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Odyssey to 2001: Top 5 Space Tunes

May 27, 2015

As voted by you, my fellow earthlings, the next year in my time travels will be the official start of our current millennium.

The year 2001.

If you read 2001 in the last sentence and the words Space Odyssey immediately jumped to mind, chances are we will/we already get along just fine.

Naturally, the theme of space travel was on my mind when I started typing today, as was Ovidiu @ tangledupinmusic‘s enjoyable “Play this more often” series.

Not only do I recommend visiting his site more often, to borrow his idea, I’d say these 5 Space songs ought to be played more often too!

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5. Flight of the Conchords, Bowies in Space
“That’s pretty far out, man.”

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4. Queen, ’39
Not the happiest of space tales but a great one.

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3. Radiohead, Subterranean Homesick Alien
Mid-90s Radiohead with a tip of the hat to mid-60s Bob Dylan, what’s not to like?

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2. Elton John, Rocket Man
Bonus space points for the William Shatner interpretation.

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1. David Bowie, Starman
A Bowie #1 was inevitable, perhaps the only real suspense here was which Bowie song.

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2001 efforts from Björk & Super Furry Animals are up next, enjoy!

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40 Comments
  1. Awesome choices. Every one is a winner. That Flight Of The Conchords tune always brings a smile to my face. I’d like to add one more to your list: “A Love From Outer Space” by Tahiti 80. It’s actually a cover of a late-80s dance-pop song, but this excellent French synth-pop group added a lushness that’s not on the original (and I’ve always loved the lead singer’s Colin Blunstone-esque vocals).

    • The Tahiti 80 version is playing as I type – I like the vibe, thanks for reading & writing Rich!

  2. jprobichaud permalink

    “Is it cold up there in space, Bowie?”

  3. ianbalentine permalink

    Awesome choices, every dang last one, as Rich already said. Bravo!

    • My thanks Ian – the big challenge in this list was narrowing it down, lots of good ones to choose from!

  4. ianbalentine permalink

    Oh, and bonus points for not going with Come Sail Away…

  5. Yup. Great list. I’m not gonna argue any of them. Nope not one bit.

    I also had Tom Petty’s Zero From Outer Space in my head, but I don’t even know if it fits the format here. Still a great tune though. Hm. How about Beasties’ Intergalactic? Spacehog’s Space is The Place? Beatles’ Across The Universe? Haha I’ll stop. Nevermind.

    Great list again Dude!

    • My thanks Aaron, I wouldn’t object to those in the slightest.
      Spacehog getting special consideration for committing to the theme with the band/song/album name – Might have to give resident alien a spin today!

  6. space oddityspace oddity space oddity space oddity space space space oddity oddity space space oddity

    so, in conclusion …

    space oddityspace oddityspace oddityspace oddityspace oddityspace oddityspace oddityspace oddityspace oddityspace oddityspace oddityspace oddityspace oddity

    • Not to mention Life on Mars!

      • But Space Oddity is the most fitting of the theme. To me it’s the quintessential space song. Mars and Starman are also amazing songs but they’re mostly concerned with Earthly things. Oddity is like a genuine soundtrack to a space expedition! And it was inspired by the quintessential space movie and it was released shortly BEFORE the moon landings!!

      • All good points Andy – I think I ended up going with Starman as it’s ranked higher in terms of my favourite overall Bowie songs & it was the one I was singing in my head at the time.
        With a more rigorous, weighted top 5 criteria, I think for the reasons you mentioned, Space Oddity belongs there too!

      • Okay, I forgive you then 🙂

  7. I made a mix CD for Aaron a few years ago with a hidden theme. That theme was “sci-fi”. ’39 was the Queen song I chose. I wonder if Aaron remembers that CD. I liked it so much I kept a copy.

    Thanks for using that song in this post! How many other songs about special relativity can you name??

    • That’s the only one I can think of, kudos to Brian May for writing it, such an academic band!

      • There may be others in the realms of heavy metal, but Brian May did a great job on ’39.

        There’s a wonderful live on Live in Ukraine.

  8. Good fun. Put me down as another F of the Cs fan. Feature on Sun Ra next, perhaps?
    That’s right, it’s SFA. Looking forward to that one as I like Rings Around the World a lot.

    http://vinylconnection.com.au/2013/08/23/the-welsh-connection/

  9. Great post! I’ll add two spaceman songs: The Byrds’ “Hey, Mr. Spaceman” and Nilsson’s “Spaceman” (and The Roches’ cover of it).

  10. Thanks for the mention, a pleasant surprise! Rocket Man fits, but what I really love about it is that it deals with the psychological side of isolation. Same goes for The Stones’ 2000 Light Years from Home, another one of my favourites. And Pink Floyd’s Astronomy Domine would be another great fit. And Interstellar Overdrive.

  11. Anything from OK Computer is epic in my book, and that song is so often overlooked. And Rocket Man….and Bowie….I love it. Like a playlist for space travel.

    • Paranoid Android would have worked too – I thought the line about going up in the alien ship made subterranean the right choice! Thanks for reading & commenting sourgirl

  12. The space Olympics a la SNL DIGITAL SHORTS!!!

  13. Great choices there. All great. The Byrds’ ‘Hey, Mr Spaceman’ and the Stones’ ‘2000 Light Years from Home’ would compliment the list really quite splendidly!

    • Splendidly indeed – The light years measurement especially fits nicely in my overall space time continuum series this year!

  14. I can’t believe I haven’y posted this sooner, but:

    How much more “space” can you get than a song called “Space Invader”, but the Space Ace himself?

    Well, I guess this.

    • Space Ace would certainly meet all the required criteria & perhaps Bubbles’ old group Sandbox had a space tune too!

  15. I can’t believe you left out Flock of Seagulls “Space Age Love Song” – I am totally disgusted and will stay away from your site for at least 3 days. 🙂

  16. Hackskeptic permalink

    Great choices throughout! Only one I would have added is The Hoodoo Gurus’ great album “Mars Needs Guitars!”

  17. Hackskeptic permalink

    oh and Sun Ra’s “Space Is The Place”

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