The number of space rock hits is not enormous
but is larger than might be expected. The birth of rock
and roll overlapped closely with the post-Sputnik period
when public interest and enthusiasm for space exploration
was at its peak. However, early rock and roll consisted
almost entirely of dance and love songs and seldom touched
on other topics.
Rock got serious in the last half of the
1960's and dealt with all sorts of issues and topics.
However, by then, space exploration was not terribly
popular with the anti-tech, counter-culture music community
and public interest in space had also declined as the
Viet Nam War and various social problems dominated everyone's
Nevertheless, there were still songs in
the "golden age of rock" like the Byrd's Armstrong,
Aldrin & Collinsthat dealt directly
with the space missions of the day. The two biggest
space hits ever - Bowie's Space Oddity and Elton
John's Rocketman - were, however, more sci-fi
musings than comments on specific space events.
In the decades since, there have been
occasional space related songs to hit the airwaves,
such as Tasmin Archer'sSleeping Satellite,
but, like the public mood towards space, the interest
in space by rock musicians has generally been muted.
We expect that as public involvement with
space grows, as in, for example, the rising interest
tourism, popular music about space will grow
Ring.... - music video showing
the construction of a big
carbon ring for an airship under construction
Aerospace. The soundtrack comes from the song
aastral activation day, performed by Space
- The song Dream
(mp3, 1.6MB) was a gift to Mark
Shuttleworth from his brother Grant before Mark's
flight in April 2002 to the Space Station. The song
is performed by the band Motion in which Grant does
the vocals. The song was played extensively in South
Africa during and after the flight on radio and TV.
- This song on NSYNC's No Strings Attached
album (2000) reflect's band member Lance Bass's long
time interest in space. He attended Space
Camp as a kid and tried to arrange financing
for a tourist
ride to the Space Station.
The lyrics include the lines “I’ve got my eyes
on the skies, the heavenly bodies of light. And
if you’re in the mood to take a ride, then strap
on the suit and get inside.”
- The Australian rock electronica band b(if)tek
(Kate Crawford & Nicole Skeltys) released this
album in 2000. It was
"[c]onceived as the soundtrack for the first
manned space mission to Mars, slated for '2020'
- the pair have already entered negotiations with
NASA to have their music played during astronaut
training and on the flight itself - the album
encapsulates B(if)tek's slightly skewed take on
21st century pop music and their desire to carve
out a place within it they can call their own."
- B(if)Tek site.
Space Rock contest attracted over 1300 original
compositions. Two songs will be selected to be played
during space shuttle Endeavour's last mission to be
flown in 2011.
Jimmie Evans - The
Ride (mp3) - The Ride is a song in memory
of the Challenger crew written by Jimmie Evans, of
the metal band Electric Punishment. He says about
" I've been a songwriter most of my life,
and I am very proud of this one in particular,
as I wrote it as a tribute to the challenger crew.
I wrote it on the day of the 15th anniversary
since the accident and recorded all of it on that
day as well, so it's very special to me."
- Jimmie Evans
"is a group which consists of 2 members (Konsumer
A & Konsumer B). Carrying on the tradition of Kraftwerk
into the new millenium, Konsumer showcases a new
style of educational electronic robot pop".
Check out selections from their second album Weltraum
(2006), "in which Konsumer grab their space
helmets and explore the cosmos. Includes guest appearances
by Eidolon and a remix by Shortwave Dahlia".
Clark Five - Huntsville "Rocket City",
Alabama - "respected underground indie band.
Among their space themed: Red Shift, 51-L
an excellent requiem for the Challenger, Moonrock,
The Curley Shuttle, Accelerator"
- HS reader
Tracks: Blast Off!, Weightless Blues Rockin' In The Orbit,
Starlight, Hydrazine, Moon Mist, We Get Messages, We Get
Messages (Stereo), Moonlight Cha Cha Cha, Astrosonic,
Astrosonic (Stereo), Venus, Asteroid Hop, Asteroid Hop
(Stereo), Homeward Earth.
Recorded by the group The
Tornados, it became a number one US single.
(Also, the first song by a British band to become number
one, preceding the Beatles led British
Invasion.) Hear streamed audio at Telstar
The Tornados - Telstar
(see below) also made a popular cover of the song.
The Byrds, one
of the most influential bands in the 1960's, had several
space related songs. These seemed to be inspired particularly
Mcguinn's interest in sci-fi
Armstrong, Aldrin & Collins -
tribute to the Apollo 11 astronauts. On the album
of Easy Rider (Columbia CS-9942 / CK-9942, 1969.
Reissued: Columbia/Legacy CK 65114, 1997). written by
Zeke Manners and S. Seely. Lyrics.
Mr. Spaceman - a country flavored hit
song about asking aliens for a ride on their saucer.
(Columbia CL-2549 / CS-9349 / CK-9349, 1966. Reissued:
Columbia/Legacy CK 64847, 1996). By Roger Mcguinn. Lyrics.
Space Odyssey - this song was inspired
by Arthur C. Clarke's short story "The Sentinel" (as
was Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey) and was
one of the first rock songs to use the Moog synthesizer
for futuristic sound effects. It was on the albumThe Notorius
Byrd Brothers (Columbia CL-2775 / CS-9575 /
CK-9575, 1968. Reissued: Columbia/Legacy CK 65151, 1997.)
and written by Roger Mcguinn and Chris Hillman.
Countdown Rush From an unsigned blurb at Space.com
"Canadian rock trio's tribute to the first-ever
launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Written by Neil
Peart, the band's drummer, it was based on his experience
watching the historic event. "It was an incredible
thing to witness," Peart said. The song, from the
group's 1982 album Signals is a pretty straight-forward
narrative of the event, a kind of "You Are There"
travelogue, dedicated to the ship's crew John Young
and Robert Crippen. Not a bad song, but it's truly
for die-hard Rush and space launch fans only."
Space Oddity David
David Bowie, in a funk over breaking up with his girlfriend,
was inspired by images from the Apollo 8 journey to
the Moon and by the movie 2001:A Space Odyssey
to write this ode to Major Tom in 1969. It became his
first big hit and was played during the BBC coverage
of Apollo 11.
Tasmin Archer's 1992 debut album went platinum based
on the hit single Sleeping Satellite. Although
the song can be interpreted as anti-space exploration,
to HobbySpace it reflects
on the end of the lunar missions and what that implies
about human aspirations and disappointments.
"I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died with the Eagle's flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why
Are the seas still dry?
Don't blame this sleeping satellite" - first
Truckin & Contact Lost
Deep Purple's recent album "Bananas" includes
the instrumental "Contact Lost" about the
Columbia tragedy. Kalpana Chawla was a great fan of
the ban and had taken three of the band's CDs with her.
During the flight she even exchanged emails with them.
The CDs were discovered in the wreckage and were made
part of three commemorative plaques, two of which will
go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.
The third will go to guitarist Steve Morse who wrote
the song shortly after the accident. He is donating
songwriting royalties from "Contact Lost" to the astronauts'
Ventures: The Ventures Play Telstar (1962) Ventures in Space (1963) NASA 25th Anniversary Commemorative Album
(1983)The famous rock instrumental group The
Ventures (they've sold over 90 million albums) released
their cover of Telstar just as the Tornados's
version reached the top of the charts.
The Ventures Play Telstar album became one of
their biggest sellers; so much so that many Americans
came to assume that the song was originally from the
Ventures. Note that Leon Russell, who attained solo
fame in the 1970's, plays the keyboards on Telstar.
The Ventures in Space album was not quite as
successful but is considered their most influential
work. They created exotic "spacy" sounds on
their guitars that rivaled those from synthesizers and
many musicians of the psychedelic and classic 60's rock
era claimed the album as an inspiration. Keith Moon,
for example, the drummer for the Who, called it his
"At breakfast the cosmonauts sip champagne
and afterwards sign their hotel room door. As
they leave they are serenaded by a Soviet-era
rock song, “The Green Grass Near My Home” by the
band Zemlyane (“The Earthlings”), which speaks
of a cosmonaut’s love for planet Earth. The song
We neither see in dreams the cosmodrome,
Nor stars above and icy bluish glow,
In our dreams we see a green grassed lawn
And clear sky above our lovely home.
Apollo 13 Soundtrack - A mixed
collection of 1960's pop music, original music,
and dialogue from the movie.
Frontier- The Houston
Space Society's Gift Shop - presents this
audio tape from the late 1980's of a collaboration
of nine Houston bands with the title track by
Tim McGlashen. The songs include: The New Frontier,
The Revolution is for the Future, What Will Tomorrow
Bring, and more. Money used to fund space projects
ath the Houston Space Society.