April 28, 2021

Day 7: Out of This World Music

Image: screenshot from the music video

The space race, space program, and everything in between (the glorious concept of astronauts, the foreign allure of space, the fantastical destination of the moon....) has provided artistic influence across the globe. For today’s countdown (Day 7!) we’ll be looking at 7 songs inspired by humanity’s foray into space.

1- Space Oddity by David Bowie (1969)

Ground Control to Major Tom… One of the most famous space songs out there (and one of Bowie’s biggest hits), “Space Oddity” is a moving ballad about fictional astronaut “Major Tom.” You’ll be hard-pressed to find a space fanatic who doesn’t know about this one. Astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded a cover of it aboard the ISS, complete with updated lyric changes, such as altering “take your protein pills” to “lock your Soyuz hatch.”

2- Rocket Man by Elton John (1972)

This song is rated #242 on the Rolling Stone’s list of Greatest Songs of All Time “Rocket Man” has been played as the wake-up song for four s shuttle missions Watch as Elton John himself introduces the song to space shuttle Atlantis’s occupants:

3- Major Tom by Peter Shilling (1983)

You might be familiar with either the English or German version of this song, as it found popularity in both languages. Shilling here borrows Bowie’s character of “Major Tom” and continues his adventures in space.

Earth below us

Drifting, falling

Floating weightless

Calling, calling home...

4- Spacelab by Kraftwerk (1978)

This space-y sounding, synthesizer-packed instrumental makes up for in atmosphere what it lacks in lyrics. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst played it from the ISS as a duet with Kraftwerk member Ralf Hütter in 2018. Watch the performance here:

5- Satellite of Love by Lou Reed (1972)

This simple song chronicles an average person watching a satellite launch and being blown away with imagination about it. Satellite's gone up to the skies, things like that drive me out of my mind...Satellite's gone way up to Mars, soon it'll be filled with parking cars. I’m sure many of can relate to that simple sense of awe.

6- Walking on the Moon by The Police (1979)

The music video for this track was filmed at Kennedy Space Center and features a variety of rocket-themed props, imagery, and footage.

7- Apollo 9 by Adam Ant (1985)

Though it may not get as much radio time as the rest, this lighthearted, upbeat song is just as fun as the others (especially when it comes to singing along in the car). It starts with a countdown then launches into the catchy chorus of

We will be fine (we will be fine)

Apollo 9 (Apollo 9)

Even though NASA say

"Way out of line" (out of line)

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