With Chinese rocket boosters falling from the sky, an orbital hotel being developed, a new “Space Force”, and Jeff Bezos throwing tons of cash into developing a rocket to compete with fellow billionaire Elon Musk (boys will be boys), we thought it was a great time to put together a list of songs with titles that reference outer space. Let us know your favorite interstellar songs that we missed.
I thought about calling this post 2021 – A Space Oddity, since this has been the year of space talk. We have Space-X and the government is now basically admitting UFO’s or UAP’s are real. My songs are all over the place, but my first two are more than space songs in name, they both actually give me the feeling of someone space traveling. We could easily do part II. Before I begin though, my all-time favorite space music is Gustav Holst’s The Planets, but classical music doesn’t fit on this list.
- “Space Oddity”, David Bowie (1969) – Easily in my top 25 all-time songs. It’s brilliant. It tells a story and is well-crafted musically. So good it had a sequel and an homage. “Can you hear me, Major Tom?”
- “Rocket Man”, Elton John (1972) – Another amazing song, one of the first I liked by Elton John. A complete companion to “Space Oddity”, these two songs should be in any movie about astronauts.
- “Swinging on a Star”, Bing Crosby (1944) – Probably no one remembers this when it came out – but you may remember it in the underrated Hudson Hawk film with Bruce Willis. It’s an oldie that makes me think of my grandparents.
- “Planet Earth”, Duran Duran (1981) – Not to be confused with the great nature documentary, this was one of Duran Duran’s first singles, and it set the stage for them to blast off in the American market. Their new single is “Invisible” is excellent – find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMCd5zrsFpE
- “Tahitian Moon”, Porno For Pyros (1996) – Perry Farrell’s second band after Jane’s Addiction was a 2-hit wonder with “Pets” and this classic. Don’t sleep on these songs, great slice of the 90s.
- “Space Age Love Song”, Flock of Seagulls (1982) – The tune that inspired me to suggest this topic. A one-hit wonder band that really is not. They had a handful of great tracks including this gem.
- “Mother Earth is a Vicious Crowd”, Live (1991) – A non-single track for Live just builds and builds until Ed Kowalczyk explodes. He just wants to talk, is that so wrong?
- “Supernova”, Liz Phair (1994) – Another 90s gem and my favorite Liz Phair song, she is very underrated. Lots of songs using space metaphors for relationships – this one no different. Her first album is a NSFW classic and be careful this song drops the “F” Bomb.
- “Space”, Red Five (2010) – A minor band that most people won’t know, but they named their band after Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter. This song has an Alt-Female Pixies vibe. Fun video and fun song.
- “Rocket”, Smashing Pumpkins (1993) – Great song off a great album. The Pumpkins are wearing space suits in the video and the song plays like a rocket launch as it builds to a crescendo. Magical!
MG: There’s a band named after Luke’s X-Wing? That’s pretty cool. Double points for that one. I thought of adding a Thirty Seconds To Mars tune, just for the band. The first two on your list are definitely great songs about space travel that captured my imagination when I was a kid. I forgot about Supernova from the 90s – a great rock song. Even though the title wouldn’t fit our list, the Porno For Pyros “Pets” thematically was about aliens making humans their pets. I’m all for it, since we can’t seem to do anything but kill each other and destroy the earth – bring on the alien invasion! They can’t be any worse.
When DJ suggested “space songs” for an X-List post, I was intrigued but thought it might be hard to come up with enough good songs. Turns out it was super easy, barely an inconvenience (a nod to one of my favorite new YouTube channels, “Pitch Meeting”). Anyway, here are some of my favorite songs from around the galaxy:
- “Black Hole Sun”, Soundgarden (1994) – Chris Cornell said once he wrote this song in 15 minutes, which is just amazing. It became one of the band’s biggest hits – for some a summer tune, despite the rather dark underpinnings.
- “Man on the Moon”, REM (1992) – The tribute to Andy Kaufman that also provided the title to the 1999 biopic about the comedian, starring Jim Carrey. This has to be one of the band’s breeziest tunes.
- “Shining Star”, Earth, Wind and Fire (1975) – I needed a 70s track for my list. I could have used this song for our last X list about iconic song intros. Everyone recognizes the funky bass intro culminating in the blast of horns.
- “Venus”, Bananarama (1986) – I just found out they were an English band. I wasn’t a huge fan of this when it came out, it was also way overplayed, but I can’t pass on a song with a planet as it’s title. Alas, a Uranus song has yet to be written.
- “Satellite”, Dave Matthews Band (1994) – One of my favorite early tracks from the band, it’s a mellow but engaging tune that always made me think of lying on the grass at night and looking up at the stars.
- “Rocket”, Def Leppard (1987) – Featuring some stock Apollo mission sound footage, this song name checks some other “space-themed” songs including “Space Oddity” and “Rocket Man”.
- “Under The Milky Way”, The Church (1988) – Considered a one-hit wonder by many in the US, I found out recently this band was actually quite big in their native Down Under. This is a one of my favorite late 80s songs.
- “Drops of Jupiter”, Train (2001) – I always liked the lyrics to this song, which the lead singer said was about his mother passing away from cancer, but I had read it as being about a girlfriend that goes off to find herself and then wants to return to a relationship as if nothing has changed.
- “Major Tom”, Peter Schilling (1983) – Only in the 80s could a song like this reach #14 on the pop chart. Some consider it a “sequel” to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, but I view it as just an homage to the song.
- “E.T.”, Katy Perry (2010) – This is probably my favorite Perry song, and it has a pretty cool video that embraces the intergalactic theme.
DJ – There were so many songs we could have done. I m glad you included “Major Tom”, a niche hit that I enjoyed. It paired with Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” as they both also had German versions on the radio. You know my feelings on Katy Perry but the inclusion of Earth, Wind, and Fire was a bold pick. “Venus” was a remake and I love Bananarama but didn’t love either version, points for getting another planet though. Isn’t there a band Spiders from Mars? Good Train song, a band as generic as ever that actually has some good music, “Drops of Jupiter” reminds me of the trailer for K-Pax, the movie in the 99 cent bin.