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Moon Landing Songs

11 Jun 09 - 07:43 AM (#2653871)
Subject: Moon Landing Songs
From: mauvepink

My recent thread on singer/songwriters was actually prompted by my trying to write a song to celebrate next months 40th Anniversary of the first moon landing. I think this event is arguably one of mankind's greatest achievments and actually feel sad that 'we' never went back. Some would argue it was a waste of money and effort. They are entitled to their opinions, of course, but it shows what can be done when everyone is centered on an ideal. I digress...

I cannot find any songs that truly reflect the great event and it seems Folk Music would be a natural outlet for such a tale of heroism and all the devil deeds of daring it took to get Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking in the very aptly named Mare Tranquillitatis (The Sea of Tranquility) whilst their colleague, Michael Collins, orbited our nearest neighbour in space.

Off they went on the 16th July 1969, finally landing on 21st and returning home to Earth on 24th. Mankind has made some epic voyages and discoveries in its history but could anything compare to this? I guess all great voyages and discoveries are equal in many ways but there is something about Project Apollo that lights fires me equivalent to seeing a tall ship flash by or when reading about Columbus, Darwin and Jesus' life (as instances).

Where are all the songs? Does anyone know of any? Can our wonderful singer/songwriters rise to a challenge of writing a song that celebrates this momentous point in history? Forty years... where have they gone? The planet seems still at war in many ways but just for a moment the whole world gasped and were togther as the "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" took place

I will try and write something, if only a poem, but will attempt to put music to it as well. Anyone else up for a try? Can anyone guide me to any songs? Thank you for any help



11 Jun 09 - 10:26 AM (#2653962)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: Simon G

What about a song contrasting the Apollo and Columbus missions?

11 Jun 09 - 10:37 AM (#2653976)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: Nigel Parsons

Briefly touched on in Frank Hennessy's hearts on Fire

PerformedHere by the Fureys


11 Jun 09 - 10:38 AM (#2653978)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: GUEST,Lighter

Just remember it was a fake. You know it, we know it, the Moon People know it.

11 Jun 09 - 10:47 AM (#2653988)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: pdq

John Stewart did a song just a few months after the Moon landing. I think it's called Armstrong.

11 Jun 09 - 10:49 AM (#2653990)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: Nicholas Waller

Not too folky, but The Moody Blues did a whole album in 1969 that was generally Apollo 11/cosmos-oriented, To Our Children's Children's Children.

It kicks off with "Higher and Higher", which is a kind of sung semi-poem:

       Blasting, billowing, bursting forth
       With the power of ten billion butterfly sneezes
       Man with his flaming pyre
       Has conquered the wayward breezes

       Climbing to Tranquility
       Far above the cloud
       Conceiving the heavens
       Clear of misty shroud

    Higher and higher
    Now we've learned to play with fire
    Go higher and higher and higher

       Vast vision must improve our sight
       Perhaps at last we'll see an end
       To our home's endless blight
       And the beginning of the Free

       Climb to Tranquility
       Finding its real worth
       Conceiving the heavens
       Flourishing on earth

    Higher and higher
    Now we've learned to play with fire
    We go higher and higher and higher

11 Jun 09 - 10:57 AM (#2653993)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw

I remember it well. We did a gig that night ( at what was Hitchin Folk Club if I remember correctly). Needless to say, there were hardly any punters there. I got home in time to watch the Moon landing on telly with my grandma.

11 Jun 09 - 11:15 AM (#2654012)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs

This was recorded by Iain MacKintosh

Armstrong (John Stewart)

Black boy in Chicago
Playin' in the street
Hasn't any clothes to wear
Not near enough to eat
But don't you know he saw it
On that July afternoon
Saw a man named Armstrong Walk upon the moon

Young girl in Calcutta
Barely eight years old
The fly's that swarm the market place
Will see she don't grow old
But don't you know she heard it
On a July afternoon
Heard a man named Armstrong Walk upon the moon

River's getting dirty
The air is getting bad
War and hate are killing off
The only earth we have
But the whole world stopped to watch
On that July afternoon
Watched a man named Armstrong Walk upon the moon
And I wonder if a long time ago
Somewhere in the universe
They watched a man named Adam Walk upon the earth


11 Jun 09 - 12:49 PM (#2654081)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: GUEST,mauvepink

Alas I cannot load up music on my dialup so I will miss that Furey's link BUT thank you for pointing me to it. How contrasting the two songs are lyrically of those posted so far ("Armstrong" and "Higer & Higher")

I know the earth was in disarray. It still is. We still have starving millions and poor countries left dying. That has not changed over history, except the means to do it, and yes it is all very sad.

I wonder if the space programme money was put into those countries how many would be saved and how many helped by the millions of dollars. In honesty, although I know it was a space race in a cold war era, I still find it awe inspiring what man can acheive when they get together for the good. What remarkable words in "Armstrong".

Every journey has to start with a single step and this was our first step off away into the universe. The right and wrongs I have no idea about. I think it was right to do it but I respect the other view too. For a few seconds the world held its breath in unison, whilst I realise some took their last breaths too in those moments, but anything that gets us to be as one has to be good?

I live in hope. Considering how many songs are dedicated to war, murder, pillage and all sorts of mayhem, it still surprises me that more moon songs were not done and that the 40th anniversary is creeping up on us already.

Thanks for all the posts so far.

The one thing that convinces me above all things that we did go there is that there is no way the Russians of the time would have allowed a con so big to be pulled by the USA. They would have known it was fake if it had been. But then 'we' never did go there... just a few men did.

Simon. Great idea! I'll think about that one.

Fellow citizens of folk and the Earth... keep your thoughts coming :-)


11 Jun 09 - 01:38 PM (#2654141)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: GUEST,Ken Brock

The Byrds had a song Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins

11 Jun 09 - 02:29 PM (#2654176)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: GUEST,Ken Brock

John Phillips, of The Mamas and The Papas, wrote songs for a mid-1970's Broadway musical that lasted less then a week, MAN ON THE MOON.

Songs from this are showing up on some of Phillips' posthumous releases.

11 Jun 09 - 03:02 PM (#2654201)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: Nicholas Waller

Mauvepink "I wonder if the space programme money was put into those countries how many would be saved"

Space missions, being rather exotic, visual, much-publicised and apparently unconnected to earth, do attract a lot of "this money could be spent better elsewhere" comment, as though it represents a huge proportion of the US government's costs. There is an interesting Death and Taxes poster that shows shows using graphics how much space consumes these days (well, 2007) compared with all the other US commitments, and NASA makes a pretty small circle, on a par with the "Tenant-based Rental Assistance" budget in the HUD at around $16 billion pa.

Back in the 1960s things were different and Apollo was indeed expensive, but it still was a very long way from being the most expensive thing the US government was doing then. For instance, total US military spending, including Vietnam, was apparently $83 billion in 1969 alone, whereas the Apollo programme 'only' cost about $25 billion over 13 years, so about $2 billion a year (in 1969 dollars).

Taking NASA and the space programme as a whole, you could probably argue it has overall been fabulously successful, profitable and useful, not so much in terms of exploration but due to weather-forecasting, geological and communications satellites and so on.

There is also an argument that the USA and USSR getting deeply involved in the space race helped avert much more costly conflicts in other areas, for instance nuclear war (which, conceivably, spy-in-the-sky satellites also helped suppress). Without space, there might have been more Cuba/Turkey-type face-offs, one of which might have blown up.

You could say it's a bit like those ancient wars where two evenly-matched armies picked a champion to fight for them in single-combat, to avoid the death and mayhem involved in actually having a full pitched battle. (That might make a song... the race to the moon as a battle of champions, Apollo against Soyuz - Apollo wins - and the combatants bury the hatchet in the 1975 joint Apollo-Soyuz project).

Finally, there are getting on for twice as many people on earth now compared with 1969 - 3.6 million in 1969, 6.7 million now - though I don't know if that is at all relevant to anything. But at least Apollo hasn't actively caused billions of deaths!

11 Jun 09 - 07:21 PM (#2654411)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: GUEST,mauvepink

A good way to look at it Nicholas and one I happen to think you are right with. I simply did not have the figures but the point I failed to make was that the money spent on Project Apollo would not have been spent on those starving millions so I doubt many would be saved.

I like your ideas about space technology being a help though. Your last point is pertinent too

We are a long way from the utopia of a Star Trek Earth but at least the start has been made. I do so wonder when it will carry on.

Best wishes


11 Jun 09 - 07:31 PM (#2654421)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: Nicholas Waller

"3.6 million in 1969, 6.7 million now" - oops, billions of course.

12 Jun 09 - 10:46 AM (#2654856)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: Nicholas Waller

For anyone wanting to dig into the nuts and bolts of Apollo 11 before trying to write a song about it, there's now an Apollo 11 Owners' Workshop Manual from the people at Haynes Manuals, I kid you not.

12 Jun 09 - 10:25 PM (#2655378)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: Joe_F

13 Jun 09 - 12:35 PM (#2655634)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: GUEST,Jim P

Hope Eyrie

13 Jun 09 - 12:53 PM (#2655645)
Subject: RE: Moon Landing Songs
From: GUEST,Captain Jack Sparrow

I them days I used to sail on the Black Pearl with Davey Jones. He wrote a couple of shanties called Space Oddity and Life On Mars that became quite popular.

Now... bring me that horizon.