We’ve been looking up at the stars since we first crawled out of the ocean as a species, and we’ve been making music since shortly after that moment. So, it should come as no surprise that many musicians have combined the two subjects into songs about space.
There are so many songs about space that it’s not possible to mention them all, but here is a list of some of the biggest and best ones.
Top 25 Songs About Space
1. “Space Oddity” by David Bowie
“Space Oddity” is the rare space song that’s not just using space and planetary imagery to sing about love or whatever. It was also a massive hit for Bowie and transcended all his many identities— Ziggy, The Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, and others.
“Space Oddity” tells the tragic story of fictional astronaut Major Tom, blasted into space on an adventure breathlessly covered by the media back on earth. When Ground Control discovers that Major Tom’s vessel might be malfunctioning, they pleadingly try to get in touch with him
The doomed astronaut realizes he can’t make it back to earth, and as his craft speeds further and further from his home, Tom sends a last transmission, saying a poignant farewell to his wife.
2. “Rocket Man” by Elton John
A song open to interpretation, “Rocket Man” might not be about space at all. However, the surface lyrics lend credence to the song being about the life of a spaceman. Or, should that be Rocket Man. What’s more, John released his hit just three years after the moon landing.
Of course, other elements of “Rocket Man” suggest that it might be more of a metaphor for the experiences John was dealing with in the 1970s. In particular, the rock star was facing the loneliness of being a musician constantly on the road.
Whatever lyricist Bernie Taupin intended, the song, like lots of great art, means what it means to different people. It also peaked at number six on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1972. Although it wasn’t Sir Elton’s biggest hit, it was still a seminal piece of music.
3. “Walking On The Moon” by the Police
Just because a song has “moon” in the title doesn’t mean it’s going to be dedicated to space. This tune isn’t really about space at all, but the catchy, infectious tune is one of Sting’s bigger numbers.
Sting uses the lower gravity on the moon to describe the feeling one has in that first rush of love in a new relationship. After all, when you’re in love, it can sometimes feel like your feet are no longer bound by gravity.
From “Regatta de Blanc,” the band’s second album, “Walking On The Moon” saw the band continue using the reggae elements they combined with punk on their first album in a more pure form. Songs like this showed the beginnings of the transformation the sound of The Police would go through over the band’s existence.
4. “Across The Universe” by The Beatles
John Lennon wrote a song about how insignificant the human species is given the short lifespans in the vast expanse of time and space that is the universe. What’s remarkable is that “Across the Universe” interweaves its reflective lyrics in a melody that ensures it is neither gloom-filled nor disheartening.
Instead, it speaks of an endless love that shines like countless suns and inspires him to keep going through the universe.
Another connection this song has to space is that NASA beamed it into space (aimed toward Polaris) in 2008. Sir Paul McCartney cheered the event, telling NASA to send his love to the aliens. The signal will reach Polaris in about 400 years.
5. “Saturn” by Stevie Wonder
From his “Songs in the Key of Life” double album, Stevie Wonder’s “Saturn” fondly remembers life on that planet as a utopian paradise unsullied by the petty difficulties humans face on Earth with its wars, hatred, and discord.
Wonder delivers a wistful song in “Saturn” that revolves around yearning for better days. While Saturn is a gas giant, that doesn’t detract from the underlying themes of the song.
“Saturn” is not one of Wonder’s biggest hits but it has a powerful message that is still relevant today.
6. “Space Truckin’” by Deep Purple
Like Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” “Space Truckin'” is about flying in space. Interestingly, vocalist Ian Gillian does not use rockets and space as a metaphor for social commentary or life. Instead, he’s talking about the rocket he’s riding through space.
It’s a hard-rocking song about traveling the stars. What they’re hauling in those space trucks is unclear, as no one ever mentions the cargo manifests.
7. “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra
While this is another entry that’s not exactly about space, “Fly Me To The Moon” still mentions Mars, Jupiter, and stars.
Sure, Sinatra (and all the countless artists who have covered the song) is singing about being in love, but it’s hard not to visualize what a spring really would look like on Mars or Jupiter.
8. “Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys
Other than the repetition of the chorus and some sophomoric references to planets, there’s not much about space in this hit from the legendary rap band.
Rather, “intergalactic” might just reference how popular the Beastie Boys are. The song uses a sample from 1985’s “The Toxic Avenger,” a cult classic black comedy. It’s still nothing space-related, but it’s a fun song worthy of an appearance on this list.
9. “Drops Of Jupiter” by Train
Lead singer and songwriter Pat Monahan wrote “Drops of Jupiter” not about space, the Milky Way, or romantic heartbreak. This song instead grieves the loss of Monahan’s mother to cancer.
Many people interpret the song as being about getting left by a significant other, but a close examination of the lyrics. The images created by them connote a soul leaving this realm and traveling to a new destination away from this mortal coil.
10. “Starman” by David Bowie
Another entry from the inimitable David Bowie. After all, when you think of music and space, can you honestly say Bowie doesn’t come to mind?
“Starman” may be a better song than “Space Oddity” if for no other reason than its catchy hook. Once you hear it, you’ll hum it for at least the next few days. It’s like getting Rick-rolled. It’s inescapable.
The song appears on the 1972 album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” and tells of hope for the future. It’s sung by the character Ziggy Stardust (one of Bowie’s alter-egos) and sings about the coming of an alien to earth who will save the planet from disaster.
11. “The Final Countdown” by Europe
Europe wasn’t a one-hit-wonder band, but “The Final Countdown” is by far their biggest hit. The monster synthesizer riff that starts it off is iconic in its own right. In fact, since the song’s 1986 release, it has become a popular anthem that has been used in cheeky commercials and sporting events.
The space connection here is that singer Joey Tempest croons about leaving Earth on a spaceship because— and this was a pretty forward-thinking idea in the 1980s— the planet had been ruined by mankind, and we had to find another place to live.
12. “Spaceman” by The Killers
The Killers released “Spaceman” in 2008. It’s not often that a song about being abducted by aliens finds a spot on the Billboard charts, but this one did.
After spending time with the aliens being thoroughly examined, the narrator learns that the aliens have been around for a very long time. These extraterrestrials may be trying to convince him his abduction never happened. Whether that’s the case, the lesson he takes away is that there are worse problems in the world than his, and maybe his life isn’t so bad after all.
13. “Under the Milky Way” by Church
Definitely the most un-space song on this list, but the title of “Under the Milky Way” alone makes everyone think it is. The Australian band released the record in 1988 and had a huge hit with it.
However, songwriter Steve Kilbey has repeatedly said that the song was not about anything, and the title was a reference to a music venue in Amsterdam called Melkweg (which is Dutch for “Milky Way”). The song reached number two on the American charts, and you can’t have a list of space songs without this entry.
14. “Cosmic Girl” by Jamiroquai
A song about a space-traveling sexpot sung by the Jamiroquai guy with the big hat? Funky, tasty, disco hi-hat? How was this not 1996’s song of the year?
The band’s 1970s-infused sounds contribute to the spacey feel of this sci-fi romp, and the song itself uses lots of evocative sci-fi words, like, “magnetize,” “laserbeamed” (making up their very own verb), “gravity,” “quasar,” “transporter,” “teleport,” and “hyperspace.”
That certainly makes for a song that is out-of-this-world.
15. “Space Baby” by The Tubes
The Tubes were never a major band, but they had a few hits and something to say. Lead singer Fee Waybill was an eccentric performer who constantly railed against rampant consumerism and commercialism.
“Space Baby” was grounded in those feelings of his, using sci-fi imagery to paint a vivid picture of isolation and the search for one’s own place to belong. And it’s an eminently singable melody.
16. “Spacelab” by Kraftwerk
Judging by the lyrics, which consist only of the word “spacelab,” it’s easy to figure out what the song is centered around. After all, it came out in 1978, just five years after NASA’s launch of the Skylab space station.
But if Kraftwerk was about any one thing, it was synthesizers. “Spacelab” makes excellent use of the then-novel instruments to build an environment that sounds like it’s about space, even if you couldn’t hear the vocoder-infused “spacelab” occurring throughout the piece.
17. “Starlight” by Muse
Muse was one of the most electric bands of the early 2000s, and, in “Starlight,” they deliver a catchy song with plenty of bassline typical of the group.
The song uses a starship as a metaphor for time and experience taking us away from those we love. It’s a song about love and loss, like so many great songs are, and “Starlight” is arguably the band’s most universal hit.
18. “We Are All Made Of Stars” by Moby
Since every atom in every living thing on planet earth was formed from the destruction and dissolution of stars over the nearly 14 billion-year life of our universe, Moby’s song says that we’re all in this together.
“We Are All Made Of Stars” preaches a message of unity. It advocates for what we all hope will happen when we discover extraterrestrial life: realize that we’re all one people rather than a bunch of groups fighting incessantly over things that are not important in the universe’s grand scheme.
19. “93 Million Miles” by Jason Mraz
Mraz doesn’t sing much about space in this song, but the title refers to the earth’s distance from the sun. Later in the piece, he mentions the 240,000 miles between the Earth and the moon.
“93 Million Miles” is about finding your way back home, and the title may refer to the fact that how far away you are from home doesn’t matter. All that is important is that the path is always open to you.
20. “Space Junk” by Devo
This is a weird song by an unashamedly unconventional band. Not convinced? Well, it’s about Sally, who walked down the street and died when a piece of space junk fell from the sky.
Who but Devo could have conceived of such a song? And made it fun? Apart from the wackiness, there’s something of an environmental message, too, as the piece of space junk that killed Sally is just the first of many to come raining from heaven upon us all on planet Earth.
21. “Jupiter” by Earth, Wind & Fire
This 1978 funk fest by the iconic Earth, Wind & Fire Isn’t about the planet Jupiter but rather an alien with the same name. When the narrator meets Jupiter as he steps out of his spacecraft, he learns that the entity has come to Earth to spread a message of peace and harmony. Besides those laudable goals, the extraterrestrial also wants to give a flower from his home planet.
Better a flower than the menacing invasions typical of many alien-human encounters.
22. “Last Man in Space” by Violet Sedan Chair
With a definite “Space Oddity” vibe, the somewhat unknown Violet Sedan Chair gave the world a song devoted to a man in space.
With lyrics that lament an individual being left behind, it’s hard not to think of Major Tom and his unfortunate fate.
23. “Supersonic Rocket Ship” by The Kinks
Ray Davies obviously isn’t singing about an actual rocket ship if for no other reason than his invitation to tighten up your overcoat because not even a Gore-Tex jacket will keep you alive in space.
One could argue that the titular craft is a metaphor for a better, brighter future that we could all have if only we’d pull together and make our world a better place.
After all, “Supersonic Rocket Ship” has lyrics that are a little on the nose about societal issues. Their observations are all the more impressive given that they might have been relatively novel concepts when this song came out in 1972.
24. “The Galaxy Song” by Monty Python
Part of the Python film, “The Meaning of Life,” “The Galaxy Song” goes over the basic facts of space and time, detailing how many stars are in the galaxy, how big it is, and so on. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about astronomical numbers, then this is a perfect song to listen to.
What’s more, it’s pretty accurate, scientifically, but the kicker comes at the end when the group hopes for intelligent life elsewhere in space as there’s little to be found on Earth. That’s a biting observation typical of Monty Python’s cutting humor.
25. “The History of Everything” by Barenaked Ladies
You more likely know this song as the catchy theme to the comedy series “The Big Bang Theory.” It tells the universe’s history, from the Big Bang to Albert Einstein. True to the Barenaked Ladies’ style, it’s got a ton of intricate lyrics and clever wordplay, and it’s incredibly catchy.
Would it have been a hit without being attached to a hugely successful television show about nerds with a beautiful neighbor? There’s no certainty either way. Nor does it matter, because you likely have the song stuck in your head just by reading “Big Bang” in the last paragraph.
Like space itself, the number of songs that have been written about the heavenly bodies (or at least used the stars as a metaphor for more earthly subjects) is endless. These 25 songs are a great start to building a playlist worthy of NASA.