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The different recordings of David Bowie's “Space Oddity” have slightly different texts.

In this 1969 video the first refrain contains

Here am I floating round my tin can
far above the world

and the second contains

Here am I sitting in a tin can
far above the moon

While in this 1972 video the first refrain contains

For here am I sitting in a tin can
far above the world

while the second one contains

Here am I floating round my tin can
far above the moon

The main difference being that in the 1969 version Major Tom is first floating around the tin can (which makes sense given that he just left the capsule), and then later sitting in it (presumably after entering it again; this also fits with the depiction in the video), while in the 1972 version, it's the other way around.

Interestingly the demo version, also from 1969, contained the same text as the 1972 video, so it's not exactly a later change. Rather it has been changed between the demo and the first video, then changed back between the first and the second video. The fact that the video agrees with the changed version, I doubt this was just a mistake on recording that video.

Is there anything known about why those changes have been made? I'm especially curious about the change back, as that is a change between released versions.

  • Would whoever downvoted this question please tell me why? – celtschk Apr 4 '18 at 5:57
  • The differences are small, when it comes to the overall meaning. Sometimes a lyric takes a while to settle on the final version, so I'd offer the theory that this is just that process in action. – Angst Apr 8 '18 at 20:36

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