Major Tom (Coming Home)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Major Tom (Coming Home)"
Single by Peter Schilling
from the album Error in the System
Released3 January 1983 (West Germany)[discuss]
24 September 1983 (USA)
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.[3] A cover version by Shiny Toy Guns, was released in 2009; an advertising commercial for the Lincoln MKZ, featured this cover.[4]

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". In 2016, Jay Del Alma released a Spanish-language remake titled "Vuela (Major Tom)" with Schilling on vocals.[5]

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 deceased drug chemist Gale Boetticher singing the song at a karaoke bar on a vacation to Thailand.[6]

In season 2, episode 5 of the Netflix original series The Umbrella Academy and was aptly used when Pogo, the chimpanzee character on the show was traveling into outer space and back to earth.[7]

It was also used in the 4th season of the show 'The Americans'.


Chart (1983-84) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[8] 57
Austrian Singles Chart 1
Canadian Singles Chart[9] 1
Dutch Singles Chart[10] 2
French Singles Chart 2
German Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 22
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[11] 13
Poland (LP3)[12] 16
South African Chart 4
Swiss Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart[13] 42
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 14
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[14] 10
Year-end chart (1984) Rank
US Top Pop Singles (Billboard)[15] 96


  1. ^ Major Tom (Völlig losgelöst) lyrics
  2. ^ "Major Tom (Coming Home)" by Peter Schilling (Hot 100) – Billboard.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 228.
  4. ^ [1] Archived January 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ TNT Productions - Jay Del Alma feat. Peter Schilling - "Vuela (Major Tom)" (in German)
  6. ^ Breaking Bad S4- Gale (Major Tom) on YouTube. Access date, Jan 31, 2021
  7. ^ The Umbrella Academy Season Two’s Most Ridiculous Soundtrack Choices, Ranked - Meslow, Scott. Aug 6, 2020
  8. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  9. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  10. ^ Top 40 Hit dossier 1956-2001 ISBN 90-257-3349-2
  11. ^ " Peter Schilling "Major Tom (Coming Home)"" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Notowanie nr 62" (in Polish). 25 June 1983. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  13. ^ "". Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  14. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JANUARY 14, 1984". Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 2017-08-20.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). Cash Box magazine.
  15. ^ "Talent Almanac 1985: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 96 no. 51. December 22, 1984. p. TA-19.