Inspired by Saturn – rock and pop musicians

Pondering my own second Saturn return next year (aaargh!), I thought it would be interesting to have a quick look at some of the wide range of musicians who have been inspired by Saturn in general. There is no shortage of musical artists who know a fair bit about astrology, some of them being accomplished astrologers themselves.

Sun Ra

When it comes to musical space cadets, the legendary Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, 22nd May 1914 – 30th May 1993)  takes some beating. The extraordinary jazz man actually claimed to be from Saturn, sent to the Earth to uplift humanity by sharing universal truths from other worlds.This view of himself as a visionary from outer space became a huge part of the Sun Ra mythology. “If you are not a myth whose reality are you? If you are not a reality whose myth are you?” “The trouble with the people on this planet is they refuse to think, they refuse to believe anything except what they know.” A good introduction to Sun Ra and his Arkestra is Greatest Hits: Easy Listening For Intergalactic Travel.

Francis Dunnery

Moving forward in time, musician-astrologer Francis Dunnery originally established himself with the eighties band It Bites and as a guitarist with singer Robert Plant. An early solo success was Too Much Saturn And Not Enough Moon, a blues tune full of appropriately dry humour for his Capricorn Sun sign.

Most people reading this article will no doubt be very familiar with the astrological meaning of “the Saturn return”, so I won’t elaborate too much on that. It is of course an easily identifiable astrological cycle that most people can relate to, regardless of whether they know much about astrology or not. Saturn returns to its original position in the birth chart around the ages of 29 and 58, corresponding to a confrontation with reality and a sometimes painful growing up process.

In 1976, at the time of his Saturn return, David Bowie (natal Moon conjunct Saturn in Leo – an interpretation of his chart here) recorded Low. Bowie later guested on the track Truth for drum’n’bass star Goldie’s 1998 album Saturnz Return. A Capricorn himself, the name of Bowie’s last album Blackstar sounds suspiciously Saturnian.

Katy Perry

In the modern pop mainstream, American singer and songwriter Katy Perry is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, two of her biggest hits having been I Kissed a Girl and Roar. She talked about her Saturn return in 2014. “I’m 28… when you’re at the end of your 20s, it’s a very important growing time. It’s called the Saturn return, if you like astrology – I know it’s important for me.” Then there was Gwen Stefani and American band No Doubt with their fourth album Return Of Saturn in 2000.

Michael Stipe, the lead singer of R.E.M. was born with Sun conjunct Saturn in Capricorn, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see a track called Saturn Return on the 2001 album Reveal. Some of the intriguing lyrics:-

Birth chart for Michael Stipe from https://astrotheme.com

“Saturn is orbiting nothing

He’s off on its own

He’s breaking from home

Saturn returns when you chased down, it slows

Throw them into a new gravity

Harder to look yourself square in the eye

Easy to poke yourself, easy as pie

Easy to take off, harder to fly

Harder to wake Galileo.”

On the face of it, Paul Weller is perhaps not someone you would expect to have anything to do with astrology but the title of his 2015 album Saturns Pattern looks like a bit of a giveaway! Even more so when you find out that he has Capricorn rising and a close Mars square Saturn aspect in his natal chart.

Nao’s second album

In a collaborative project for 4AD records, Sufjan Stevens released Planetarium in 2017, which included an electro dance track Saturn. British R&B artist Nao released her album Saturn in November 2018. Touring in 2019 with Tears For Fears is another musician-astrologer Roland Orzabal. He has made no secret of his interest in astrology, with astrological references scattered throughout his lyrics and a 1996 album titled Saturnine Martial & Lunatic (a collection of B-sides and rare tracks).

The beautiful ringed planet can be heavy stuff in astrology but will no doubt continue to inspire musicians for many Saturn returns to come.

This is an edited version of an article originally published in IAM Infinity astrology magazine https://infinityastrologicalmagazine.com/

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk