Since Star Trek: The Original Series appeared on the air in 1966, Trekkies in every field have drawn inspiration from the series. Many scientific-minded people have been inspired to enter into careers as scientists and astronauts thanks to Star Trek. However, many people working in artistic fields have also been inspired by the show. This includes countless talented musicians.
Here’s a list of Star Trek references in popular music that goes all the way to Warp 11. Did we miss your favorite Trek pop music reference? Please be sure and let us know.
The lyrics of several songs by the Beastie Boys reference Star Trek. One example is the track “Intergalactic” from the album Hello Nasty. Lyrics from the song suggest that mockery against the crew will earn punishment akin to “a pinch in the neck from Mr. Spock.” A further reference to Spock appears after the track in an outtake from collaborator Biz Markie. Another song from this album, “Sabotage,” appears in Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Beyond, while Star Trek Into Darkness featured a scene where James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) listens to a remix of the Beastie Boys’ song “Body Movin.”
Many additional Beastie Boys tracks include lyrics that reference Trek, including “Ch-check it out,” “Brouhaha,” and “So Whatcha Want.”
The track “Just Dance” from The Fame was Lady GaGa‘s debut single. However, the Star Trek reference it contains may be more difficult to pick up on than some of the others on this list. Reportedly, “Just Dance” samples the sound effect of a Romulan torpedo.
The song “Space Ho’s” on The Mouse in the Mask by DANGERDOOM (a hip-hop project consisting of Danger Mouse and MF DOOM) contains an extended reference to the TOS crew. The track is an extended riff on the idea that DOOM might take over hosting duties from Space Ghost on Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
The song “Race Car Driver” by Jewel, an outtake included on the 25th anniversary release of Pieces of You, contains a reference to Trek. The song is told from the perspective of “a real small man in a real big car.” The song lyrics state, “We’ll take you at high warp speed / It’s better than watching Star Trek after you smoked weed.”
There have been many references to Star Trek in the lyrics of Jimmy Buffet. In the lyrics of the song “Boat Drinks,” the narrator longs to be beamed somewhere tropical by Mr. Spock. Lyrics from the song “Fruitcakes” include the preamble to a Captain’s Log.
There are additional references to Trek in Buffet’s songs, as well. Two more examples are a line in “When Salome plays the drums” referencing “phasers on stun” and a line in “Beach House on the Moon” calling someone a “Vulcan in disguise.”
While the lyrics don’t mention the show, the music video for Doja Cat’s “Get Into It (Yuh)” off Planet Her pays heavy homage to Trek. Directed by Mike Diva, the video’s visuals include a bridge that is strongly reminiscent of a Federation starship. However, the uniforms worn by the bridge crew may be more reminiscent of the Edo than of Starfleet.
N.E.R.D. and Rihanna
The track “Lemon” by N.E.R.D. and Rihanna contains a lyrical reference to Star Trek. Near the terminus of Rihanna’s first verse, the lyrics state, “Warp speed; Doctor Spock couldn’t chase.”
This wasn’t Rihanna’s first contact with Trek. She also contributed a song to the soundtrack for Star Trek Beyond, “Sledgehammer.”
The title and chorus of P!nk’s “Beam Me Up Scotty” pays homage to one of the most oft-used TOS references. While the song doesn’t delve too much deeper into Trek lore, the referential phrase is still immediately obvious to even the most casual Trekkie.
The Barenaked Ladies‘ song “Grade 9,” off their debut studio album Gordon, includes an especially relatable reference to Star Trek. One of the narrators laments arriving in a classroom for a math test and realizing their “knowledge was gone / I guess I should have studied instead of watching Wrath of Khan.”
But BNL has an even more obscure Star Trek reference hiding in plain sight on the cover of their sophomore album, Maybe You Should Drive. The cover depicts a pair of men dressed in eccentric clothing and posing with a tricycle. According to SongFacts.com, both are actors who appeared in guest-starring roles in TOS.
The band T’Pau gained notoriety from the single “Heart and Soul.” While none of their lyrics directly reference Star Trek, the band’s name pays homage to T’Pau, who first appeared in the TOS episode “Amok Time.”
The lyrics to the German and English language versions of “99 Luftballoons” by Nena are different from one another. However, they both reference Star Trek. In the original German lyrics, each one of the 99 fighter jet pilots dispatched to confront the 99 red balloons “reckoned they were Captain Kirk.” In the subsequent English language version of the song, the lyrics describe “99 knights of the air,” stating that “everyone’s a superhero / everyone’s a Captain Kirk.”
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