Throughout their existence the band's members were:
- Dean Wareham - vocals, guitars
- Naomi Yang - bass
- Damon Krukowski - drums
The band was formed by the three while they were studying at Harvard in 1987, and named themselves after a friend who owned a Ford Galaxie 500. During this period, Krukowski lacked a permanent drumkit and instead borrowed one from his classmate Conan O'Brien.
They signed with the Shimmy Disc label in 1988, where they proceeded to release one album per year: Today, On Fire and This Is Our Music. These showcased the band's simple Dream Pop compositions argumented by Mark Kramer's psychedelic production and earned them some critical acclaim and a loyal audience. They, American Music Club, and Codeine are considered important influences on the Slowcore subgenre.
The band disintegrated in 1991 when Wareham moved back to New York City and informed Yang and Krukowski that he was quitting. Wareham subsequently founded the bands Luna and Dean & Britta (with his wife Britta Phillips), and Damon and Naomi founded the band Damon And Naomi.
- 1988 - Today
- 1989 - On Fire
- 1990 - This Is Our Music
- 2004 - Uncollected (rarities compilation)
Tropes evidenced by Galaxie 500:
- Apologises a Lot: "Sorry"Are you sorry that you love me
Am I sorry that I love you too
Seems it doesn't make a difference
That we're sorry all the time
- Cover Version: "Ceremony" by Joy Division and New Order, "Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste" by Jonathan Richman, "Here She Comes Now" by Velvet Underground, "Rain" by The Beatles, "Isn't It a Pity" by George Harrison, "Victory Garden" by Red Krayola, "Listen, the Snow is Falling" by Yoko Ono and "Cheese and Onions" by The Rutles. Those are the ones that made it to their albums - they played a few more in concert.
- Epic Rocking: "Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste", "Ceremony", "Summertime", "Listen, the Snow is Falling", "Here She Comes Now", the live medley of "Rain/Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste".
- I Am the Band: In recent years, Wareham has occasionally toured as "Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500".
- Mushroom Samba: "Strange" is about going grocery shopping while high on acid.Why's everybody actin funny?
Why's everybody look so strange?
Why's everybody look so nasty?
What do I want with all these things?
- Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Wareham and Yang.
- Record Producer: Mark Kramer.
- Shout-Out: This Is Our Music borrows its title from an Ornette Coleman album from 1960.
- And in reverse, one of the lyrics of "Stratford-on-Guy" by Liz Phair is And I was pretending that I was in a Galaxie 500 video.
- The cover of Cat Power's You Are Free is modeled after the one for Today.
- "Tugboat" is a shoutout to Sterling Morrison of Velvet Underground, who became a tugboat captain after the VU broke up.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Yang sings most of "Another Day" (Wareham joins in on the last chorus) and the Yoko Ono cover "Listen, the Snow is Falling", the latter being the only Galaxie 500 song without vocals by Wareham.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Some of Wareham's lyrics are just WTF-inducing, like "4th of July".