Wednesday 8 December 2021

Major Tom (völlig losgelöst/Coming Home) - Pete Schilling



When I first heard the bass in this song a few years ago in the background to a scene in the tv spy drama The Americans I thought "Is this the Hunters & Collectors?" Then when the verse started I thought maybe it's Wire or a Wire solo/side project. Then the song was pushed to the foreground in the sound-field of the show and I realised the gloriously soaring 80s chorus was being sung in an accent. Research had to be done. Major Tom (völlig losgelöst) is sung by Neue Deutsche Welle musician Pete Schilling. So it turns out this tune didn't crack the top 40 here in Australia while just over the Tasman Sea in New Zealand it reached no. 13. It went to no. 14 in America and was a number 1 hit in many European countries including Schilling's native Germany. Of course it went to numero uno in Canada! Anyway it's a classic.

Hang on the plot thickens...while most of the English speaking world already knew this song I did not but it turns out I had heard it before in an episode of Breaking Bad. It's the song Gale Boetticher is singing in English on the karaoke video found in his apartment in the fourth episode of season 4: Bullet Points from 2011. 

*Perhaps the title of this post should be Sad Old Man Discovers Song On TV Show Then Reads About It On The Interwebs. 

The English version & video released a few months later in 1983. This version might even be better than the original!

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