Starman chords



You can learn how to play Starman by David Bowie!

Starman is a single from the groundbreaking album Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars, by the legendary David Bowie.

There are some very unusual chords played in Starman, the Bb(#11) being the one that stands out the most.

To make the one guitar arrangement sound as full as possible, other chord shapes have sometimes been used which didn’t feature in the original.

The most obvious example of this is the initial open position Gm chord that starts off the verse.

Starman is in the key of F, not a very common key for songs written on the guitar. The key of F is much more common on the piano, which hints at what instrument the song was written on.

Saying that, the unique Bb(#11) was clearly discovered on the guitar!


Starman chords and lyrics


||: Bb(#11) | Bb(#11) | Fmaj7 | Fmaj7 :||
La, la, la. La la, la. La, la, la. Goodbye love.

| Gm | Gm |
Didn’t know what time it was and the lights were low,
| F | F | C | C7 | F Ab Bb |
I leaned back on my radio, some cat was layin’ down some rock ‘n’ roll, ‘lotta soul he said.

| Gm | Gm |
Then the loud sound did seem to fade,
| F | F | C | C7 | A | Gadd9 |
came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase, that weren’t no D.J. that was crazy cosmic jive.

| F | Dm |
There’s a Starman waiting in the sky,
| Am Am/G | C C7 |
he’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds.
| F | Dm |
There’s a Starman waiting in the sky,
| Am Am/G | C C7 |
he’s told us not to blow it, ’cause he knows it’s all worthwhile. He told me:
| Bb Bbm | F D7 | Gm C |
Let the children lose it, let the children use it, let all the children boogie.

| Bb | F | C | F | Bb | F | C |

| Gm | Gm |
I had to phone someone so I picked on you,
| F | F | C | C7 | F Ab Bb |
hey, that’s far out so you heard him too? Switch on the TV we may pick him up on channel 2.

| Gm | Gm |
Look out your window I can see his light,
| F | F | C | C7 | A | Gadd9 |
if we can sparkle he may land tonight, don’t tell your poppa or he’ll get us locked up in fright.

| F | Dm |
There’s a Starman waiting in the sky,
| Am Am/G | C C7 |
he’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds.
| F | Dm |
There’s a Starman waiting in the sky,
| Am Am/G | C C7 |
he’s told us not to blow it, ’cause he knows it’s all worthwhile.

| Bb Bbm | F D7 | Gm C |
He told me: Let the children lose it, let the children use it, let all the children boogie.

| F/C | Dm |
Starman waiting in the sky,
| Am Am/G | C C7 |
he’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds.

| F | Dm |
There’s a Starman waiting in the sky,
| Am Am/G | C C7 |
he’s told us not to blow it, ’cause he knows it’s all worthwhile.

| Bb Bbm | F D7 | Gm C |
He told me: Let the children lose it, let the children use it, let all the children boogie.

||: Bb | F | C | F/C :||
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la…


Starman chord progression

The intro starts off with the unusual Bb(#11) chord.

||: Bb(#11) | Bb(#11) | Fmaj7 | Fmaj7 :||

The verse is slightly more traditional with its initial II – I – V progression.

| Gm | Gm | F | F | C | C7 | F Ab Bb |
| Gm | Gm | F | F | C | C7 | A | Gadd9 |

For the chorus, we have a IVm chord in the Bbm, looks like this.

||: F | Dm | Am Am/G | C C7 :||
| Bb Bbm | F D7 | Gm C |

The instrumental section starts on the IV chord, which makes us feel as if we go somewhere new. The melody here starts on the 3rd of every chord.

||: Bb | F | C | F/C :||

Later on in the song, the vocals join in with the melody, singing la-la-la-la-laa.


Starman chord extensions

Use the video lesson to work out how to fret the unique chord shapes. This is how they’re built:

  • Bbadd#11 – This is a normal major chord with an added #11 on the open E string.
  • Fmaj7 – This is just an F chord with the maj7 added on the top, again an open E string.
  • Gm – This is the open position Gm shape, very unusual. Bowie doesn’t use this shape but I like it!
  • C7 – This is the dom7 version of the V chord.
  • Gadd9 – This is chord IIx, with an add9 extension.
  • Am/G – This is an Am chord with its 7th in the bass. Compare it with what happens in Sunny Afternoon.
  • D7 – This is a standard open position D chord that has been extended to a dom7.

All these chords are not part of the F major family, some go outside the key. We discuss this in-depth in the intermediate course.


Starman – 8 Guitar Lessons

It’s not just the opening chord of Starman that is unique, the open position Gm is a one-off too.

After we learned the song in three steps we continue by digging deeper using the CAGED system as we study both chords and vocal melody.

Go to Starman – 8 Guitar Lessons.


Starman – Lyrics + Live performance

Didn’t know what time it was and the lights were low,
I leaned back on my radio,
some cat was layin’ down some rock ‘n’ roll,
‘lotta soul he said.

Go to Starman lyrics.


David Bowie

David Bowie was an English singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, and audio engineer.

His biggest hits include (Is There) Life On Mars?, Starman, Ziggy Stardust, Let’s Dance, China Girl, and Heroes.

Go to David Bowie – Biography.


Intermediate Acoustic Songs

Intermediate Acoustic Guitar Songs

The intermediate songs can not be played using just basic open position chords. We have to move up the fretboard and play CAGED barre chords as well.

We incorporate bass lines, pentatonic licks, extended chords, and play vocal melodies. Most importantly, we invent a 2nd guitar and play these songs together.

Go to Intermediate Acoustic Songs.


The Professional Guitarist Song Book

As a guitarist, a repertoire is the greatest asset that you can acquire.

Learn these songs and you can progress from being a bedroom player to working with acoustic duos, Jazz trios, Indie/Rock/Party bands as well as large Soul/Motown ensembles.

Go to Song Book.


Copyright + Comments

Studying great songs is the best way for a musician to develop, we believe displaying chords and lyrics falls under “fair use in education”.

If you are the copyright holder and do not wish to be represented in this way, or want to comment on anything in these lessons, do reach out.

Go to Contact.