It was one giant leap for mankind, and Spotify is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing by illuminating the “Moon” songs Spotify listeners love, as well as some fascinating insights NASA shared with us about how music is enjoyed – and played – in space.
There are more than 185 thousand tracks on Spotify with “Moon” in the title, including classics like Frank Sinatra’s duet with Count Basie, “Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words),” R.E.M.’s “Man on the Moon” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising.” Ariana Grande’s “Moonlight” is also a popular lunar-themed choice, as well as Bruno Mars’ “Talking to the Moon” and Norah Jones’ “Shoot the Moon.”
And which U.S. states are most into stargazing? Vermont, followed by Montana, Maine, Alaska and Hawaii stream the most Moon tracks.
As for songs that are played a little higher off the ground; NASA says it was customary for flight crews on board space shuttles to be roused with a “wake-up” song, often played from Mission Control. Songs that have fulfilled this important task include “Speed of Sound” by Coldplay, “Days Go By” by Keith Urban, “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé and The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.”
And while it takes two years of dedicated training to become an astronaut, it turns out that quite a few astronauts also possess musical skills which they’ve demonstrated while floating in zero gravity. Bagpipes, flute, keyboard, saxophone, guitar and the didgeridoo are among the instruments that have been played either in shuttles or on the International Space Station. (Fun fact: In space, musical instruments sound the same as on earth, but they must be handled differently. If a keyboard isn’t tethered, it moves away with every keystroke.)
During the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, the flight crew might not have had time for a jam session, but they did reportedly take with them cassette mixtapes that were specially made for them by the late record executive Mickey Kapp. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s mixtape apparently featured Barbra Streisand’s “People” and Glenn Campbell’s “Galveston.”
Back on Earth in 1969, during the July 16-20 Moon mission, atop the Billboard charts was the Original Broadway Cast Recording of “Hair” – a soundtrack that today is most streamed by our 18-24 year-old listeners. The top-charting single at that time was Zager & Evans’ “In the Year 2525.” In the year 2019, that song has clocked more than 9 million streams on Spotify.
You’ll find all these stats and facts on this cool infographic. You can download it on our blog post, too, on For The Record, where you’ll also hear first-hand from a former astronaut about what it’s like to play a guitar in space.
Also, check out the playlist “NASA Moon Tunes” compiled by NASA’s Third Rock Radio. It’s based on more than one million “Moon tunes” submissions.
Here are 20 of the most-streamed “moon” tunes on Spotify globally (from January 1st, 2019 and in no particular order):
- “Bad Moon Rising” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
- “Talking to the Moon” – Bruno Mars
- “Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)” – Frank Sinatra, Count Basie
- “Moonlight” – Ariana Grande
- “Man On The Moon” – R.E.M.
- “Walking On The Moon” – The Police
- “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” – Randy Houser
- “Moonage Daydream” – David Bowie
- “Moondance” – Van Morrison
- “Can’t Fight The Moonlight” – LeAnn Rimes
- “Moonlight” – Grace VanderWaal
- “Mwaka Moon” – Kalash, Damso
- “Get You The Moon (feat. Snøw)” – Kina, Snøw
- “Dancing in the Moonlight” – Toploader
- “Harvest Moon” – Neil Young
- “Dancing In The Moonlight (feat. NEIMY)” – Jubël
- “The Killing Moon” – Echo & the Bunnymen
- “Pink Moon” – Nick Drake
- “Bark at the Moon” – Ozzy Osbourne
- “My Moon My Man” – Feist
Most Moon-obsessed U.S. states (based on streaming of “Moon” tunes):
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
- North Dakota
- South Dakota