Space has been a prevalent choice of topic for songwriters throughout the years. Musicians love the vast and open nature of space and its unfamiliarity to people.
As such, the great unknown provides song topics and metaphors for singers and songwriters alike. Space and uncharted territory are bottomless inspirations for musicians to make new and unique sounds.
Let’s look at 15 of the best songs about space. Let’s discover what makes it a great source for song topics. In the same way, we will find out what these songs have in common and what makes them stand out in their own right. Enjoy reading!
1. “Fly Me To The Moon” By Frank Sinatra
Up first, we have “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra, a classic example of a song that captures the magic of space. It’s been covered by many artists, but Sinatra’s version is considered to be the most definitive.
The lyrics center on a man deeply in love. The title is a metaphor for how he feels toward her. In other words, he’s happy whenever she’s around. The singer further mentions other celestial bodies to describe his feelings.
The idea of leaving everything behind and embarking on a new adventure is one that resonates with many people. This makes “Fly Me to the Moon” one of the most enduringly popular songs about space.
2. “Rocket Man” By Elton John
Next, we have Elton John‘s “Rocket Man,” released in 1972 from the album Honky Château. This is a classic ode to the joys and dangers of space travel. The song opens with a mission control countdown, setting the stage for an epic journey of a man who is sent to space to be the first human on Mars.
John’s soaring vocals and Bernie Taupin’s clever lyrics paint a picture of a daring astronaut who overcomes all odds to reach the stars.
The song became a hit, reaching #2 on the UK Singles chart and #6 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
3. “Starlight” By Muse
This is a song that everyone and their mother can probably recall by memory. That goes to show that Muse created one of the most iconic and best songs about space in history: “Starlight.”
This song can be interpreted in many ways, depending on how you look at the lyrics. One way to look at it is from the perspective of someone missing his loved one. Take note that musicians often go on tours that take them away from their families for days on end.
The singer laments, “Far away, this ship is taking me far away.” And being away sometimes causes them to lose touch with who they are. It prompts him to sing, “Starlight, I will be chasing a starlight.” In this case, starlight is that light at the end of the tunnel.
4. “Space Oddity” By David Bowie
We can attribute much of the success of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” to the peak of American excitement over space when he released the song in 1969. Not surprisingly, this was just before the 1st Apollo mission.
“Space Oddity” catches the wave of excitement and captures it through lyrics quite well. The song features the fictional Major Tom, who is sent to space. He relates some of his observations, including how he’s “floating in most peculiar way.”
But did you know that the lunar landing was not the inspiration behind this song? Bowie actually wrote the song based on the 2001 film Space Odyssey.
5. “Space Cowboy” By Steve Miller Band
Let’s move on to a song with “space” in the title. “Space Cowboy” is an exciting classic from the Steve Miller Band. The song was released in 1969 from the band’s album Brave New World.
“Space Cowboy” is quite similar to Elton John’s “Rocket Man” in that it follows the grand scope of space travel. However, this song depicts a more festive and exciting tale of exploration rather than the intimidating endlessness of space.
While “Space Cowboy” is a classic in its own right, it does sound quite like the band’s other song, “The Joker,” and struggles to stand out because of this.
6. “Andromeda” By Paul Weller
The hit single “Andromeda” by Paul Weller is one of the newest and shortest songs on our list. The song was released only slightly over a decade ago, in 2010, and did not even make the two-minute mark.
Quite simply, “Andromeda” is about leaving a dying planet, as referenced by the line, “The dying planet grew dark and still.” It’s a metaphor for the singer leaving his old life. Now from where he is, he can see Andromeda, a galaxy millions of lightyears from Earth.
“Andromeda” is another song that depicts space travel as intimidating and full of uncertainty. However, it’s also about an adventure to explore what else is out there.
7. “Space” By Murder By Death
With only minimal lyrics, Murder By Death has created quite a long section of their rock opera. Their song “Space” clocks in at just over 5 minutes of run time.
In a song with “space” in the lyrics, the song finds a man looking into space. He steps outside and finds nothing but darkness, a void that suddenly becomes a breathing, living entity.
This song is only one part of an ambitious and impressive rock opera. However, it serves as the peak of said performance and stands out on its own.
8. “Spaceman” By The Killers
Up next is a song that mentions “space” and takes a different direction. While most songs tackle space exploration, The Killers‘ “Spaceman” changes things by focusing on abduction.
Who knows? It could be aliens. Or perhaps the singer goes through a life-altering experience. Whatever it is, it isn’t what he thought it would be. Though the thought of leaving the world crosses his mind, his experience makes him doubt it.
In the chorus, we come across the star maker and the dream maker, which are voices in his head. But the spaceman comes along to remind him, “It’s all in your mind.”
9. “Life On The Moon” By David Cook
As an award-winning contestant on American Idol, David Cook started with some publicity behind his name. Cook capitalizes on his initial excitement by releasing “Life on the Moon,” which takes a pessimistic look at his life situation.
In the lyrics, the singer likens a crowded room to the moon. Despite the presence of other people, he feels alone. It makes him wonder, “Life on the moon, could it be any stranger? Life on the moon wouldn’t feel as far away?”
How he feels stems from the fact that he’s lost and needs someone, perhaps a love interest, to guide him home.
10. “Space Bound” By Eminem
Among the array of platinum-selling albums and hit songs, “Space Bound” certainly scratches the B-tier of Eminem‘s music. Despite its obscure nature, “Space Bound” is an exciting tale of lost love.
At the start of the song, we find the singer listing some of his attributes. He acknowledges he’s cold and chooses to be alone. No woman had ever caught his attention because they either play games or play with his emotions. But when he finds her, that changes.
He sings, “I’m a space bound rocket ship, and your heart’s the moon.” He’s got his sights on her. And though he is successful at making her his, they still end up parting ways.
11. “Space Truckin'” By Deep Purple
Take it from Deep Purple‘s lead singer and lyricist Ian Gillian when he says not to take this song literally. Everything in “Space Truckin'” is a play of words.
The lyrics find the singer going on an adventure in space. He references several planets, the Milky Way and Borealis. Apparently, he finds music in the solar system and encourages his listeners to go space trucking with him.
The song takes the guise of a trucker because a space hauler could be related to a trucker on Earth. It also captures what space enthusiasts love about the vast potential of untapped travel and puts a unique spin on the genre.
12. “Black Hole Sun” By Soundgarden
Like Deep Purple’s “Space Truckin’,” Soundgarden‘s “Black Hole Sun” is also a play of words. The rock band succeeded in making an earworm with this song, as it is a unique and catchy sound.
Surprisingly, the band’s frontman, Chris Cornell, admitted that there was no idea from the song to tell their listeners. He just got the idea from a news anchor that he had misheard. He thought “Black Hole Sun” was a nice title, so he worked on lyrics around this idea.
Notably, though, “Black Hole Sun” is a sad song disguised under a beautiful melody. Still, it climbed to the top of well-known Billboard charts for weeks and claimed the #1 spot for that period.
13. “Supersonic Rocket Ship” By The Kinks
The next song on this list is “Supersonic Rocket Ship,” released by The Kinks in 1972. The song is a bit more obscure than others. However, the band made a unique piece of music with this song.
“Supersonic Rocket Ship” tackles political issues through the prospect of space travel. We believe that the rocket ship refers to a better society. On the ship, the singer announces that “there’ll be equality.” No one needs to hide or be hip.
This band depicts a world that caters to everyone, including more marginalized audiences. The song may sound silly, but kudos to the band for the clever way of bringing their message across.
14. “Earthrise” By Starset
The American rock band Starset often receives praise for their “future rock” music. Their songs, like “Earthrise,” often depict a futuristic world where space travel is the norm and society has advanced into a more remarkable civilization.
“Earthrise” stands out amongst their lineup of songs. Though it is less grand, it is more about appreciating the view from outer space. Here, the singer marvels at the beauty of our planet from a distance. Note the lines that go, “I still fall for you, Like suns do for skies.”
This song is as exciting as it is epic and receives celebration as one of the best songs about space for such a reason.
15. “Space Junk” By Devo
Rounding out the list is yet another classic created by the American new wave band Devo. “Space Junk” is the 4th track on their debut disc and was released in August 1978.
If you listen to the song the first time, the words might not make sense. It begins with a woman named Sally, who is suddenly hit by space junk. Not only hit but smashed, leading to her death.
There are also other places where some of those space junk fall, such as Cuba, Africa, and Peru. These events make him mad, blaming them for the death of his Sally.
Summing Up Our List Of Space Songs
Overall, there are a lot of great songs about space. And there are more that didn’t make our list but deserve a listen.
While many of these share some common themes, it is exciting when a songwriter or band takes a different direction with their song. That goes to show how creative these people are when crafting songs about space.
The vast number of references found in songs is matched only by the vastness of space. May you not get lost while trying to find songs you want to listen to.