A Brief History of Songs That Have Gone to Space

If you’re not following Canadian astronaut and burgeoning social media celebrity Chris Hadfield on Twitter, you’re really missing out — his photos of various parts of the Earth from orbit are amazing, and over the weekend he also became the first astronaut to beam back a recording of himself performing a song in space. That song is, inevitably, David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” and Hadfield does a pretty creditable job of singing it, floating around in zero gravity as he does so. While Hadfield’s the first to produce a video of himself covering David Bowie in a space station, he’s not the first to combine music and space travel. Here’s a brief history of songs that have gone to space.

“Johnny B. Goode” — Chuck Berry

The most famous musical missive to the cosmos was the Voyager Gold Record, a gold-plated LP that was sent into deep space with the Voyager 1 probe. The contents of the record were chosen by a committee chaired by the immortal Carl Sagan, and include various sounds of nature, greetings in a whole bunch of languages, and most importantly for our purposes, a selection of music. There are sounds from all round the world, from Bulgarian folk music and a mariachi band to Senegalese percussion… and also a song by Chuck Berry. Sadly, it’s not “My Ding-a-Ling” — it’s “Johnny B Goode.”