Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag. Picture: NASA
Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag. Picture: NASA

Music inspired by the moon landing

It is 50 years since man first stepped foot on the moon. And with that "small step" came "great leaps" musically.

Here are the galactic-inspired songs and albums that have seen space invade music.

 

SPACE ODDITY (1969)

Time and place. Bowie wrote this song inspired by the film 2001 A Space Odyssey, released in 1968. The story of fictional astronaut Major Tom, it didn't help that it was released on July 11 1969 (just a few weeks after it was recorded) however the BBC didn't start playing the song until the Apollo crew had returned to earth safely. The song eventually made No. 5 in the UK. For its 50th anniversary Bowie producer Tony Visconti remixed the track - he originally turned it down, feeling it was too much of a "cheap shot" cash-in on the moon landing.

 

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David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Picture: Supplied
David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Picture: Supplied

 

 

 

APOLLO - ATMOSPHERES & SOUNDTRACKS - Brian Eno (1983)

The iconic British musician and producer wrote this ambient, instrumental piece as the score for a documentary on the Apollo moon missions. It got delayed, but Eno released it regardless. Daniel Lanois plays country-influenced guitar on several tracks, Eno's nod to America's pioneering spirit. One track, Deep Blue Day, even features on the Trainspotting soundtrack.

 

British artist and musician Brian Eno. Picture: News Corp Australia
British artist and musician Brian Eno. Picture: News Corp Australia

 

 

 

ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND: RECORDINGS FROM THE APOLLO MISSIONS - NASA (2011)

If you're a true space geek, this is eight hours of bliss. While musicians have sampled these transmissions from astronauts and ground control and put them to music, this is purely the original audio, now available on Spotify or wherever you listen to music. The static and crackles just adds to the atmosphere and if you want to go really deep, you can listen to recordings from Apollo 7 all the way through to Apollo 17.

 

THE RACE FOR SPACE - Public Service Broadcasting (2015)

This British band made an entire concept album writing music around samples that tell the story of the American and Soviet space race. JFK's is the first voice you hear and it all rolls out chronologically. The titles tell it all (Sputnik, Gagarin, Fire in the Cockpit) and the music gets moody or energetic when needed and by Go! man is on the moon.

 

 

The crew of the Apollo 11, from left: Neil Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, module pilot; Edwin E.
The crew of the Apollo 11, from left: Neil Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, module pilot; Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, lunar module pilot. Picture: NASA

 

 

THE APOLLO 11 EP - Ebee (2018)

And here's the moon landing for ravers - pounding beats interspersed with NASA samples and plenty of sound effects that could have you thinking you're no longer on this planet.

 

APOLLO 11 - THE MISSION IN MUSIC- Clive Brooks (2019)

Mellow electronic album full of astronaut signal samples, the occasional flamenco guitar and polite dance beat. If you're after a new age space soundtrack ala Enya in orbit, this is for you.