New Chart: “Space Oddity” by David Bowie

David Bowie

Photo credit: Getty Images

This strange, gorgeous, moving piece about an AWOL astronaut features fifteen chords and a challenging strum pattern I've never heard elsewhere.

Here's the chart.

Playing "Space Oddity" like the recording requires solid barre chord and rhythm skills, but a little creativity can make it more accessible. For example, the Folk Strum (search my site if you don't know what that is) played twice per measure is a decent substitution for the main strum pattern. What I call the "Rock Riff," awesome as it may be, can be axed if it's out of your league. You can play a non-barred Fmaj7 in place of F and Fm. And the Bbmaj7 can be avoided if you play it and the three following chords as power chords.

Incidentally, this song was performed reverently by Commander Chris Hadfield in the first music video to be shot in space, on the International Space Station, this past May. Major props to "Major" Chris for capturing the hearts of so many of us (and for this fun explanation of the joys and challenges of playing guitar in space). But please, be careful of that little Larrivee Parlour guitar! Watching it tumble through the capsule of the I.S.S was like watching my son pitch out of his high-chair in slow-mo.

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