14 Songs About Astrology

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Popular music has always flirted with the otherworldly and mystical, a prime example being the plethora of songs peppered with references to astrology. While perhaps not as many recording artists are as interested in reading their birth charts as topping the pop charts, star signs have appeared in songs across many genres and eras. Although some of the songs on this list are results of the late ‘60s astrology boom, others carry more nuanced allusions or work as a vehicle for wordplay and multi-meanings. At the very least, knowing an artist’s sign will add a fun level of personal insight and will cast even a song you’ve heard 200 times in a new light. Even if your sign has been overlooked, there should be something here for everyone, from the most stubborn Capricorn to the easiest, breeziest Sagittarius.

1. “No Matter What Sign You Are,” Diana Ross & the Supremes

One of two songs on this list to name check every sign in the Zodiac, 1969’s “No Matter What Sign You Are” disregards all warnings of sign compatibilities, with Diana Ross vowing that a special individual will be hers no matter the lucky fella’s “rising sign.” Despite the apparent lack of interest in astrological connections, the line “your water sign just lit my fire” would indicate that Ross is lusting after either a Cancer, a Scorpio, or a Pisces, all prone to create friction for a literal fire sign such as Aries (like Ross herself).

2. “Saturn Return,” R.E.M.

Following 1998’s Up, 2001’s Reveal was the band’s second post-Bill Berry album. After recovering from a collapse on stage in 1995 due to a ruptured brain aneurism, the drummer left the band for good in 1997, stating he no longer enjoyed the rock and roll life and desired a career change. In astrology, Saturn is known as The Lord Of Time, as well as The Lord of Death. Saturn’s return occurs when the planet comes back around to the exact placement it was in when an individual was born. This return usually takes 29.5 years, and is felt into a person’s early 30’s. Challenges and responsibilities ensue. The impact sometimes heralds a wake up call and a facing of one’s own mortality. Perhaps Michael Stipe was feeling R.E.M.’s own Saturn return after the impact of losing Berry set in.

3. “Year of the Cat,” Al Stewart

This is the only song on our list that references astrology outside of the Western persuasion. The Cat, being one of the 12 signs of the Vietnamese zodiac, corresponds to the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac. A Year of the Rabbit had occurred from February 1975 to January 1976, so this song, which was released in July 1976, was actually recorded in the Vietnamese Year of the Cat. Produced by Alan Parsons at Abbey Road Studios, it is considered a masterpiece, its vivid narrative touching on the impact fate has on our lives.

4. “Gemini,” Alabama Shakes

Proving that star signs are an ongoing matter for musicians, the Alabama Shakes released “Gemini” on this year’s Sound & Color. In tarot, which closely correlates with astrology in some schools of mystical thought, the sign of Gemini is associated with The Lovers card. This sultry drum and vocal driven track seems to be a remembrance of something shared that was simple and perfect. Another name for The Lovers tarot card is The Twins, which is, of course, what Gemini designates. Gemini may be an air sign but this song’s groove is slow and earthy, with far off organ and shimmering chimes giving just the right hint of cosmic dust.

5. “Jesus Was A Capricorn (Owed To John Prine),” Kris Kristofferson

Kristofferson uses the crucifixion to illustrate a truism: mainstream society will always need a scapegoat. Recorded in 1972, this country-Western number—complete with an alternating fourths bass line and chicken pickin’ guitar riffs—doesn’t seem to have much to do with astrology, apart from referencing Capricorn, the archetypal scapegoat, in its title and opening line. However, some observations have a universal resonance, no matter where the sun was in the sky when they were made.

6-7. “Born Under A Bad Sign,” Albert King and “Born Under A Bad Sign,” Richard Hawley

Released in 1967, King’s song fell right in line with the star sign obsession of the late ‘60s. Despite being a product of its era, the song remains timeless in its bluesy recounting of the hardships that have trailed the protagonist before he could even walk. This guy is so cursed that “if it wasn’t for bad luck / You know, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.” Alternately, Sheffield, U.K. crooner Hawley’s song of the same name is a little more wistful than woeful, chronicling the sort of life many vice-prone musicians seem to possess. Seeing as Hawley is a Capricorn, a sign that is considered one of the darkest in the Zodiac, the man could be speaking from experience here.

8. “Heart-Shaped Box,” Nirvana

Although there are a couple different accounts as to what the song is actually about (Cobain allegedly stated to biographer Michael Azerrad that it was inspired by documentaries about children with cancer), Courtney Love recently asserted on Twitter that the song is about her vagina. Being that Cobain was famously a Pisces and Love a Cancer, and the opening line reads, “She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak,” we can only assume one level of the song may carry an astrological intent. At the very least, Love’s sign in particular inspired some intriguing wordplay in Cobain’s songwriting.

9. “Pluto Drive,” The Creatures

What starts as a fun, silly song from The Creatures second studio album Boomerang soon turns, in typical Siouxsie Sioux fashion, into something more mysterious and indefinable. Synthesizers blip, beep, and gurgle as Siouxsie flirts with a cabaret singer meets campy sci-fi vocal character. In astrology, Pluto rules Scorpio, a sign of extremes and intensity, oft times presented on the surface with a cool, detached air. No wonder the Ice Queen Siouxsie longs to go to Pluto!

10. “Scorpio Rising,” Adam Ant

As noted above, Scorpio in an intense sign. It is also often associated with sexuality and ruling machinery. While Ant’s tune, released on1985’s Vive Le Rock, alludes just as much to the Kenneth Anger film of the same name as to the dominant traits of the sign itself, the song packs a lot of swagger inside its new wave parameters. The physicality of Scorpio is paid respect via the song’s overtly sexual lyrics, although Ant’s cartoonish vocal performance keeps things from getting too steamy.

11. “Goodbye Pisces,” Tori Amos

From Amos’s 2005 album The Beekeeper, this song plays on a few tried and true motifs—a bull in a china shop and the conceit that men are from Mars and women are from Venus (although “Pisces” is in place of Venus this time). Sounding even lovelier and more Kate Bush-esque than usual, Amos delivers another slice of earnest vulnerability with her “how will I deal with this / is that all I was / don’t say good-bye” sentiments.

12. “Aquemini,” Outkast

The title track from the legendary Atlanta hip-hop duo’s 1998 record begins with what becomes a recurring lyrical hook. In dual vocal form, Andre 3000 and Big Boi lay it out like this: nothing is certain in this life, and, much of the time horoscopes are wrong. Regardless of that, it is still fun to mash up sun signs (Aquarius and Gemini) and come up with cool album titles!

13. “Sleeping Pills,” Suede

In one of the prettiest tracks from the band’s 1993 eponymous full-length debut, Brett Anderson sings, “You’re a water sign, I’m an air sign.” Despite there being little more connection to astrology in the rest of the song’s lyrics, “Sleeping Pills” is historically interesting in that it uses many moves from the then-current Britpop playbook to great effect, such as guitar noise bursts during quiet moments and dramatically emotive vocals (think Radiohead’s “Creep” or, later, “Fake Plastic Trees”). That year, Suede’s contemporaries The Auteurs’ released New Wave, an album that contained “Don’t Trust the Stars,” a song staunchly dismissing all the astrological mumbo jumbo, such as the sort found in “Sleeping Pills.”

14. “Readings in Astrology,” Curtis Mayfield

Much like the Supremes song that opened this list, 1970’s “Readings In Astrology” asserts a disregard for signs in the sky. Unlike “No Matter What Sign You Are,” however, Mayfield and the object of his affection never came to be because his lady was too concerned with her daily horoscope. A cautionary tale for those who may look too closely to the sky when what they seek is right in front of them.