Major Tom (Coming Home)

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"Major Tom (Coming Home)"
Single by Peter Schilling
from the album Error in the System
Released January 3, 1983 (West Germany)[discuss]
September 24, 1983 (USA)
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1983[discuss]
Genre Neue Deutsche Welle, new wave, synthpop, space rock
Length 4:33 (German edit)
5:00 (English Version)
8:02 (Extended Version)
Label Elektra (United States)
WEA Records (Germany)
Writer(s) Peter Schilling
Producer(s) Armin Sabol, Peter Schilling
Peter Schilling singles chronology
"Fehler Im System"
"Major Tom (Coming Home)"
"Terra Titanic"

"Major Tom (Coming Home)" (German: Major Tom (Völlig Losgelöst), translation: "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 being caught in an accident in space.[citation needed]

The song was originally recorded in German, and released in West Germany on January 3, 1983. It reached No. 1 in West Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The English version was first released in the United States on September 24, 1983. It reached No. 1 in Canada, No. 14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart in late 1983,[1] and No. 4 in South Africa. The English-language version of the song also reached No. 2 on the dance chart in the U.S.[2]

In 1994, Schilling made and released a remixed version along with Bomm Bastic, titled "Major Tom 94". Another remix was released in 2000, titled "Major Tom 2000", and yet another in 2003 titled "Major Tom 2003".


Chart (1983) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart 1
Canadian Singles Chart[3] 1
Dutch Singles Chart[4] 2
French Singles Chart 2
German Singles Chart 1
South African Chart 4
Swiss Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 22
UK Singles Chart 42
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 14
U.S. Cashbox Top 100 10

In media[edit]

  • In 2007 Hilary Duff sampled it on her Dignity Tour, during the performance of "Never Stop".
  • In a 2011 episode of the AMC crime drama series Breaking Bad, a homemade karaoke DVD of the character Gale Boetticher singing this song is found by the Albuquerque Police Department.[5]
  • In 2013 the song was featured in the independent film I Used to Be Darker.[6]
  • In 2014 Carolina Crown used an arrangement of the song in their program "Out Of This World".
  • In 2015 a German version of the song was featured in episode 2.14 of The Blacklist.
  • In 2015 and early 2016 the English version was used as opening sequence theme for the international (non-German) broadcasts of the German-produced TV series Deutschland 83. However, the markedly different introductory sequence for the original German broadcast of the series used New Order's 1983 hit "Blue Monday".
  • In 2016 the song was featured in a montage in episode 4.09 of The Americans.

Cover versions[edit]

  • In 1983, Belgian musician Plastic Bertrand recorded a French cover with a variation on Schilling's lyrics.
  • In 2000, a Peruvian musical group named "Skandalo" made a song named "Colegiala", taking the musical style from the chorus song.
  • In 2001, Dealership recorded a cover of "Major Tom (Coming Home)". The track was posted on the band's website, but has not been released on an album.
  • In 2001, Räubertöchter release a cover on the album 'Punk Chartbusters Vol. 4'.
  • In 2004, Dutch punk band The Travoltas covered the song for their Highschool Reunion album.
  • In 2005, Fenix TX released a live cover of the song for their album Purple Reign in Blood.
  • In 2007, I Hate Kate released a cover of the song for their album Embrace the Curse, which did not feature the full lyrics.
  • MxPx recorded a version of the song, releasing it as an iTunes bonus track for their On the Cover II album.
  • Chicago-based band Canasta recorded a version of the song as a free download track.
  • In 2009, Shiny Toy Guns recorded a cover of the song that was featured in a 2010 Lincoln MKZ commercial. It was later released as a single and on the remix album Girls Le Disko.
  • Chiasm (Emileigh Rohn) included a cover version on her 2009 album Apple Island.
  • William Shatner included a cover on the 2011 album Seeking Major Tom.
  • In 2012, Face to Face released a cover version of the song on their single for "All for Nothing".
  • In 2013, German band Callejon released its fifth album with a metal cover version of the song.
  • In 2013, synthpop band Apoptygma Berzerk released its Major Tom EP, containing a cover version of the song along with remixes.
  • In 2013, the Dutch dance formation Wrong Plane released a cover in the German language called "Raumschiff" on Hamburger label Tunnel Records.
  • In 2014, the Dutch dance formation Wrong Plane released a second cover of Major Tom, this time in the English language called "Coming Home". This version entered the British Dance Charts on September 8, 2014 with a peak at #6.[7]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 228. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Top 40 Hit dossier 1956-2001 ISBN 90-257-3349-2
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Coming Home in the British Dance Charts". Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
Preceded by
"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" by Culture Club
German Singles Chart number-one single
28 January-25 March 1983
Succeeded by
"99 Luftballons" by Nena
Preceded by
"Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney
Canadian RPM 100 number-one single
January 14, 1984 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club