Standing there alone,
the ship is waiting.
All systems are go.
"Are you sure?"
Control is not convinced,
but the computer
has the evidence.
No need to abort.
The countdown starts.

Watching in a trance,
the crew is certain.
Nothing left to chance,
all is working.
Trying to relax
up in the capsule
"Send me up a drink."
jokes Major Tom.
The count goes on...

4, 3, 2, 1
Earth below us
drifting, falling.
Floating weightless
calling, calling home...

Second stage is cut.
We're now in orbit.
Stabilizers up,
runnning perfect.
Starting to collect
requested data.
"What will it affect
when all is done?"
thinks Major Tom.

Back at ground control,
there is a problem.
"Go to rockets full."
Not responding.
"Hello Major Tom.
Are you receiving?
Turn the thrusters on.
We're standing by."
There's no reply.

4, 3, 2, 1
Earth below us
drifting, falling.
Floating weightless
calling, calling home...

Across the stratosphere,
a final message:
"Give my wife my love."
Then nothing more.

Far beneath the ship,
the world is mourning.
They don't realize
he's alive.
No one understands,
but Major Tom sees.
"Now the light commands
this is my home,
I'm coming home."

Earth below us
drifting, falling.
Floating weightless
coming home...
Earth below us
drifting, falling.
Floating weightless
coming, coming

Lyrics submitted by numb

Major Tom (Coming Home) song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentWhat a delightful masterpiece of New Wave era !
    baitnswitchon August 09, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commentactually, it's not really a sequel to "Space Oddity" so much as what's happening from the other perspective. i.e. in the Bowie's we hear him calling to ground control, and in this one we hear what they are saying to him. Even if it was supposed to be about drugs, it's still emotionally moving if taken literally. One minute the guy's joking about having a drink, and then he's stranded millions of miles from home with no hope of return. ouch.
    rageonyxon March 01, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI recently found a comparison online of "Major Tom" and "Space Oddity." It said that while "Space Oddity" was written about Bowie's drug addiction and all, "Major Tom" isn't about drug addiction. GGCrono4 had it on the dot with what the comparison said. Major Tom basically fakes a problem with his ship so he can stay in space.
    ak_prideon January 24, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI can understand the interpretations about drugs and Bowie, but to me this song has always seemed to be about something else. Maybe it's because I have heard stories about Near-Death-Experiences (NDE's) since I was a grade school kid, but here's what I see.

    The mission really did go wrong. In a way. The mission was about exploration and collecting data about a realm that we know very little about (especially back when this song was written) - space. It becomes a mission about exploring and "collecting data" on another realm we know very little about - death. About which Major Tom says "No one understands." If it were drugs, many people would understand.

    "No one understands, But Major Tom sees...Now the light commands...this is my home...I'm coming home..."

    This to me is Major Tom describing a profound experience - not a drug induced high, not even an NDE - but a full dying experience. I see this as a tribute to the concept of life continuing after death. Not necessarily a religious kind of statement, but from a more secular human experience sort of perspective. How much more secular can you get than an astronaut with a military rank? So Major Tom's last statements are describing his mission of exploration continuing - and his life continuing - in a new way, on a new level.

    One of the most common characteristics of Near-Death-Experiences from all over the world and from people of all kinds of religious backgrounds is the presence of an overwhelmingly bright, peaceful, beautiful light. Everyone seems drawn to if it is home.

    Anyway, just another idea. Another possibility.
    drew403on June 14, 2015   Link
  • +2
    General CommentLooking at the song again, if you want to REALLY read into it... here's even a little more of an expansion on my previous take. That the entire song is a very carefully structured allegory about all of life, not just death. And it's verse by verse.

    Verse 1 - Conception, with the "ship" symbolizing our bodies - "we all enter the world alone..."

    Verse 2 - Birth. The crew being the doctor, nurses, midwife, whoever helps us transition from our pre-birth existence to our living existence. Also, babies do not breathe while in the womb, but they do immediately after. So if Tom's up in the "capsule" preparing for birth, maybe he would want to take one last "drink" (of amniotic fluid) before things get new, unknown, and crazy.

    Verse 3 - Life. "Second stage is cut" - umbilical - need say more? Then all is good. Things going great, but still Tom stops and wonders, as most people do at some point or another during life - "What will it effect, when all is done...?" What is the point - the meaning - of life?

    Verse 4 - Death. Ground control returns to the lyrics as the hospital team coming back into the picture. At the end of his life. Trying to resuscitate him. Rockets could be heartbeat, breathing, whatever system you want to imagine as failing, causing Major Tom to die. The medical team is trying to get him to restart that failing system, but his body is not responding.

    "MiniVerse" - Give my wife my love. Separation.

    Verse 5. After Death. I went into this at pretty good length in my last post, so I won't make you re-read it here. But I'll just say the world mourning, but Major Tom continues to experience living consciousness after the tragedy. He sees a light, and say's he's coming home.

    ----I had long seen the end of this song as being about a dying experience. But it was not until taking a new look at the lyrics today that I realized - if you allow yourself to consider it - this could also be an incredibly well crafted, and artistic allegory about the entire human experience, from conception through death and into the afterlife. Wow. Take it, leave it, laugh it off, or stand in awe of the possibility as I am. Up to you. But today, I am a whole new level of impressed with this song as a master-work of art! Hat's off to you Peter Schilling!
    drew403on June 14, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlso the unofficial prequel to "Ashes to Ashes," also by David Bowie. Most likely a song about Bowie's battle with drugs. Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey" may have been influential. Cool song, agreed!
    jasononearthon January 25, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMajor Tom seems to be trying to find his place in life.
    But he's still worried about how his wife must feel if he disappears.
    I wish i could just go away to some place and not have to answer or reply to anyone.
    PERHAPSon June 05, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've been told that the German original implies a few things that don't translate well -- does anyone here have a strong enough grasp of German to comment?
    Professor Mon July 30, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWow, it's even more sad he refused to let them know the truth. How detached. .

    And depressing.
    keykeyx10000on March 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's the unofficial sequel to "Space Oddity" by David Bowie. Very cool song also.
    daventhalas1on July 01, 2003   Link

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