Major Tom (Coming Home)

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"Major Tom (Coming Home)"
Single by Peter Schilling
from the album Error in the System
Released24 March 1983
GenreNeue Deutsche Welle, new wave, synthpop, space rock
  • 4:33 (German edit)
  • 5:00 (English version)
  • 8:02 (extended version)
Songwriter(s)Peter Schilling
Peter Schilling singles chronology
"Fehler Im System"
"Major Tom (Coming Home)"
"Terra Titanic"

"Major Tom (Coming Home)" (German: Major Tom [völlig losgelöst], 'Major Tom [completely detached]') is a song by singer Peter Schilling from his album Error in the System. With a character unofficially related to "Major Tom", the protagonist of David Bowie's 1969 song "Space Oddity", the song is about the character breaking off contact with ground control and traveling off into space.[1]

The song was originally recorded in German and released in West Germany on 3 January 1983. It reached No. 1 in West Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The English version was first released in the United States on 24 September 1983. It reached No. 1 in Canada, No. 4 in South Africa and peaked at No. 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart the week of 24 December 1983.[2] The English-language version of the song also reached No. 2 on the dance chart in the US. In 1994, Schilling made and released a remixed version along with Boom-Bastic, titled "Major Tom 94". Other remixes were released in 2000, titled "Major Tom 2000", and in 2003, titled "Major Tom 2003".


Chart (1983–1984) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[3] 57
Austrian Singles Chart 1
Canadian Singles Chart[4] 1
Dutch Singles Chart[5] 2
French Singles Chart 2
German Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 22
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[6] 13
South African Chart 4
Swiss Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart[7] 42
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 14
US "Billboard" Dance/Disco Top 80[8] 2
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[9] 10
Year-end chart (1984) Rank
US Top Pop Singles (Billboard)[10] 96
American Top 40 Top 100 songs of 1984 97


Certifications for "Major Tom"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Germany (BVMI)[11] 2× Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Cover versions[edit]

In popular media[edit]

  • The song was used as the theme song for the TV show series Deutschland 83. It was also used in AMC's Breaking Bad, in a scene where Hank Schrader and Walter White watch a video of the drug chemist Gale Boetticher singing the song at a karaoke bar on a vacation to Thailand.[18]
  • In season 2, episode 5 of the Netflix original series The Umbrella Academy, the song was used when Pogo, the chimpanzee character on the show, was traveling into outer space and back to earth.[19]
  • The song was used in the Car Escape scene in Atomic Blonde (2017) when Lorraine Broughton, played by Charlize Theron, fights off would be assailants inside an Audi V8 D1 Typ 4C after arriving in Berlin.[20]
  • It was also used in the 4th season of the show The Americans.
  • An instrumental version of the song was used during the 1980s as the introduction music of the San Diego Sockers (1978-1996).


  1. ^ Major Tom (Völlig losgelöst) lyrics
  2. ^ "Major Tom (Coming Home)" by Peter Schilling (Hot 100) – Billboard.
  3. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  4. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  5. ^ Top 40 Hit dossier 1956-2001 ISBN 90-257-3349-2
  6. ^ " Peter Schilling "Major Tom (Coming Home)"" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  7. ^ "". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 228.
  9. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JANUARY 14, 1984". Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 2017-08-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). Cash Box magazine.
  10. ^ "Talent Almanac 1985: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 96, no. 51. December 22, 1984. p. TA-19.
  11. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Peter Schilling; 'Major Tom')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
  12. ^ "Major Tom by Plastic Bertrand - Samples, Covers, Remixes". Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  13. ^ "Space Oddity/Major Tom (Coming Home) | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts.
  14. ^ [1] Archived January 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ [2] Major Tom EP on Discogs
  16. ^ TNT Productions - Jay Del Alma feat. Peter Schilling - "Vuela (Major Tom)" (in German)
  17. ^ [3] Major Tom/Radar Love single on Discogs
  18. ^ Breaking Bad S4- Gale (Major Tom) on YouTube. Access date, Jan 31, 2021
  19. ^ The Umbrella Academy Season Two’s Most Ridiculous Soundtrack Choices, Ranked - Meslow, Scott. Aug 6, 2020
  20. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Atomic Blonde (2017) - Car Escape Scene (1/10) | Movieclips" – via YouTube.