Ahead of Jack White's Third Man Records launching the first ever record to be played in space (tomorrow, Saturday 30th July) we ask: why does space seem to fascinate musicians so much? Check our Top 10 best "space" songs, plus the most far-out gear here at PMT Online and at our stores!
Space has fascinated mankind since the dawn of time. We stare at the starry sky and wonder, "What does it all mean? Why are we here?" That kind of stuff. Some people become scientists, and try to find new planets, study the movement of stars, etc... but the musician stare at the sky and thinks, "Hell, now here's a subject better than just another 'My baby left me' song!" And then, there we have it - before long, pop culture had a long list of songs about space... from Gustav Holst to Babylon Zoo!
On Saturday, 30th July 2016, a new chapter in space music will begin: Jack White's Third Man Records will attempt to launch the first ever record to be actually played in space! The Icarus project will send a Carl Sagan record into space, inside a custom-made record player.
According to their press release:
"On July 30th, in celebration of our 7th anniversary, Third Man Records will reveal our attempt to play the first phonographic record in space — a gold-plated 12” master of Carl Sagan’s “A Glorious Dawn” (a moving arrangement of Sagan’s sagacious words culled from his magnificent Cosmos series, previously pressed and distributed as a 7” in their first year of operation, 2009). "
This feat will be a fitting tribute to Sagan, the famous scientist who fronted the popular Cosmos TV series and who chaired the committee who selected the sounds and created the legendary Voyager Golden Record, sent into space in the Seventies. But unlike the Third Man project, the Voyager Golden Record has actually never been played in space!
Carl Sagan said that "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space."
PMT's Top 10 Space Songs
Sit back, fasten your belts and prepare for the launch! Here's our picks of best "space songs"!
1) 'Space Oddity', David Bowie
Bowie's first hit and the song that perfectly launched him as an "other worldly" pop star.
2) 'Astronomy Dominee', Pink Floyd
The first song on Pink Floyd's debut album, and a perfect showcase to Syd Barrett's out-there creativity.
3) 'Ladies and Gentlemen... We Are Floating In Space", Spiritualized
Needless to say, Jason Spaceman has a long connection with far-out sounds, since his Spacemen 3 days. This is still his finest moment, from one of the best albums in the 90s.
4) 'Space Is The Place', Sun Ra Arkestra
Sun Ra was an experimental jazz genius, Moog synths pioneer, "cosmic philosopher" and an alien from Saturn (allegedly). Obviously, he had to be on our list...
5) 'Intergalactic', Beastie Boys
For a time, in the 90's, you could search through the whole universe and not find anything as cool as the Beastie Boys. Word!
6) 'Also Sprach Zarathustra', Richard Strauss
Ok, so it's not a "space" song, but will be forever associated with Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, '2001: A Space Odyssey' - to the point it's almost impossible to listen to this piece and not think of space!
7) 'Girl From Mars', Ash
In an era so full of upbeat Britpop hits, Ash's single still stands out as one of the most fun, innocent and rockiest songs of that time.
8) 'Mr. Spaceman', The Byrds
One of the greatest American bands from the Sixties, the Byrds were as fascinated by the "space age" as anyone else at the time... and this song was a hit.
9) 'Supermassive Black Hole', Muse
One of Muse's finest moments. It sounds... supermassive!
10) 'D'Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman?', Oasis
This fine b-side is one of Noel Gallagher's most earnest moments. For most of us, space is just a dream...
Make Sounds From Outer Space!
Ok! So you've heard some space songs... in case you now feel inspired to create some interstellar masterpieces yourself, here's our choice of the Top 5 best gear to make some far-out sounds!