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Music within Science Fiction films


Feb 13, 2011
In your bedroom wardrobe...
In the prom scene in Starship Troopers, a band is covering David Bowie's "I Have Not Been to London Town" in a light rock style. It's acceptable.
Is that the one by a female vox that has a line that says something like "Oh, oh, watch the days go by"? I've always wondered what that song was as I suspected I might like it. The nearest I got to a decision was that it was something by Wendy and Lisa.
<Edit: YES IT IS! Twenty-odd years later I finally identfy this song! Thanks!>

Interesting seeing you mention Chicken in the Pot, as I was surprised you knew it when i mentioned it in that post the other day. That song was inspired IMO.

especially the George Lucas cut of Return of the Jedi where, in Jabba's den, Sny Snootles is accompanied on stage by some kind of singing rat muppet with a giant CGI mouth.
Isn't it!!! I forgive Lucas his questionable scripts and compulsive fiddling, but one thing I can't stand is when he goes from SW movie to Looney Toons. What's a shame is that it's a great song! There could have been so much more fan service for example, to Boba and the B-Vox Twileks and Rodian, than that stupid Jah Yowza thing.

Apologies to most of you that this clip is dubbed in French.
There was sound? I was too busy drooling at my other half :D

On a serious note, I don't think the use of Superstition by Stevie Wonder really counts here, does it? Such an iconic song, so firmly placed in its sociopolitical climate when released, will be used forever in various media, and with a black MC it takes on even more depth, even in a meta way.

I'd like to add to the mix:

Diva Plavalaguna: undoubtedly the most orignal, and my favourite:

Then you have two in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica (compulsory viewing as a franchise if you've never seen it). First of all there's the repeated use - plotwise, too! - of Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix's All Along the Watchtower, which as a motif works supremely - even the remix by Bear McCreary's brother's group.

And then, one of the deepest things I've seen in Sci-Fi, is Felix Gaeta's lament (again from BSG) which I've even used choreographically (the OST version of the final season is even better!).

You can find that here:
and the full CD version
(from about the 3 min mark the drama really gets intense!)

I'd also mention Farscape. I'm sure there must have been songs they parodied or used in that show. God knows it was surreal enough to do some real creative excellence with music. I can't recall any, tho. Maybe @Mouse can shed light?

Finally, in season two of Fringe, it's one of those madcap episodes the X-files does so well, where characters act completely differently. In this case - episode Brown Betty - it's a noir parody in which Lance Reddick, Anna Torv et al sing big show tunes.

Great thread.

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Jun 2, 2006
in your face
I'd also mention Farscape. I'm sure there must have been songs they parodied or used in that show. God knows it was surreal enough to do some real creative excellence with music. I can't recall any, tho. Maybe @Mouse can shed light?
Only one I can think of off the top of my head is the Looney Toons inspired music in the Revenging Angel ep.

Farscape had some great music though. And I have the Fifth Element soundtrack.

M. Robert Gibson

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that
Feb 10, 2018
Discovery One
Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix's All Along the Watchtower,
Talking of which, and I know this off-topic, but being a huge Hendrix fan I got goosebumps the first time I saw this scene from Watchmen.

Vince W

Towel Champion
Sep 9, 2011
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.

Toby Frost

Well-Known Member
Jan 22, 2008
I was thinking of music heard by characters in films (so actually playing) rather than soundtracks.

The Starship Troopers music is tricky to track down because the lyrics have been changed: the original Bowie song is on his weird jazz-industrial concept album Outside.

Brian is right: music provides an evocative glimpse of future worlds. However, given that it's usually heard in clubs and bars, it tends to aspire to being either sophisticated or sleazy. It's true that classical music doesn't date: Captain Dallas listens to Mozart in Alien. Less classily, I've got this weird feeling that we overhear a convict in Alien 3 singing "In the year 2525" by Zager and Evans.

I can't remember if the doctored classical music in A Clockwork Orange is actually what Alex is listening to, whether it's the result of the drugs warping the original, or whether it's just the soundtrack. He does have some tiny dictaphone tapes containing entire symphonies, though. And of course, it gave us this gem: