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David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” is one of the most famous classic rock songs from the 1960s. The tune appears in a scene from Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Despite that, it doesn’t make sense in the film.

David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ plays on a radio in ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’

A sequence from Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny takes place as Americans celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. Before that scene”Space Oddity” plays on the radio. On a thematic level, this makes sense. “Space Oddity” came out in 1969 and it’s about space exploration.

On another level, it doesn’t work. “Space Oddity” was released prior to the moon landing, but it didn’t become a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States until 1973. It’s not impossible that an American radio station would have played “Space Oddity” in 1969. It’s just unlikely. Of course, a film that involves time travel doesn’t need to be completely realistic. Perhaps whoever played the song on the radio in the Indiana Jones universe was just ahead of the curve.

David Bowie discussed how fans reacted to the song in 1969 on his 1st tour

Today, critics recognize “Space Oddity” as one of the best tracks of Bowie’s career, the 1960s counterculture, and the psychedelic folk scene. The book Bowie on Bowie: Interviews and Encounters with David Bowie features an interview from 1969. In it, he discussed how fans reacted to the song on his first tour.

“It was my first tour and I never stopped being surprised the concerts even went on,” he said. “It appeared so badly organized to me, but I suppose everybody knew what they were doing. For me, it was nothing near an artistic success, mainly because I was limited to a 20 minute spot, and I ended up accompanying myself after a mix-up.

“I was very pleased to see that ‘Space Oddity’ went down well, I thought the audiences would miss the orchestral backing which was on the record,” he recalled. “I throw myself on the mercy of an audience, and I really need them to respond to me. If they don’t, I’m lost. But all the same, I’m determined to be an entertainer, clubs, cabaret concerts, the lot. “There is too much false pride within the pop scene, groups and singers decrying cabaret without ever having seen the inside of a northern nightclub.”


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How ‘Space Oddity’ performed on the pop charts in the United States

“Space Oddity” peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 15 weeks. “Space Oddity” appeared on the album of the same name. The Space Oddity LP reached No. 16 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 36 weeks.

The song did alright in the U.S. However, Bowie had his biggest successes in the country during the mid-1970s and early 1980s.

“Space Oddity” doesn’t make much sense in Indiana Jones but it’s still an all-time classic.