David Bowie's "Space Oddity" has been taken to new heights by a Canadian astronaut. Chris Hadfield has released a video of his rendition of Bowie's 1969 classic as his swan song as he prepares to return to Earth.
It comes as Bowie has been in the news as late with his surprise comeback album, The Next Day, and a trio of stunning and controversial videos. Yet, the chameleon of rock may have been upstaged by a real astronaut, "sitting in a tin can," performing aboard the International Space Station with breathtaking views and thrilling zero-gravity stunts. For example, when Hadfield sings, "I'm floating in a most peculiar way," he actually is, armed with an acoustic guitar.
Hadfield debuted the clip in a tweet over the weekend that read, "With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here's Space Oddity, recorded on Station. A last glimpse of the World."
And, Bowie--or at least someone in his camp--is aware of the clip. On Bowie's official Facebook page, it says Hadfield's "Space Oddity" is "possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created." It also notes that Hadfield called on Emm Gryner, one of Bowie's past collaborators, to record the clip. She sang in Bowie's live band in 1999 and 2000, but never got a chance to perform "Space Oddity" with the song's writer. So when Hadfield told her "he wanted to cover 'Space Oddity' I was over the moon, pardon the pun," Gryner writes on her blog.
"I came up with a piano part," she adds. "I then enlisted my friend, producer and fellow Canadian Joe Corcoran to take my piano idea and Chris's vocal and blow it up into a fully produced song. Drums! mellotrons! fuzz bass! We also incorporated into the track ambient space station noises which Chris had put on his Soundcloud. I was mostly blown away by how pure and earnest Chris's singing is on this track. Like weightlessness and his voice agreed to agree.
"And voila! An astronaut sings 'Space Oddity' in space! I was so honoured to be asked to be a part of this," she continues. "You wouldn't get too many chances to make a recording like this and not only that, to make music with someone who--through his vibrant communications with kids in schools to his breathtaking photos to his always patient and good-humoured demeanour--has done more for science and space than anyone else this generation. Planet earth IS blue, and there's nothing left for Chris Hadfield to do. Right.
"Safe travels home Commander!"