Weekly Basslines #209: A Space Oddity (David Bowie)

Remembering David Bowie on the one-year anniversary of his death.

Actually this song was a request by one of my students and it's a total coincidence that I just finished the transcribtion today.

"A Space Oddity" was inspired by Stanley Kubricks movie „2001: A Space Odyssey“ and was recorded an June 20th 1969 at Trident Studios with a young Rick Wakeman on Mellotron, Mick Wayne on guitar, Herbie Flowers on bass and Terry Cox on drums. The single was released nine days before the moon landing, but because of the lyrics the BBC refused to play the song until the Apollo 11 crew had safely returned to earth.

Herbie Flowers, one of Britain's best-known session bass-player, has recorded with Elton John, David Essex, Al Kooper, Cat Stevens and gained much fame with his prominent bassline to Lou Reeds “Walk On The Wild Side”, where he combined double-bass and electric-bass.

Definitely Herbie gave me a hard time transcribing with his extensive use of alternate root notes, slides and Jamerson-like syncopations in complex licks all over the fretboard, It's probably one of the most difficult transcribtions I ever did.

Here's the isolated bass from the original album recording:

R.I.P. David Bowie


  1. Hi Tom,

    Fantastic job with this transcription!

    I'm wondering if there is any chance I could get an mp3 of the isolated bass and drum track?



  2. Great Transcription