My friend Dave sent me the below video, which is great on a number of levels, not the least of which is, this is another piece of mythology in the life of Major Tom, the fictional astronaut created by David Bowie:

First, it’s an artifact from “Breaking Bad“, which has crept up to become the second best show of all time. Second, it features Gale Boedeker, the dorky would-be meth supercook, who is a lot like the interesting but mildly irritating fifth member of your trivia team with a weird breadth of knowledge. Third, the karaoke video has Thai subtitles.

So yes – it’s funny. The most important element of this song, however, is the content of the lyrics. The song is “Major Tom (Coming Home)” by Peter Schilling, from his 1983 album which also featured a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Odyssey”, where the Major Tom character was first introduced. This is interesting for a few reasons, but largely because a character created by one artist (Bowie) across three of his own songs, has had his mythology colored in by numerous other artists since. It’s like the story of Major Tom (which is itself not that interesting) has become part of modern rock folklore, like it’s an oral history being retold by subsequent generations, despite the fact that all of the songs are available currently.

So what does this mean? Let’s go through the chronology of Major Tom’s service record and see what we can learn, starting with the original song:

David Bowie – “Space Oddity” from the album “Space Oddity” (1969)

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