10 Times Pop Music Was Heard In Star Trek

Going to a Star Trek convention? Here's a new playlist for your trip.

Beastie Boys Star Trek Beyond Sabotage USS Franklin
Paramount Pictures

Picture the scene: You're on a road trip to a convention with your closest Star Trek fan friends. Everyone is already dressed in their Starfleet best, or perhaps one of you has gone the extra mile and donned the Data look, brought the Borg ensemble, or claimed the Klingon cosplay. As any good fan should, you'll probably spend your time dissecting the latest episodes, deconstructing the odd/even 'rule,' and fiercely defending your Captain.

Of course, no road trip would be complete without a great playlist. Sure, you could play all the Star Trek themes on repeat louder than Jean-Luc collecting his thoughts to a bit of Bizet… Berlioz! You could equally listen to Where My Heart Will Take Me on a loop, but then you might start losing faith in humanity (and your sanity). Maybe try a three-part harmony to some Gilbert and Sullivan, or reprise that 'space hippies' song from The Way to Eden? Headin' out? Yea brother!

Instead of all that, however, what if for your journey you had a collection of real world pop/rock music that featured in Star Trek? Shut up and take my latinum, you say? Don't worry, we're all members of the Federation – this one's for free!

As such, we've prepared a list of ten actual pop songs that have been used in the franchise. You might want to get an isolinear chip (or an optolythic rod if you're feeling confident) ready for the data transfer.

10. Space Oddity – David Bowie

Beastie Boys Star Trek Beyond Sabotage USS Franklin
CBS Media Ventures / Paramount Pictures

Space Oddity might well have been a more fitting title for the season two episode of Star Trek: Discovery, An Obol For Charon. It definitely must have been a curiosity for the subtitlers, sifting through all those real-world and Trek languages for the scene where the Universal Translator goes on the fritz. The episode introduces us to the mysteriously ancient Sphere and its ginormous gatherings of data, a fact which would be key to the rest of the season, and we also get far too much info about Linus' sinuses: "Saurian. Six nasal canals."

Bowie's infinitely famous song, starring that universally recognisable, doomed astronaut, was first released in 1969 and was memorably covered in a viral music video by real-life 'Major Tom,' astronaut Chris Hadfield, aboard the International Space Station.

In the Discovery episode, we hear Space Oddity in the most peculiar Star Trek way. As a multidimensional fungal parasite attaches itself to Tilly (again!), Stamets and Reno hatch a plan to allow the organism to communicate. This involves drilling into Tilly's head, and so Stamets asks her to sing her favourite song whilst he does. The pair duet a couple of lines from the Bowie classic.

Anthony Rapp, who plays Commander Paul Stamets, is well known for his work in musical theatre, notably originating the role of Mark Cohen in Rent on Broadway. Rapp, Mary Wiseman (Tilly), Sonequa Martin-Green (Michael Burnham), and Doug Jones (Saru) also reprised Space Oddity in its entirety during their episode of Apple TV's Carpool Karaoke.

"I wonder what Star Trek: Discovery: The Musical would be like," Rapp asks as the carpool comes to an end. Turns out it’s a slightly awkward reworking of Seasons of Love from Rent: "Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred Star Treks."

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Jack Kiely is a writer with a PhD in French and almost certainly an unhealthy obsession with Star Trek.