Friday, October 15, 2010

I am trying to imagine how U.S. radio programmers felt upon hearing a then-unheard-of Englishman’s dirge about a space mission gone wrong while Apollo 11 was racing to beat the Russians to the Moon. Clearly they had no problem with an Australian band’s April 1967 song about a mining disaster in the wake of the January 1967 explosion that killed 3 miners in Grundy, Virginia.

The protagonists in “New York Mining Disaster 1941” and “Space Oddity” both mention their wives. “Have you seen my wife, Mr Jones?” asks the miner (Bowie's birth name was David Jones), while astronaut “Major Tom” instructs ground control to “tell my wife I love her very much” (even though “she knows”).

Not common to see the word “wife” in critically-oriented pop songs like these, especially when youth culture was questioning institutions like marriage, private property... Also of note: the word “wife” does not appear at the end of any lines.

Words that rhyme with “wife” are:


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