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While numerous new wave artists in the early '80s tried to imitate David Bowie, Peter Schilling went a step further. In 1983, Schilling released "Major Tom (Coming Home)," a synth pop retelling of Bowie's 1969 classic "Space Oddity." It became Schilling's first and only entry in the U.S. charts, a song that eventually stigmatized him as a one-hit wonder in America. Schilling was born in Stuttgart, Germany, on January 28, 1956. As a teen, Schilling couldn't decide on whether to be a soccer player or a singer. He chose music and his debut album, Error in the System, appeared in 1983. The single "Major Tom (Coming Home)" wasn't just popular in the U.S., it was a worldwide smash. The video was played often on MTV, as well, but Schilling was not able to equal its success. In 1989, Schilling collaborated with Enigma's Michael Crétu on the track "Different Story (World of Lust and Crime)," an admirable attempt at updating his sound and trying to return to the American charts. "Major Tom" was given a techno sheen in 1994, and the reworked song was welcomed in the clubs. A year later, Schilling formed the Space Pilots with Catyana Schilling, J. Feifel, and P. Magnet, recording Trip to Orion.
Peter Schilling (born Pierre Michael Schilling; January 28, 1956) is a German synthpop musician whose songs often feature science-fiction themes (aliens, astronauts, nuclear holocaust, etc.).
Schilling was born in Stuttgart, Germany. His 1983 album, Error in the System, generated his only international hit single, "Major Tom (Coming Home)", a retelling of David Bowie's classic 1969 song "Space Oddity". Although the song was originally recorded in German, the international hit version was sung in English. In 1984 and 1985, Schilling released the albums 120 Grad and 120 Grad's English language version, 1985's Things to Come. From 1986 to 1989, Schilling released non-album singles and put out his 1988 compilation The Different Story. In 1990, Schilling suffered from burnout and the following year he took a break. In 1994, he married his girlfriend Catyana.
In the late 90s, Schilling formed a side project called Space Pilots, which appeared on the first issue of the popular dance music compilation Dancemania series. The band included Catyana Schilling, J. Feifel, and P. Magnet. They have recorded only one song, titled "Trip to Orion". It was released on vinyl and CD in 1995, and appears on the Japanese dance compilation CD Dancemania 1. The song is based on and includes vocal samples from the German science-fiction TV show Raumpatrouille Orion.