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Life On Mars
Song

Life On Mars

David Bowie
Album:

Song Meaning of Life On Mars by David Bowie


The liner note for this Hunky Dory song, which was published in 1971, stated that it was "inspired by Frankie."


Frankie in question was Sinatra, whose song "My Way" was adapted from the French artist Claude François' 1967 song "Comme d'habitude," for which Bowie had written (rejected) English lyrics. In a park in Beckenham, Kent, Bowie first heard the melody in his head; after going to his house, Haddon Hall, and penning the rest of the song on the piano that same afternoon,


Bowie later chuckled, "That really made me mad for so long — about a year." He described writing the eerily similar "Life on Mars?" as "a revenge trip on 'My Way'."


With the help of Yes' Rick Wakeman on piano, Bowie tells a strange story about the boundaries of escape that includes allusions to songs like John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" and the Hollywood Argyles' 1960 doo-wop song "Alley Oop," which is about a caveman.


Commentators cite "Life on Mars?" as one of Bowie's greatest songs and among the greatest songs of all time. Bowie's vocal prowess and development as a songwriter have received plaudits from the critics.


Song lyrics of Life On Mars by David Bowie


It's a god-awful small affair

To the girl with the mousy hair

But her mummy is yelling, "No!"

And her daddy has told her to go

But her friend is nowhere to be seen

Now she walks through her sunken dream

To the seat with the clearest view

And she's hooked to the silver screen

 

But the film is a saddening bore

For she's lived it ten times or more

She could spit in the eyes of fools

As they ask her to focus on

 

Sailors fighting in the dance hall

Oh man!

Look at those cavemen go

It's the freakiest show

Take a look at the lawman

Beating up the wrong guy

Oh man!

Wonder if he'll ever know

He's in the best-selling show

Is there life on Mars?

 

It's on America's tortured brow

That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow

Now the workers have struck for fame

'Cause Lennon's on sale again

See the mice in their million hordes

From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads

Rule Britannia is out of bounds

To my mother, my dog, and clowns

 

But the film is a saddening bore

'Cause I wrote it ten times or more

It's about to be writ again

As I ask you to focus on

 

Sailors fighting in the dance hall

Oh man!

Look at those cavemen go

It's the freakiest show

Take a look at the lawman

Beating up the wrong guy

Oh man!

Wonder if he'll ever know

He's in the best-selling show

Is there life on Mars?

Release Date

1973

Songwriter/s

David Bowie

Producer/s

David Bowie, Ken Scott

Label/s

RCA

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