Starman chords by David Bowie


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Starman | Chords and lyrics

Intro

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

Verse 1

| 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.

Chorus 1

| 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:

Chorus Tag 1

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

Instrumental 1

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

Verse 2

| 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.

Chorus 2

| 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.

Chorus Tag 2

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

Chorus 3

| 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.

Chorus Tag 3

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

Outro

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


You can learn how to play Starman!

Starman’s chords are pretty amazing, 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. In the course, we practice this in every position.

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

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

Let’s take a look at Starman’s chord extensions. 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. Below, you find step 1 where I talk about the intro and verses at great length, including TAB.


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Starman guitar lesson | Intro and verse chords

Let’s start working on the fantastic Starman by David Bowie. There are three TAB loops to practice with, starting with the intro.

The intro uses a Bbadd#11 chord which straight away tells us what song it is.

Using a unique chord like this as an intro is very clever, there really is no doubt that it is Starman we are listening to straight away.

Starman intro TAB

When you can play along with the TAB loop, move on to the first verse example.

The first chord, a Gm in the open position is not like the original, I used it in order to show that this chord is actually possible.

Gm is chord II, we then move to chord I, an F, followed by a C and C7, that’s chord V. This is all a bit upside down, instead of II – V – I, we have II – I – V.

Starman Verse 1 TAB

The first half of this verse finishes off with chord I (F) and a quick bIIIx (Ab) and chord IV (Bb).

As we play the verse progression again, it is now 8 bars, rather than 7. We finish with A (chord IIIx) and Gadd9 (chord IIx).

The rhythm for all this is constantly modified in the first of two bars, look to the video lesson above for an in-depth explanation.

Play along with the loop, aiming to play the exact same way. When you eventually play it on your own, you don’t have to use the exact rhythm as the TAB show, you can be freer, remember, my version was improvised. So should your version be.

Let’s move on and look at verse 2. It is very similar, although there are some small modifications here and there.

Play along with the loop, aiming to get it exactly as my improvised part.

Do this and it will be easier to let go of it and play your own rhythmical variations.

Starman Verse 2 TAB

In the next step, we move on down the arrangement and find the chorus.

To access this lesson, two steps using Starman’s chords to play chord exercises, as well as three steps playing the vocal melody, sign up here.

One of many hits from the legendary Ziggy Stardust Album

Starman is a single from David Bowie‘s legendary album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

Initially, Bowie didn’t want the song on the album. He had wanted a cover by Chuck Berry to be included instead but his A&R man insisted that Starman was a hit.

When it reached number #10 in the charts, helping to push the album to #5, it was clear his A&R man had been right.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars was a concept album. It dealt with all things a rock star can come across, from excessive drug intake to fans ultimately destroying their star.

Inspiration has been cited from various artists but it is perhaps Jimi Hendrix who was the clearest influence on the fictional Ziggy.

The first session of the album started only weeks after Hunky Dory ended, making it two legendary releases in a row.

The two albums made David Bowie one of the biggest rock stars of the early 70s.

Both the album and the songs from it have been included on many greatest-ever lists since its release, always ending up in the top 50.


Starman | Related pages


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.


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.


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, licks, extend chords, and play vocal melodies. Most importantly, we invent 2nd guitar parts and play these songs together.

Go to Intermediate Acoustic Songs.


Song Book

As a guitarist, a repertoire is the greatest asset you can acquire. It is your ticket to playing with other musicians.

To help you on this journey, I’ve gathered tunes I play 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.