks back on "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - his huge hits from the '60s that were later revived in movies.

Desmond ChildSongwriter Interviews

One of the most successful songwriters in the business, Desmond co-wrote "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Livin' On A Prayer."

Emilio Castillo from Tower of PowerSongwriter Interviews

Emilio talks about what it's like to write and perform with the Tower of Power horns, and why every struggling band should have a friend like Huey Lewis.

Dwight TwilleySongwriter Interviews

Since his debut single "I'm On Fire" in 1975, Dwight has been providing Spinal-Tap moments and misadventure.

Martin PageSongwriter Interviews

With Bernie Taupin, Martin co-wrote the #1 hits "We Built This City" and "These Dreams." After writing the Pretty Woman song for Go West, he had his own hit with "In the House of Stone and Light."