John's Track of the Week: "Life On Mars?"

Song: Life On Mars?
Artist: David Bowie
Album: Hunky Dory
Year: 1971

It dawned on me this morning that I hadn't yet spoken about one of my favorite artists, David Bowie, on this site yet, so I'll be discussing him a bit today.  There are so many standout tracks in the rock legend's expansive catalogue, and each fits a distinct mood, and a unique state-of-mind.  However, "Life On Mars?" off of 1971's Hunky Dory, seems, to me, to be one of his best works.  Referenced everywhere, covered time and time again, used in films (Life Aquatic) and even giving a title to a television show (BBC's hit drama by the same name, followed by ABC's failed remake), I feel that if you had to single one of Bowie's songs out, this is probably it.

Strangely enough, "Life On Mars?" is actually a parody of Frank Sinatra's "My Way".  As the story goes, Bowie wrote "Even A Fool Learns to Love" in 1968 to the tune of Claude Francois and Jacques Revaux 's "Comme d'habitude," yet never released it.  Not long after, Sinatra songwriter Paul Anka purchased the tune, and rewrote it as the world-famous Sinatra track, "My Way".  In lue of the success of the rewrite, Bowie once again wrote a song inspired by "Comme d'habitude," but this time it became "Life On Mars?"  Its odd lyrics and jumpy imagery are most likely what gives birth to the name of the song, since "Mars" is usually synonymous with things that are strange or "alien".  You can check it out below in the unlikely chance that you've never heard it before.

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