David Bowie – Space Oddity
It seems fitting to start with the late David Bowie’s space epic, which tells of the fictional astronaut Major Tom and his doomed voyage into space. Often covered, the only person ever to do the song justice to Bowie’s masterpiece was when real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield covered it, but then he did have the advantage of actually being in space.
The Police – Walking On The Moon
Walking on the Moon is classic Sting moment, with his band The Police turning out one of their most groovy reggae-inspired hits to the background of space exploration. Not only is the video filmed at the Kennedy Space Centre, the drummer, Stewart Copeland plays the drums on a Saturn V moon rocket. We expect the next music video filmed in space to be this, performed on the moon. We’re looking at you again, Chris Hadfield…
Chris De Burgh – A Spaceman Came Travelling
Ok, excusing the unavoidable fact that it is by one of the ultimate cringe-inducing musicians and it’s not so much a story about space but the second coming of Christ, it’s still a pretty catchy song. Now everyone sing, “laa la la, laa la la, la lala la…”
Babylon Zoo – Spaceman
Babylon Zoo promised to be around for a long time when their chart topper Spaceman was released on the back of a 1996 Levi's advert. They didn’t, they fizzled out quicker than Pluto’s dreams of becoming a planet again.
Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space (album)
In 2015, British alternative group Public Service Broadcasting cut and paste their way to a whole album of samples from the early days of the space race between the USA and the Soviet Union, mixing sound bites of speeches, space noise and satellites to create a suitably spacey album. And the video above has dancing astronauts, which is pretty cool.
Ash – Girl From Mars
Love knows no boundaries, even across the reaches of the Solar System, as Northern Irish rockers Ash proved in their 1995 hit, Girl From Mars. Yes, if you thought the Universe was old, this song has been power-chording its way through our brains for over 20 years. We all just felt a little bit older…
Gustav Holst – The Planets
The Planets, one of the most popular pieces by English composer Gustav Holst, is often hailed as one of the greatest pieces of classical music about space. Say it quietly though, but the piece is influenced far more by astrology than astronomy, Holst being a keen devotee of horoscopes. Still, it is rather epic.
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon (album)
Ok, we’ll admit it. Apart from the title this album doesn’t really have anything to do with space (if fact the main themes are conflict, greed, the passage of time, and mental illness), but it has inspired any number of science fans throughout the years. Also the song Time has plenty of scientific undertones in it, so we’ll let this minor indiscretion slide.
The Prodigy – Out of Space
Back in the heady days of the 90s dance scene, The Prodigy were one of the biggest names in the business and this was the hit which took the band from being Earth-bound ravers to an out-of-this world act. With the words “I’m transcending to Outer Space…” from reggae star Max Romeo’s Chase the Devil, with “I'll take your brain to another dimension,” and a video of The Prodigy dancing around like aliens (no, that’s just how they danced in the 90s), this song is the ultimate space dance anthem. The video also has ostriches in it, which is suitably weird.
Europe – The Final Countdown
How could we finish this list on anything other than the monstrously successful space-epic The Final Countdown by Swedish rockers Europe. With lyrics inspired by the David Bowie’s Space Oddity, the song went on to reach No 1 in 25 countries. Not bad for a song that wasn’t even supposed to be a single!