Star Trek references pop up everywhere in pop music, from the Beastie Boys to Lady Gaga

By: H&I Staff     Posted: July 20, 2017, 10:17AM

Picking up references in songs, movies and other TV shows is always fun for Trekkies. They always seem to pop up in the most unexpected places. Upon the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, Forbes pointed out that despite the stereotype of Trek fans, with box office turnouts upwards of $385 million, it's clear that the fandom defies subcultures and demographics. 

While compiling a number of songs that referenced the franchise, it became increasingly clear that the fandom isn't just reserved for science-fiction lovers or members of the "geek" subculture. 

We all know about the music careers of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, as well as the plethora of bands that dedicate their craft to Trek like death-metal Klingon band Stovokor and rock band Warp 11. However, Star Trek has been referenced in just about every genre of music, from top 40 hits like the Weeknd's "Starboy" to punk veterans Screeching Weasel's "Phasers on Kill."

Some of these songs or song titles make references to Star Trek and its characters, while other songs are completely dedicated to the franchise. Others may pull sound effects from the show or movies.

For example, Lady Gaga sampled the sound of a Romulan torpedo in "Just Dance," while you can hear a red-alert klaxon in Ariana Grande's "Problem." Tupac's "Pain" starts with Sybok telling God that he couldn't help but notice his pain, while Spock explaining why he used the Vulcan Death Grip starts the song aptly titled "Vulcan Death Grip" by post-hardcore group Old Gray. 

The Beastie Boys are one of the most frequent Star Trek reference droppers. "Ch-Check It Out" calls out to Trekkies and Klingons, while "Intergalactic" refereces the Vulcan Nerve Pinch. Even classic acts like Jimmy Buffett mentions a "Vulcan in disguise" and the Edgar Broughton Band dedicated two songs to Mr. Spock.

We've compiled a playlist of Star Trek–related tracks, so let us know what some of your favorite songs that feature samples or references to Star Trek in the comments!

Note: "Starboy," "Ch-Check It Out," and "Captain Kirk" contain explicit language.

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