David Bowie

Moonage Daydream

Composed by David Bowie

Song Review by

If the conceit of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album revolved around an alien rock star coming down from the heavens to blow everyone's minds, then "Moonage Daydream" is and remains that particular statement of purpose come to life. It's no surprise the song remains one of the most popular from that record; as a standard to aim at, what Bowie-influenced band or act hasn't taken that as a goal at one time or another? Certainly it doesn't hurt that the track is one of Bowie's fiercest rockers ever, on which the genius performance of guitarist Mick Ronson clearly takes the stage front and center. The song itself begins with a massive overdub of feedback and riffs, acoustic and electric both, cutting between that and Bowie's bizarre but somehow in context perfect claim: "I'm an alligator/I'm a mama-papa coming for you/I'm the space invader!/I'll be a rock and rollin' bitch for you!" As a prototype of glam rock's still-influential formula -- descending, slow chords; high singing; sexually charged if not exploded imagery; thick, fat feedback; and more -- it nails it on every level. Bowie's challenging claims throughout are at once pure fantasy and pure daring courage, tackling the presumed "'manliness" of rock with vision upon vision of anything but. Ronson's keyboards and final, swirling string arrangement, matched with a brilliant guitar solo, prove the icing on the cake, sealing "Moonage Daydream" forever as a rock classic.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Man Who Sold the World 1970 Rykodisc 3:52
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars 1972 Rhino
No Image 1973 6:34
David Live 1974 EMI Digital / Parlophone / Warner Music 5:08
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars [The Motion Picture Soundtrack] 1982 Atlantic / Elektra / Rhino / Warner Music
Sound + Vision 1989 Parlophone / Rhino 4:40
Hallo Spaceboy 1996 Arista
No Image 1997 Moonraker Music
Bowie at the Beeb: The Best of the BBC Radio Sessions 68-72 2000 Virgin 4:58
Rarest Live 2001 MF 4:47
Best of Bowie 2002 Virgin 4:40
Best Bands Ever 2004 2004
Various Artists
Phantom Import Distribution
Live in Santa Monica '72 2008 Atlantic / Elektra / Rhino / Warner Music
Moondust 2009
Various Artists
Heavenly / Virgin / Virgin/Heavenly 4:27
Les Petits Mouchoirs 2010
Original Soundtrack
Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution 4:39
No Image 2011 Immortal
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix, Vol. 1 2014
Various Artists
Universal
Nothing Has Changed 2014 Parlophone 4:40
Five Years 1969-1973 2015 Rhino 6:25
In Memory of David Bowie 2016 Laser Media 5:17
Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976) 2016 Parlophone
No Image 2016 GC / Rhino / Warner Music 4:40
David Live [2005 Mix] 2016 Parlophone / Rhino / Warner Music 5:07
Cracked Actor: Live in Los Angeles ’74 2017 Rhino
No Image Immortal
No Image Phantom
Ziggy & the Spiders: Cleveland Music Hall Gold Standard Laboratories 5:03
blue highlight denotes editor's pick