David Bowie’s Song About Heroin Now A Children’s Book

Illustrator Andrew Kolb has created a children’s book of the David Bowie classic “Space Oddity” complete with trippy space scenes and the song’s melancholy overtones. While it’s probably too heavy for kids (especially since the David Bowie song is actually about using heroin), Kolb’s illustrated tale will both delight and depress adults in the best way possible. Plus, we’ve even included Bowie’s song below if you like having stories read to you.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #andrewkolb #davidbowie #spaceoddity stories and more


  • Yellow Belly

    Space looks kind of creepy when it’s red.

  • Skeloric

    Whatever this insinuation about heroin notwithstanding — this song references the Apollo 13 mission.
    As in the nearly tragic space mission that eventually became a Tom Hanks film.
    I’d rather like some supporting links offering evidence to the “This song is about heroin” claim.

  • Aaron

    Yeah…”Space Oddity” ain’t about heroin. “Ashes to Ashes” however is about Bowie getting clean, he was a massive cokehead though, not a junky. Lou Reed was the junky.

  • of course

    I am rereading the song’s lyrics and trying to interpret them in the context of heroin usage, and it’s not making any sense to me.

    Am I just too square for rock n’ roll?

  • Skeloric

    Just realized, “Daniel Villarreal” wrote this piece.
    He never checks his assertions to see if they are factual or not.

  • Daniel Villarreal

    @Skeloric: @Aaron: @of course: In an article about “the great heroin songs of the rock era”:

    “Couched in the song, however, is the sense that Bowie is not really singing about outer space. This implicit [heroin] metaphor was made explicit in Space Oddity’s 1980 sequel, Ashes to Ashes, where Major Tom is described as “a junkie/strung out on heaven’s high/hitting an all-time low.”

    The full Ashes to Ashes lyric goes, “Ashes to ashes/fun to funky/we know Major Tom is a junkie/strung out on heaven’s high/hitting an all-time low.” You can hear the song here.

  • Skeloric

    That’s ONE piece of “evidence”, but it didn’t seem very professional itself, lacking any corroborating sources which could be accessed for proof.

  • Skeloric

    I do know that songs have double meanings, after all “HOTEL CALIFORNIA” is a “dark underbelly of success” song, recounted by the band itself in multiple interviews — even while the lyrics seem to demand a Rod Serling intro.

    A look at SONGFACTS seems to corroborate that heroin isn’t part of the song at all.
    Instead, the song is inspired by the film “2001: A space odyssey”
    All in just a few minutes of searching.

    EVERYONE CLAIMS it is a drug song, but Bowie himself never makes such statement himself.
    The SEQUEL does seem to draw in a more autobiographical twist — but it’d be like trying to claim that the Hobbit is about final war against Sauron, just because THE LORD OF THE RINGS is.

  • Skeloric

    Granted, I can MAN UP enough to state that my assertion about it being about the Apollo 13 disaster seems to have no corroborating evidence.

  • Aaron

    @Daniel Villarreal: As I mentioned Ashes to Ashes is about Bowie getting sober but he was never a heroin addict, he was strung out on coke. The term “junky” while synonymous with heroin use can and is applied to other addicts.

    “Ashes to ashes/fun to funky/we know Major Tom is a junkie/strung out on heaven’s high/hitting an all-time low.”

    Junky was probably used because it rhymed better with “funky” than coke head does.

    The main inspiration for that song was Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. If there is an allusion to heroin in there, it’s just that, an allusion, the song isn’t a metaphor for heroin use.

  • Skeloric

    Isn’t it amazing that the ‘this song is about heroin use” assertion was never corrected even after enough folks could counter the claim.

Comments are closed.