David Bowie – Life on Mars (Chords)

David Bowie – Life on Mars (Chords)

Bowie played a huge part in my musical development. Back in my school days, the first band I was ever in was basically a Ziggy-and-before Bowie tribute band. I learnt a whole bunch of fancy chords from Life on Mars. And there are many, many chords in it (just one chord short of the record-holding So Long and Thanks for All the Fish).

The song is a real masterclass in using chords. So many of the chord changes involve changing just one or two notes (something I’ve done my best to preserve for the uke version). That’s particularly true of my favourite section of the tune: the pre-chorus. It creates a huge build up of tension by having rising chromatic notes (on the C-string then the E-string) against a fixed background.

For the chords in the pre-chorus (one other) I’ve suggested chords that only use three strings to make things a bit easier. I do that by bringing my thumb around the neck and use it to mute the g-string (an X above a string on the chord diagram means it’s muted).


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