The 200 Best Songs in the World

This entry was originally posted on August 1, 2010 by Astronaut Ron Garan on

I am presently building an iTunes playlist to take with me for my 6-month tour on board the International Space Station.  I’m calling the playlist “The Best 200 Songs in the World”. Presently I have 68 (listed below in alphabetical order).  I would really appreciate your suggestions and I’m open to suggestions from any genre.  Please just add your suggestions in the comment section of this post.

This is actually an important pre-flight task. The environment on board the space station is very sterile and the only sounds you hear are that of pumps and fans. It is very important to be able to listen to music while living and working onboard.  You definitely have a feeling of isolation while you’re off the planet and listening to music allows you to have a real connection with your home. On STS-124 it was a wonderful experience to be able to look down at the beautiful Earth while listening to great music. Here’s what I have so far:

  • Against the Wind, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
  • Alison, Elvis Costello
  • All Because of You, U2
  • Baby, I Love Your Way, Peter Frampton
  • Bad Company, Bad Company
  • Beast of Burden, Rolling Stones
  • Black Dog, Led Zeppelin
  • Black Magic Woman, Santana
  • Black Bird, Beatles
  • Blowin’ In The Wind, Bob Dylan
  • Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
  • Boom Boom, Johnny Lee Hooker
  • Break On Through, Doors
  • Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits
  • Burning Down the House, Talking Heads
  • Carnival, Natalie Merchant
  • The Chain, Fleetwood Mac
  • Changes, David Bowie
  • Do it Again, Steely Dan
  • Do You Feel Like We Do, Peter Frampton
  • Europa, Santana
  • Fantasy, Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Feeling Alright, Joe Cocker
  • Fire & Rain, James Taylor
  • Fly Like an Eagle, Steve Miller
  • Free Bird, Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Georgia On My Mind, Ray Charles
  • Hotel California, Eagles
  • I Will Remember You, Sarah McLachlan
  • Imagine, John Lennon
  • Jealousy, Natalie Merchant
  • Jesus is Alright, Doobie Brothers
  • Kashmir, Led Zeppelin
  • Landslide, Fleetwood Mac
  • Let it Be, Beatles
  • Let’s Stay Together, Al Green
  • Like a Rock, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
  • Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
  • Long Train Runnin’, Doobie Brothers
  • Maggie May, Rod Stewart
  • Moby Dick, Led Zeppelin
  • Moment of Surrender, U2
  • Money, Beatles
  • One, U2
  • One Last Breath, Creed
  • Paradise, Sade
  • Pride (In The Name of Love), U2
  • Pride & Joy, Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix
  • Ramble On, Led Zeppelin
  • Ready for Love, Bad Company
  • Rebel Rebel, David Bowie
  • Reeling in the Years, Steely Dan
  • Respect, Aretha Franklin
  • Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac
  • Roadhouse Blues, Doors
  • Roxanne, Police
  • Smooth, Santana
  • Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin
  • Thunder Road, Bruce Springsteen
  • Under Pressure, David Bowie & Queen
  • We Are the Champions, Queen
  • What a Wonderful World, Louie Armstrong
  • Wild Horses, Rolling Stones
  • Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd
  • Wonderful Tonight, Eric Clapton
  • Wonderful World, Sam Cooke
  • You’ve Got a Friend, James Taylor

25 thoughts on “The 200 Best Songs in the World”

  1. “Revolution Earth” by the B-52’s. It’s one of their NON-silly songs. And it has some very nice images of being in orbit — “The world below us on gliding fireworks…”

    Also “By Rocket to the Moon,” by They Might Be Giants.

    And, of course, “Life on Mars” by David Bowie.

    Sensing a theme? 🙂

    Best of luck on your stay at the ISS. Will you be blogging or tweeting while you’re there?

  2. just a few tips to help you out with your pics,
    try not to put on music that is really slow, or sad, it will make you miss home like crazy, but it is good once in a while to bring back some memories. I know this may not sound really apealing to you, seing this isnt really your style, it is more like teenage style, but you should really try to put in some of those pop and rap songs like black eyed peas, a really cheery song they have that is realy nice to is Tonight is Gonna Be a Good Night, or by lady gaga, u should try just dance, and bad romance. Kesha would also be a great choice, for her song Tik Tok. But one of my favorites is by akon. this isnt realy a specificly teenage song, it is great for everyone. I am sure you have heard it as it was used alot in the world cup. it is called Oh Africa. What makes it realy nice is that it is so upbeat, and realy cheery, and is all about success, plus akon has a great voice which makes an amazing combination for all ages, i know alot of grown ups who listen to it, it realy is a great song. There is also another amazing song like Oh Africa, but i tend to forget who wrote it, it is called I Made It. it is about success and how you can acheive your goals if you put your mind to it. I think it was by Akon or something, but definetly from that singer type group. I would also suggest other singers like rhianna or beyonce, or taylor swift, they may seem too, just not realy your style, not all adults like pop and rap and that stuff, but it is aways great to try out new things. Hope you have a great trip!!

  3. Those are classic and great songs! I grew up listening to 80’s and 90’s music but dislike the music these days.
    I would add:
    Say hello to heaven – Temple of the dog
    Hunger strike – Temple of the dog
    Hands all over – Soundgarden.
    May this be love – Jimi Hendrix
    Little wing – Jimi Hendrix and Skid Row’s version
    Seasons – Chris Cornell
    I remember you – skid Row
    Lilac Wine – Jeff Buckley
    Last Goodbye – Jeff Buckley
    Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
    I guess that’s why they call it the blues – Elton John
    First cut is the deepest – Rod Stewart
    Angel eyes (I’ll never let you go) – Steelheart
    You’re in my heart – Rod Stewart
    Dakota – Stereophonics
    Heaven – Bryan Adams
    Wild Angels – Pretty Boy Floyd
    Heaven – Warrant
    and lots more!!

  4. Proud Mary, Creedence Clearwater Revival
    Devil Went Down to Georgia, Charlie Daniels Band

  5. Midnight Rainshower (Natural rain on Hawaii, 60mins)
    Audio Deluxe 60 Seconds
    Norwegian Recycling 8 Become 1
    Sandman Better With His Hands
    Kosheen Catch U
    Adiemus Chorale VII – A Ma Ka Ma
    Dougan, Rob Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Mix)
    Bjork Come to Me
    The Lord Of The Rings Concerning Hobbits
    Lobsterdust Epic Rock You
    Decoder Ring Escape Pod
    Coldplay Fix You (Live)
    Decoder Ring Fractions
    Apocalyptica Hall of the Mountain King [Edit][Edward Grieg cover]
    Norwegian Recycling How Six Songs Collide
    Evanescence I Can’t Say No to You
    Call, Marian I’ll Still Be a Geek After Nobody Thinks It’s Chic
    Bachelor Girl I’m Just A Girl (Less Audience)
    Klaatu Little Neutrino
    Little Boots Mathematics
    Bohren & der Club of Gore Midnight Walker
    Raiders, The Miss Kidman on a Cruise (Extract)
    Sting Moon Over Bourbon Street
    Nelson, Willie Moonlight in Vermont
    Juno Reactor Navras (w Don Davis)
    Karnivool New Day
    Belle & Sebastian Night Walk
    Queens of the Stone Age No One Knows
    Kershaw, Nik Nobody Knows
    Yello On the Run
    Guns n Roses Patience
    Yello Planet Dada
    Depeche Mode Somebody (Live)
    Davis, Don Spirit of the Universe
    Yello Sweet Thunder
    DCD The Host of Seraphim
    Abba The Way Old Friends Do
    Joel, Billy Travellin’ Prayer
    New Order True Faith
    Freemasons Uninvited (f Bailey Tzuke)
    Prince When Doves Cry (Long Mix)
    Dougan, Rob Will You Follow Me
    Placebo Without You I’m Nothing (Live w Bowie)

  6. Money, Pink Floyd
    While My Guitar Gently Weeps, The Beatles
    Jammin’, Bob Marley
    Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
    Simple Twist of Fate, Bob Dylan

  7. Money – Pink Floyd
    Us and Them – Pink Floyd
    Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie
    Don’t Stop me now – Queen
    Shine on you crazy diamond (I-IX) – Pink Floyd
    Sultans of swing – Dire Straits
    Beautiful Day – U2

    I thought you might need more than one Pink Floyd song.

  8. Third Day: God of Wonders
    Matt Maher: Alive Again
    Chris Tomlin: Indescribable
    Aaron Shust: Give It All Away

  9. Music is, of course always a personal choice, but since I would concur with a lot of your choices, I’d suggest the following may fit with your tastes. God speed your mission:
    Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
    Brooks & Dunn – Only in America
    Cat Stevens – Morning has broken
    Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli – Time to say goodbye
    Cat Stevens – Oh very young
    Clifford T Ward – Scullery
    Albert Hammond – The free electric band
    Joni Mitchell – California
    Jim Croce -Lover’s cross
    Dire Straits – Sultans of swing
    Golden Earring – Radar love
    Huey Lewis & the news – The power of love
    John Mellencamp – Jack & Diane
    Starship – We built this city
    Charlie Dore – Pilot of the airwaves
    Python Lee Jackson featuring Rod Stewart – In a broken dream
    The Monkeys – Daydream believer
    ZZ Top – La Grange
    Doobie Brothers – Listen to the music
    Led Zeppelin – Rock n roll
    Lou Reed – Dirty Boulevard
    Roxy Music – Virginia Plain
    Meatloaf – Bat out of hell
    Move – Tonight
    Strawbs – Lay down
    Cream – Layla
    Boston – More than a feeling
    Mike Oldfield – Moonlight shadow
    Electric Light Orchestra – Do ya
    Queen – 39
    Neil Young – Heart of Gold
    Joan Armatrading – Drop the pilot
    Nanci Griffith -From a distance
    Melanie Safka – Love to lose again
    Smokie Robinson or Linda Ronstadt – Tracks of my tears
    Pretenders – Back on the chain gang
    Enya – On your shore
    The Seekers – Georgie girl
    Eva Cassidy – Fields of gold
    Elvis Costello – Oliver’s army
    Bruce Hornsby and the range – Every little kiss
    Bob Seger – Against the wind
    Bachman Turner Overdrive – You ‘aint seen nothin’ yet

  10. Nice List! You do seem heavy on great rock tunes, so what about some of the following

    You might want to consider adding tunes you like from Huey Lewis, ZZ Top, as well as something from John Denver, Barbara Streisand, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra (or his contemporary clone Harry Connick Jr.), Nat King Cole, Bonnie Rait, Jimmy Buffet, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, even the hard not to dsing-along tunes of Roger Miller.

    In a more classical vein Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, anything by Andrea Bocelli,
    Itzhack Perlman, or even some of John Williams epic movie music.

    I’m partial to jazz — so I could add a list of artists I could leave on Earth, but I spare you those. Enjoy your time in space!

  11. Definitely a lot of standard classics here, but I’d like to see a few anomalies (not IFAs, though). This isn’t so much a request for your snobbish, I-listen-to-obscurer-music-than-you side, but I’d like to see some non-standard fare – especially if it’s something I haven’t heard but should maybe look into.

  12. Ron,

    You have some great tunes on this list, I’ll add a few suggestions.

    Hold My Hand, Hootie and the Blowfish
    Stay (Wasting Time), Dave Matthews Band
    Hard to Handle, The Black Crowes
    Even Flow, Pearl Jam
    Mr. Jones, Counting Crows
    Sweet Child of Mine, Guns & Roses

    These are all great tunes from great artists I’m sure you’ll like. The other comments have some really awesome music as well. (Props to Michael for Temple of the Dog suggestions!)

  13. Anything by Radiohead would be good for spaceflight. Zappa’s pretty space-y, too. I realize you’re compiling a “best” song list, so your selecions will be personal and probably don’t necessarily need to be space-themed.

    Remember – listen wisely. The last thing NASA’s PR folks need is to have the Orbiter hatch open to release a cloud of psychedelic smoke.

  14. Dear Mr. Garan,

    My name is Cassidy – I am 8 years old. When I go to sleep at night, I turn on my IPod. My favorites songs are by Josh Groban – You Raise Me Up, Oceano and My Confession.

    I hope you have a good trip in space!

  15. Almost forgot my alltime favorite from the movie “Donnie Darko”:
    mad world – michael andrews

  16. You could add anything by “Jon Kennedy” or “Bonobo”. Both are relaxing and perfect for space travel.

    If you only had to pick a couple:

    You, You and You – Jon Kennedy
    We Milk Life but Dress Smooth – Jon Kennedy

    The Keeper – Bonobo
    El Toro – Bonobo

    Good luck space man!


  17. Great list! Music is a personal choice, but try some of these..
    Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
    Brooks & Dunn – Only in America
    Even Flow, Pearl Jam
    Third Day: God of Wonders

  18. Try this playlist:

    I Gotta Feeling — Black Eyed Peas
    The Sweet Escape — Gwen Stefani, featuring Akon
    Bad Romance — Lady Gaga
    Big Girls Dont Cry — Fergie
    Sing, Sing, Sing — Chris Tomlin

  19. Music is a kind of contact with.

    It’s emission, Vibration, movement…


    A help, anyway. Energy!

    An scale dimensional colorful planes of modulation the rol of interpreting…

    Corporal music, evasiv one.


Comments are closed.