Starman chords by David Bowie


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Starman | Chords + 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…


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Starman Chords: Learn the progressions


Starman, 8 step-by-step guitar lessons.

Starman’s chords are pretty amazing, the intro starts with the unusual Bb(#11) chord.

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

It’s very clever to start a tune with an unusual chord like this as it signals to the listener what song is about to be played, especially if you’re listening to it on the radio.

Once you’ve heard it, you know this is Starman, no other song uses this distinctly Lydian chord!

Above, there’s a play-along loop of this intro, here’s the TAB for it:

Starman chords and TAB for the intro

In the full lesson in the course, we next do this for the verse as well. The verse is much more traditional with its initial II – I – V progression, apart from that I use an open position Gm which is very rare.

| Gm (II) | Gm | F (I) | F | C (V) | C7 | F (I) Ab (bIIIx) Bb (IV) |
| Gm | Gm | F | F | C | C7 | A (IIIx) | Gadd9 (IIx) |

Members get TAB and a play-along loop for this too as we methodically work our way through all of Starman’s sections.

For the chorus chords, we have a IVm in the Bbm. Here’s the full chorus with Roman Numerals:

||: F (I) | Dm (VI) | Am (III) Am/G (III/7) | C (V) C7 :||
| Bb (IV) Bbm (IVm) | F (I) D7 (VIx) | Gm (II) C (V) |

The instrumental section starts on the IV chord. This makes us feel as if we are going somewhere new. The melody 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 instrumental melody, singing la-la-la-la-laa.

Let’s take a look at all of Starman’s chord extensions. This is how they’re built:

  • Bb(add#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, which is 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 key, some go outside. We discuss this in-depth in the course.

Here’s a link to the complete lesson series: Starman – Guitar Lessons with TAB.



Starman was almost replaced by a Chuck Berry cover!

Starman is a single from David Bowie‘s legendary album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972).

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 going to be 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 Chords | Related Pages


Intermediate Acoustic

There are many more tunes among the Intermediate Acoustic Songs that use similar chords to Starman.

Most intermediate acoustic tunes can’t 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, add licks, extend chords, and play vocal melodies. Most importantly, we’ll invent second guitar parts and play these songs together.


Five similar tunes with chords and lyrics

When you can play Starman's chords, try these five tunes from the songbook.


David Bowie tunes

David Bowie wrote Starman's chords.

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.


David Bowie on the web

Listen to David Bowie on Spotify.


Pop & Rock

When you can play Starman, try these Pop & Rock tunes as well.

Whenever a tune doesn’t fit into a specific genre, it tends to end up here, in the Pop & Rock section.

Learn tunes from Tom Petty, Eagles, Toto, Oasis, Elvis, Clapton, John Mayer, Kings Of Leon, R.E.M., Radiohead, Bruno Mars, and more.


About me | Dan Lundholm

Dan Lundholm wrote this guitar lesson about Starman chords.

This was a guitar lesson about Starman chords, by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and learn guitar with Spytunes.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.



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