Songs about Flying
February 2, 2008 3:45 PM   Subscribe

What are some songs about flying, preferably in a plane of some kind? My friend is a pilot and I want to make a mixtape for him with some songs about flying. So far, all I've come up with is the following: AF607105 - Charlotte Gainsbourg (even if it does involve a crash, it's lovely) Learning to Fly - Pink Floyd Come Fly with Me - Frank Sinatra Anyone have any ideas? Thank you in advance!
posted by Locative to Media & Arts (70 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Apologies for the poor formatting of this question, and also for the mixtape nature of it. Argh!
posted by Locative at 3:47 PM on February 2, 2008

"In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel (specifically the song, but just give him the whole album of the same name)
posted by Corduroy at 3:48 PM on February 2, 2008

Flight IC408 by State of Bengal (link is to song page)
posted by tractorfeed at 3:51 PM on February 2, 2008

All The Nation's Airports by Archers of Loaf.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 3:51 PM on February 2, 2008

These may help?

Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane over the Sea
Pizzicato Five: Airplane
Of Montreal: You are an Airplane
Destroyer: It's Gonna Take an Airplane
Cornelius: Fly
Nick Drake: Fly
Willard Grant Conspiracy: Flying Low
Andrew Bird: Fiery Crash (okay, about a crash but still)
The Robot Ate Me: A Hole in the Plane (again, not a positive one, but!)
posted by actionpact at 3:52 PM on February 2, 2008

Michael Penn - Small Black Box
Tom Petty - Learning to Fly
Widespread Panic - Airplane
posted by neustile at 3:54 PM on February 2, 2008

"Flying" by The Samples
posted by hungrysquirrels at 3:54 PM on February 2, 2008

Steve Miller - Jet Airliner
posted by Doohickie at 3:55 PM on February 2, 2008

Possibly not your target audience (again being as it is about a plane crash). It's a top tune, though, if Rock is your thing.

Saxon: 747 (Strangers In The Night)
posted by Brockles at 3:56 PM on February 2, 2008

Shane MacGowan did a musical version of William Butler Yeats' poem An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, set to a song entitled "Dogfight".

It's available on an album entitled , a collection mostly of Yeats poems set to music by various artists. I say "mostly" because there are also a few spoken-word readings of Yeats poems (one by Yeats himself), and there's at least one song that has lyrics that are just partially a Yeats poem.

Anyway, a song about a pilot foreseeing getting shot out of the sky might not be exactly what you're looking to give to your friend, but nonetheless, it kicks ass.
posted by Flunkie at 3:58 PM on February 2, 2008

Whoops. Damn you, HTML! Sorry.
posted by Flunkie at 3:59 PM on February 2, 2008

"When I Get My Plane" by The Nazz
posted by hydrophonic at 4:04 PM on February 2, 2008

"Shut Up and Get on the Plane" by Drive-By Truckers is about a plane. That crashes. Hmm. I sense a trend.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:04 PM on February 2, 2008

The Melon Band's cover of "Fly Me to the Moon"
The Exponents' "Airway Spies"
posted by jet_silver at 4:05 PM on February 2, 2008

Pop Will Eat Itself: Nightmare at 40,000 feet. (perhaps not appropriate.... - but a great song nonetheless)
John Denver: Leaving on a Jetplane
posted by pompomtom at 4:06 PM on February 2, 2008

"Given to Fly" by Pearl Jam

Not really about literal flying on an airplane, but a pretty good anthemic chorus.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:08 PM on February 2, 2008

There's a few about wartime aviation by Iron Maiden: "Aces High" and "Tailgunner" spring to mind. "Flight of Icarus" deals with a famous pre-Wright Brothers flight and (spoiler alert) ends badly for the protagonist.
posted by nowonmai at 4:08 PM on February 2, 2008

Daniel My Brother - Elton John.
posted by Octoparrot at 4:08 PM on February 2, 2008

The Zephyr Song by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Lyrics here
I love this song...
posted by coollibrarian at 4:09 PM on February 2, 2008

"Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim" by Fountains of Wayne
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:19 PM on February 2, 2008

airplane by the indigo girls. About making a deal with God to land safely. Cute song!!
posted by pearlybob at 4:20 PM on February 2, 2008

As the breeze whips straight as an arrow
Let her go over Kill Devil Hill
Gasoline and the wind in the wires
Kill Devil Hill and the way to the stars.

posted by Wolfdog at 4:20 PM on February 2, 2008

The Guardian had a rather comprehensive Arts Blog post on this very subject.

I note that it doesn't include Kleenex/LiLiPUT's "DC-10," however.
posted by mykescipark at 4:26 PM on February 2, 2008

Steve Miller, "Fly Like an Eagle"
posted by Enroute at 4:27 PM on February 2, 2008

Back in the USSR by The Beatles starts on a plane.
posted by chudmonkey at 4:30 PM on February 2, 2008

Fifth Dimension - Up Up and Away
Cat Stevens - Freezing Steel
posted by DirtyCreature at 4:32 PM on February 2, 2008

"Sky Pilot" by The Animals (more wartime aviation)
"Lady Pilot" by Neko Case
"Triste" by Sinatra
posted by hydrophonic at 4:40 PM on February 2, 2008

Eight Miles High – The Byrds
Up, Up and Away – The Fifth Dimension
This Fight Tonight – Joni Mitchell (or the cover by Nazareth)
posted by timeistight at 4:40 PM on February 2, 2008

Fifty Mission Cap – The Tragically Hip
posted by timeistight at 4:41 PM on February 2, 2008

Red Hot Chilli Peppers: Aeroplane
Smashing Pumpkins: Aeroplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:43 PM on February 2, 2008

Flying? of course you need some Byrds! Especially Fifth Dimension with its "Eight Miles High" and "2-4-2 Foxtrot (The Lear Jet Song)" plus if you can find it, best of all would be "Draggin" off Roger McGuinn's first solo record because it's the story of two pilots (at racing their 747s coast-to-coast.
posted by Rash at 4:43 PM on February 2, 2008

James Taylor: Fire and Rain
posted by Sys Rq at 4:45 PM on February 2, 2008

Billy Bragg & Wilco: Airline to Heaven
posted by quadog at 4:46 PM on February 2, 2008

Airplane by the Indigo Girls (scroll down for lyrics) with backing vocals by The Roches. Well-written.
posted by ZakDaddy at 4:51 PM on February 2, 2008

I've been hearing Louis XIV's "Air Traffic Control" on the radio a bit lately.

Also, I would like to share that I plan to play "I am the Warrior" on take-off next time I go out in the, um, Warrior that I rent. This may be funny only to me, but there you have it.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:52 PM on February 2, 2008

A couple of great ones from the '60s:

The Box Tops, "The Letter" ("gimme a ticket for an airplane / ain't got time to take the fast train...")

Eddie Floyd, "Big Bird"
posted by scody at 4:52 PM on February 2, 2008

"Learn to Fly" - Foo Fighters
It's got a catchy tune, and the video for it is hilarious.
posted by LightMayo at 4:57 PM on February 2, 2008

Ground Control To Major Tom - David Bowie
posted by watercarrier at 4:57 PM on February 2, 2008

Me And Jane In A Plane
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 5:00 PM on February 2, 2008

Aeroplane, by Björk. Though it might get you a raised eyebrow: "I'm taking an aeroplane across the world to follow my heart..." -- it's pretty much a love song.
posted by seancake at 5:03 PM on February 2, 2008

The Divine Comedy, "Tonight We Fly"
posted by itchie at 5:17 PM on February 2, 2008

Liz Phair, "Stratford-On-Guy"
posted by Coatlicue at 5:29 PM on February 2, 2008

The Beatles "Flying" off of Magical Mystery Tour
posted by rhizome at 5:36 PM on February 2, 2008

Calexico's "Sunken Waltz":

take the story of carpenter Mike
dropped his tools and his keys and left
and headed out as far as he could
past the cities and gated neighborhoods
he slept 'neath the stars
wrote down what he dreamt
and he built a machine
for no one to see
then took flight, first light
of new morning

posted by jesourie at 5:39 PM on February 2, 2008

Also by the Foo Fighters, A320.
posted by olinerd at 5:40 PM on February 2, 2008

Flight 180 by Bishop Allen (one of my favourites)
Flight Tonight by The Avalanches
posted by so_necessary at 5:48 PM on February 2, 2008

"Waitress in the Sky," Replacements
posted by Camofrog at 5:49 PM on February 2, 2008

Jets to brazil - Air traffic control
posted by brent_h at 5:55 PM on February 2, 2008

Husker Du's song Private Plane is pretty upbeat sounding despite the lyrics.
posted by jessamyn at 6:22 PM on February 2, 2008

"Leavin' On A Jet Plane" by (your choice) John Denver or Peter, Paul & Mary.
posted by amyms at 6:44 PM on February 2, 2008

Track 3 of Flaming Lips Zaireeka, though you need to play four CDs at once to listen to it, so copying it will be logistically tough.

Camper Van Beethoven "Sweethearts"
Bjork "Aeroplane"
John Dee Graham "Airplane"
Jonathan Richman "I'm A Little Airplane"
Pizzicato Five "Airplane"
Beatles "Flying"
Avalanches "Flight Tonight"
Hot Water Music "Flight 'n Crash"
Ted Leo and The Pharmacists "Crane Takes Flight"
posted by sourwookie at 6:56 PM on February 2, 2008

Falling in Love by NOFX
posted by Seamus at 7:02 PM on February 2, 2008

My Airplane - Royal Guardsmen
Pilots - Goldfrapp (probably the same as the Bjork one as far as being somewhat a love song)
Airplane Song - Scouting for Girls
Leaving on a Jet Plane - John Denver (mentioned before, but another one that could be love story)
Flying an Airplane - Barney and Friends (hah I'm kidding!)
Snakes on a Plane - Cobra Starship
The Flying Song - Pqm feat Cica
Flying - Seize the Day
Flying - Beatles
Ride of the Valkries - Wagner (not really a song about flying...but every time I hear it I think of the helicopter scene from Apolcalypse Now)
Flying High - Freedom Call (hypermetal!)
Flying out of London in the Rain - Tom Stevens
I'm Flying - James Newton Howard (somewhat a rendition of Peter Pan's "I'm Flying")
posted by samsara at 7:54 PM on February 2, 2008

Oh almost forgot...Highway to the Danger Zone just for kicks :P
posted by samsara at 8:02 PM on February 2, 2008

Hoodoo Gurus, "I Was a Kamikaze Pilot"
posted by kirkaracha at 8:29 PM on February 2, 2008

Perhaps The Who - "I Can See for Miles".

Yoshinori Sunahara's album "Pan Am - The Sounds of the 70s"
posted by Doctor Suarez at 8:53 PM on February 2, 2008

Alan Parsons' 1996 album 'On Air' is all about flight.
posted by OneOliveShort at 12:13 AM on February 3, 2008

Counting Crows -- "Four Days" (this one and Foo Fighters "Learning to Fly" are the two songs I associate with flight)
Indigo Girls-- "Airplane" (about being nervous on a flight but upbeat and hilarious)
Lizz Wright-- "Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly"
Joni Mitchell-- "Amelia" (sad)
Nickel Creek-- "When You Come Back Down"
Snoopy vs. The Red Baron (only if your friend likes Christmasy music)
posted by Tehanu at 2:14 AM on February 3, 2008

Return of the Red Baron, too.
posted by Tehanu at 2:21 AM on February 3, 2008

Neil Young (maybe solo or with Buffalo Springfield or CSNY?) - Expecting to Fly

It has a lot of strings and sounds like it was recorded in the same studio on the same day with the same setup that the Moody Blues used to record "Nights in White Satin"

it's a very beautiful song, but it might make the pilot want to shoot heroin mid-flight. Why do so many Neil Young songs do that?
posted by disaster77 at 6:03 AM on February 3, 2008

The Rolling Stones - Who's Drivin' Your Plane?

It's a great 60's bluesy song. Has nothing at all to do with flying but the chorus has "who's drivin' your plane?" over and over, it's basically calling a person crazy. Good song though!
posted by disaster77 at 6:11 AM on February 3, 2008

> Alan Parsons' 1996 album 'On Air' is all about flight.

Hear hear. Like most Parson albums the individual tracks are a mixture of the good and the 'meh' but taken as a thematic whole it's great stuff.
posted by adamt at 7:28 AM on February 3, 2008

Rock On by the Kentucky Headhunters on the Songs from the Grass String Ranch album. It's not directly about flying (so much as owning an airplane is a big part of it), but it's good country and might be a good song for a new pilot.
posted by krisak at 9:29 AM on February 3, 2008

Me-262 by Blue Oyster Cult
posted by Thorzdad at 9:29 AM on February 3, 2008

Leaving on a Jetplane by John Denver
posted by HotPatatta at 10:44 AM on February 3, 2008

Tenuously, Oh Superman by Laurie Anderson:

"Here come the planes. They're American planes. Made in America. Smoking or non-smoking?
And the voice said: Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds..."
posted by freya_lamb at 11:50 AM on February 3, 2008

Roger Miller's "The Day I Jumped From Uncle Harveys Plane"

Me n' oliver n' virgil was in the drugstore killing time
When my eyes fell upon this magazine
And i got to reading this article on sky-diving and parachuting
And it said jumping out of air-planes was the thing

Now being raised down on a farm and always ready for adventure
I knew that i could figure out a way
I said well delmer gill's got a parachute and uncle harvey's got an air-plane
So i said call the boys together, today's the day

Well i found out too late what uncle harvey called an air-plane
Was nothing but an engine and a wing
And i could feel my fear a-rising as delmer packed the parachute
cos he kept telling me i was doing the right thing

Ron mcloughlin shook my hand as jd strapped me in the harness
And tildon brought a jug and passed it around
I took one look at that parachute and that whisky and that air-plane
And i turned that bottle up and drank it down

Well i was drunker'n cooter jones when they poured me in the plane
The engine coughed and headed for the clouds
But i was sober as a judge by the time they opened up the door
And i've never known my heart to beat so loud

I said, harvey, i can't do it as he kicked me out the door
And i wrapped my hands around the landing gear
And i was holding on real good til harvey stepped down on my fingers
And virgil said he heard me scream from way down there

Well i thanked god and delmer gill when my parachute finally opened
I said well, hell there ain't no use in being afraid
And i went crashing through the hen house, scattering chickens and breaking eggs
And i kissed the ground and fainted dead away

posted by grateful at 11:47 AM on February 4, 2008

Airplane by Gary Numan
You're Not an Airplane by Guided By Voices
The Great Airplane Strike by Paul Revere and the Raiders
Former Airline by Wire
Paper Planes by MIA
Dead Plane by No Age
Hurricane Fighter Plane by Red Crayola
Next Plane to London by Rose Garden
Flight by A Certain Ratio
Flight of the Byrd by Amboy Dukes
Bermuda Triangle Blues by Blondie
Flight Taken by Debris'
African Night Flight by David Bowie
Long Day's Flight by The Electric Prunes
Roforofo Flight by Fela Kuti
Sovereignty Flight by The Gories
Flight From Ashiya by Kaleidoscope
Flight 505 by The Rolling Stones
Freedom Flight by Shuggie Otis
Flight of the Batman by Sun Ra and the Blues Project
Monkey Pilot by the Comsat Angels
Pilot Can at the Queer of God by Flaming Lips
Down in the Cockpit by XTC
Ready for Take Off by Aero Sound
Crash Landing 88 by Von LMO
posted by klangklangston at 3:43 PM on February 11, 2008

Response by poster: Wow. Thank you everyone, these are some awesome suggestions.
posted by Locative at 11:34 AM on February 17, 2008

Response by poster: Muxtape for 12 of the suggestions.
posted by Locative at 11:16 PM on April 8, 2008

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