Here is a list of my favorite classic rock songs that have lyrics and music that reflect a science fiction theme. I grew up with these songs and they are still among my favorites today. It’s not like I only liked songs that had a sci-fi theme. In fact, most of the music that I’ve liked throughout my life has nothing to do with science fiction. But, I have to say there is something about these songs that has always resonated with me in a different way than the rest. Even as a boy, the science fiction elements in each of these songs took my imagination in new directions, and I believe they are still having a positive impact on me today. The only media that I can recall as having a possibly greater influence on the kinds of stories I like today are a couple of movies. Namely the first Star Wars movie that came out when I was 14 (Yeah, I’m that old), and all five of the original Planet of the Apes movies.
We often hear about great Sci-Fi movies but seldom to we remember the great songs of science fiction. As you read through my list I wish to point out that none of these songs are here simply because of the lyrics alone. I’ve included only songs that were overall works of art with incredible music to go along with the lyrics. I thought about linking to Youtube videos for each one but I thought that might be overkill and make the blog post difficult to wade through. Instead, I’ve included sample lyrics beneath each song title to give you a taste of what the song is about. If you are interested, I hope you will look these songs up and give them a listen. Also, if I’ve forgotten any great sci-fi songs, please write
it into the comments and let me know what I’ve missed.
1. SPACE ODDITY – David Bowie – album: David Bowie
This is Major Tom to Ground Control. I’m stepping through the door, and I’m floating in a most peculiar way, and the stars look very different today. For here am I sitting in a tin can. Far above the world. Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do
2. WELCOME TO THE MACHINE – Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
Welcome my son, welcome to the machine. What did you dream? It’s alright we told you what to dream. You dreamed of a big star. He played a mean guitar. He always ate in the Steak Bar. He loved to drive in his Jaguar. So welcome to the machine.
3. CALLING OCCUPANTS OF INTERPLANETARY CRAFT – Klaatu – album: 3:47 EST
Calling occupants of interplanetary, most extraordinary craft. You’ve been observing our Earth, and we’d like to make a contact with you. We are your friends. Calling occupants of interplanetary craft.
4. AROUND THE UNIVERSE IN 80 DAYS – Klaatu – album: Hope
It took man a million years to make it only this far, and we’ll leave the solar system very soon. Around the universe in eighty days. Sit down I think you’ll like it out in space.
5. STAR MAN – David Bowie – album: Ziggy Stardust
There’s a starman waiting in the sky. He’d like to come and meet you but he thinks he’d blow our minds. There’s a starman waiting in the sky. He’s told us not to blow it, cause he knows it’s all worthwhile.
6. MISSION – ELO – album: New World Record
The planet Earth from way up there is beautiful and blue, and floating softly through a rainbow. But when you touch down things look different here. At the mission of the sacred heart. Watching all the days roll by. Who are you and who am I?
7. ROCKET MAN – Elton John – album: Honkey Chateau
And I think it’s gonna be a long long time, tTill touch down brings me round again to find I’m not the man they think I am at home. Oh no no no. I’m a rocket man. Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone.
8. SOME OTHER TIME – Alan Parsons Project – album: I Robot
Like a mirror held before me, large as the sky is wide. And the image is reflected back to the other side. Could it be that somebody else is looking into my mind? Some other place, somewhere, some other time.
9. CHILDREN OF THE SUN – Billy Thorpe – album: (same name)
No more gravity, nothing holding them down. Floating endlessly, as their ship leaves the ground. Through the walls of time, at the speed of light. Fly the crystal ships on their celestial flight. On their celestial flight.
10. CYGNUS X1 – Rush – album: Farewell to Kings
I set a course just east of Lyra and northwest of Pegasus. Flew into the light of Deneb, sailed across the Milky Way. On my ship the Rocinante wheeling through the galaxies. Headed for the heart of Cygnus, headlong into mystery.