The Solar System in Song #1 – The Ran-Dells and ‘Martian Hop’

Regulars around here will probably remember my Full Moon Calendar In Song series. It came about after witnessing a particularly fine full moon a few years ago, on Bonfire Night as it turned out. After doing a bit of research I discovered that all full moons have a name, given to them by the Native Americans who kept track of the months by the lunar calendar. I have written about each one a couple of times now, so that series kind of ran its course, but I learnt so much about our closest satellite in the process.

This year, the months of September and October were quite unusual when it came to the full moon. The Harvest Moon usually lights up our skies in September, as it’s the one that falls closest to the Autumnal Equinox. This year however the Harvest Moon fell at the start of October, as we had a very early September full moon. It was given the alternate name the Corn Moon. The moon that follows the Harvest Moon is usually called the Hunter’s Moon but this year we had two full moons in October, all down to the lunar cycle being 29 and a half days. A second full moon in the same calendar month is called a Blue Moon, so this one was called the Halloween Hunter’s Blue Moon. I tried to take a picture of it on 31st October, but it was a big fail as you can see below.

My very badly taken picture of the full moon, but the planet Mars got in there too!

What was interesting however, was the bright light over to the right of the moon. I don’t think I’ve ever spotted it in the sky before, but it was the planet Mars. It got me thinking – I’ve loved all these series where I’ve written about the natural world, always sharing a relevant song. My full moon series has come to an end, but there are plenty of songs about planets, so perhaps time for a Solar System in Song series. It’s got a nice ring to it, you have to admit.


I’ve started off with Mars for obvious reasons – I recently spotted it in the sky; it’s the planet closest to Earth, and; a fair few songs refer to it. Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System. Named after the Roman god of war, it’s often called the ‘Red Planet’ because of the iron oxide on its surface giving it a reddish appearance.

As for songs, there is an obvious contender, the very first song ever written about on this blog:

Life On Mars? by David Bowie:


I think I’ll go for something a lot less obvious though. It took me ages to find it, as I couldn’t remember what it was called, but here is a song my best friend and I both loved when we were in junior school. Back then we didn’t do ‘sleepovers’, you just stayed at your friend’s house sometimes, and for an only child like me, it was great fun. On a Saturday morning we could listen to Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart’s Junior Choice and this song was played often.

Martian Hop by The Ran-Dells was released way back in 1963 and has been described as a one-hit wonder novelty song. It tells of Martians throwing a dance party for ‘all the human race’ and suggested they were probably great dancers. It’s one of many songs from around that time that capitalised on space exploration (just like Mr Bowie). I’ve shared the original, but it has also been covered by a variety of other artists such as Rocky Sharpe and the Replays (link here).

If this series takes off, we’ll probably head to Venus next. Any song suggestions for that planet gratefully received.

Until next time….

Martian Hop Lyrics
(Song by John Spirit/Robert Lawrence Rappaport/Steve Rappaport)

We have just discovered
An important note from space
The Martians plan to throw a dance
For all the human race


Papa ooh mir mir papa ooh mir mir papa ooh mir mir papa ooh mir mir
Ee-ee-ee ee-ee
I got into my rocket ship to see the Martian Hop
I saw the planet shining red so there I made my stop
But as I opened up the door and climbed the ladder down
I saw the Martians on the floor a-dancin’ to this sound
Ee-ee-ee ee-ee the Martian Hop ee-ee-ee ee-ee-ee-ee


It seamed I was the first one there and so I was surprised
To see the Martians twist and stomp before my very eyes
They did the locomotion and the hully-gully too
I couldn’t name a single dance the Martians couldn’t do
Ee-ee-ee ee-ee the Martian Hop ee-ee-ee ee-ee-ee-ee


Now right around the stroke of twelve the dance had just begun
The earth kids parked their spaceship down on Mars to have some fun
And so I left my friends, the Martians, stomping on the ground
And even though I’m back on earth I still can hear this sound.
Ee-ee-ee ee-ee the Martian Hop ee-ee-ee ee-ee-ee-ee