I have been enamoured of the heavens ever since my dad pointed out my first constellation. We would get our star chart out and set the dial for the right time of year, then “charge” the glow in the dark stars under a lamp in the den. After we got outside, my dad would tell me to keep my eyes closed for 10 minutes so that they would adjust to the darkness. I knew it was only going to help me see the stars better, but I couldn’t wait. I always peeked, every time. I even begged my family to go on “Double Dare” because the grand prize was a trip to Space Camp. I didn’t know you could just sign up and pay to go, Space Camp seemed too awesome for just anybody to get in. Somehow you had to prove your worthiness by getting slimed on television. I have since discovered that a shooting star entering the atmosphere could just as easily be astronaut poop as space dust, and that being an astronaut takes a lot more math that I am willing to do. All of that being said, I still get excitied to see a shooting star, whatever it’s composition, and if I had Nick Carter’s money I , too, would be trying to hitch a ride with some cosmonauts.
Space Oddity, David Bowie (1969)
Best space song. Ever. “Space Oddity” is eerie and beautiful, very much like outer space. The whispered countdown, the national pride, the isolation and subdued dispair are all artfully woven into spacey-sounding instrumentals. David Bowie is the man.
Major Tom (Coming Home), Peter Schilling (1983)
This song is a sequel to “Space Oddity”, but this time around there is a happy ending for Major Tom. Personally, I like the drama of David Bowie’s Major Tom, but I prefer the sound of the take-off in this song. The chorus is unavoidably catchy and fun to sing along with too.
The Galaxy Song, Monty Python (1983)
Memorize the lyrics to this song and you could pass Astronomy 101, no problem. I didn’t say get an A, but pass? For sure. While not the most compelling song in a musical sense, you have to appreciate the fact that so much terminology can be put into lyrics that flow quite well, actually. The last verse is my very favorite, talking about light speed (“that’s the fastest speed there is”) and how insignificant and special we all are, yet “pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, ’cause there’s bugger-all here on Earth.”
Heaven and Hell Part 1, Vangelis (1975)
This song was used as the theme song to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. This song really captures the beauty and awe of the mysteries of the universe. If you caught the similarities, good ear, and yes, Vangelis wrote the Chariots of Fire theme song too.