Thursday, 26 April 2018

My Top Ten Famous Astronaut Songs


Ground control to Major Tom... can you spot any other famous astronauts up there in your tin can, Dave?



10. Clutch - Spacegrass

Verging on metal, but there's a great bassline here that goes right through you...

Dodge Swinger 1973, Top Down, Chassis Free,
Buzz Aldrin, Armstrong, Or Maybe Just Me.
Don't Worry, It's Coming.
Don't Worry, It's Coming.
Jesus On The Dashboard.

9. SR-71 - Last Man On The Moon

Better than that other band named after a top secret spyplane...

I could never be Neil Armstrong
I'd be the last man on the moon...

8. Robyn Hitchcock - NASA Clapping

As is often the case with Robyn's songs, I don't really have a clue what this is all about, but there will be golf courses on the moon one day if we keep dreaming...

Buzz Aldrin took me by the arm
And said one day that I'd be rich
I think he meant that I was gonna be your lover in his lifetime

And I thought I heard, I thought I heard NASA clapping

7. PJ Harvey - Yuri-G

Polly Jean wishes she was Yuri-G. She's certainly a space case.

6. Lightnin' Hopkins - Happy Blues For John Glenn

Even astronauts get the blues...

People, I was sittin' this mornin' with this on my mind
Said there ain't no livin' man who gone around the world three times
John Glenn done it, yes he did
He did it, I'm talkin' about him only did it for fun

5. Fun Lovin' Criminals - Fun Lovin' Criminal

Huey! Take us into space, my man!

I got so much flavour. . .I always leave you chewin'
I got so many styles you think I'm from the U.N
I broke into the White House and never got caught
And I'd be Neil Armstrong if I was an astronaut

4. Janelle Monae - Sally Ride

Janelle pays tribute to the third woman in space (after Valentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya... who hasn't, to my knowledge, had a song written about her).

I'm packing my space suit
And I'm taking my shit and moving to the moon
Where there's no rules

See also Ride, Sally Ride by Lou Reed... which I'm guess wasn't about this particular Sally Ride as she didn't even join NASA till 4 years after it was released. Probably has more to do with Mustang Sally.

3. Public Service Broadcasting - Gagarin

From PSB's The Race For Space, which features a number of other astronauts... but none more famous than "the world's first cosmonaut".

See also The Last Flight of Yuri Garagrin by A Flock Of Seagulls which sadly wouldn't quite fit in the landing capsule...

2. Frank Turner - Silent Key

Christa McAuliffe died in 1986 on the Challenger space shuttle, a disaster that had a tremendous effect on a young Frank Turner. Here, Frank imagines her death as showing her the opening to another world... and the message she sends back to earth can only be heard by a young boy over his ham radio...

It came as some surprise to realise that as she lost everything
The world was revealing a transmission so real that she understood everything
You're still alive, you're still alive...

1. The Divine Comedy - Absent Friends

Leave it to Neil Hannon to pay tribute to the first dog in space... and break our hearts in the progress.

Laika flew through inky blue
'Til Laika neared the atmosphere and Laika knew
Laika's life was through...

Absent friends, here's to them,
And happy days, we thought that they would never end,
But they always end.



Any astronauts floating around in your record collection?


13 comments:

  1. Billy Bragg's 'The Space Race is Over' springs to mind.
    'When I was young I told my mum
    I'm going to walk on the Moon someday
    Armstrong and Aldrin spoke to me
    From Houston and Cape Kennedy...'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ouch. Can't believe I missed that: it'd be Top 3!

      Delete
  2. Re number 4.... Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space though, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Apologies - you are correct. I had meant to edit that before I posted it. Corrected now.

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    2. Feel like writing a song about Svetlana Savitskaya now ... :)

      Delete
  3. Good to see Lightnin' there. Remember that from my Kershaw days.
    I'm pretty sure I've got a song somewhere called Neil Armstrong but I can't remember who by. I'll have a dig around

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    Replies
    1. I'd be interested to hear it.

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  4. She wasn't a famous astronaut, but John Prine did sing:

    "Oh my stars! my Linda's gone to Mars
    Well I wish she wouldn't leave me here alone
    Oh my stars! my Linda's gone to Mars
    Well, I wonder if she'd bring me something home..."

    And Neil Young's album "Old Ways", he had a song about the astronauts "Living Kennedy's dream" and
    "Watching old re-runs
    Of Mohammed Ali"

    Then it gets all weird.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a whole other Top Ten in "Other People Who Went Into Space" but I haven't worked out what to call it yet.

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  5. Also... the Byrds had a song entitled "Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins", which can best be described as of its time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLLDQhA1Z7c

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  6. You also wouldn’t be able to fit those Flock of Seagulls’ hairdos in the landing craft.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for remembering my favorite song from Mr. Hannon.

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  8. I have always loved The Mekons "Ghosts of American Astronauts", which seems to fit in very nicely here.

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