Have you seen those pics from Mars? Yes, planet Mars, the fourth stone from the sun, beamed back to us via some little robotic tourist called Phoenix. It’s rocky and looks a bit like Nevada, though without a Vegas. It’s the most viewed story on the Guardian website and nothing to do with pop music, but what the hell, here’s a Top 5 salute to Mars and space-related thingys.
Life on Mars?: David Bowie – Yes, it was a wonderful song once, before it was a tv series.
Mars Bar: The Undertones – About the mars you can buy from the Spar rather than the mars that would vaporise you if you went anywhere near it.
The Daily Planet: Arthur Lee & Love – If you don’t know this (and I can scarcely believe you’d be tuning in to Pop Junkie if you didn’t) it’s from the album Forever Changes, which is always praised to the skies and features in those Q & Mojo Top 10 albums-to-hear-before-you-die features. Well, with damn good reason. It really is that good.
Telstar: The Tornados – 1962 Joe Meek classic, doffing its cap to the first man-made satellite. Used to be a fave of mine, till I found out it was the only pop song Mrs Thatcher liked. Sorry if that’s put you off it too. This bizarre clip would appear to be from a Dutch 1980s tv special filmed in front of a live(ish) chicken-in-a-basket audience. The band are miming to the original hit.
Far Out: Blur – A cracker from astronomy nut and cheesemaker Alex James and co (he wrote it, but you probably knew that). You may not have heard this demo version. Very different to the Parklife gem.
Bonus Track: Mars, The Bringer of War: Gustav Holst – Okay, I hold my hands up. This isn’t pop, but I imagine you’re broad-minded enough to know a fine piece of music when you hear it. You know where to write your comments if I’ve stepped out of line. Anyway, it was either this or Spacer by Sheila B Devotion.