David Bowie – “Starman” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

In “Starman”, David Bowie spins a tale of cosmic wonder, introducing us to an extraterrestrial figure waiting just beyond our atmosphere. This celestial being, a “Starman”, seems to bear a message of hope and unity for mankind. A beacon for the youth, he calls out to them, urging them to let go, embrace the music, and just “boogie”. Bowie, ever the masterful storyteller, presents a song steeped in 70s zeitgeist: an era of deep fascination with outer space and the vast, uncharted frontiers of the universe.

Wondering what else Bowie had in mind with this mesmerizing track? Let’s get lost in the cosmos together, shall we?

“Starman” Lyrics Meaning

Kicking off with a subdued ambiance, the song paints a picture of an individual relaxing, lost in the reverie of radio tunes. Suddenly, the familiar strains of rock ‘n’ roll morph into something more – a “hazy cosmic jive”. The transition isn’t just musical; it signifies a cosmic intervention, where terrestrial meets extraterrestrial.

When the “Starman” makes his presence known, Bowie presents him not as a threatening entity but as a guardian. He’s out there, watching, wanting to connect, but fears his presence might be too overwhelming, too awe-inspiring. The repeated line, “He’d like to come and meet us, But he thinks he’d blow our minds”, encapsulates this sentiment perfectly.

The Starman’s message, however, is crystal clear. He’s a harbinger of change and progress, especially for the young. “Let the children lose it, Let the children use it, Let all the children boogie” isn’t just a call for dance, but an invitation to embrace change, let go of societal constraints, and indulge in pure, unbridled expression.

The verse about phoning someone and the light that can be seen from a window hints at a collective experience, suggesting that this cosmic encounter isn’t isolated but shared among many. The advice to not inform “your poppa” hints at a generational gap, emphasizing that older generations might not understand or appreciate this message.

The Story Behind “Starman”

David Bowie, throughout his illustrious career, displayed an ever-evolving artistic persona. By the time “Starman” graced the airwaves in 1972, Bowie had already introduced the world to his androgynous alter ego, Ziggy Stardust. This character, a rock star turned intergalactic messenger, was the centerpiece of his concept album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.”

“Starman” was an integral chapter in the narrative of Ziggy Stardust. At this juncture in his life, Bowie was heavily influenced by the idea of space, the unknown, and the potential for life beyond Earth. The early 70s was also a time when the world was still reveling in the recent moon landing, and space was very much in the public consciousness.

Moreover, “Starman” was penned in a period when Bowie was exploring his identity, both in terms of music and gender. Ziggy Stardust was his avenue to challenge societal norms, embrace androgyny, and push boundaries. The song wasn’t just about an alien figure; it represented a break from tradition, a beacon of hope for those who felt different or marginalized.

Bowie’s genius lay in his ability to take personal introspection and broad cultural trends, weaving them into timeless music. With “Starman,” he achieved just that, crafting a song that resonated personally and universally.