Carl Sagan’s Space Playlist Sucks: What Tracks Would You Send Into the Void?

04/01/2010 3:53 PM |

ziggy stardust
  • “Send me to space, please.”

Ugh. I didn’t know this but way back in 1977, when the two Voyager deep-space probes launched, NASA had noted musical expert Carl Sagan chair a committee to select the music that would represent the human race to all of space and time, forever. Lapham’s Quarterly has the whole tracklist, but I’ll sum up: world folk music from five continents plus dead white classical composers. I CAN’T BELIEVE THERE’S NO BOWIE.

If the Earth was dying and a deep-space culture ark was launching today, what tracks would you include? (For the record, I would also include Bach and Beethoven, and maybe the gamelan, but probably not the Pygmy girls’ initiation song.)

4 Comment

  • Well yeah but I mean aren’t aliens already up to their eyeballs in 70s Bowie?

    I’ve seen The Man Who Fell to Earth, and I’m pretty sure it was a documentary. Also a documentary: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Mars, Jonny! Would you send Vampire Weekend CDs to Cape Cod? Would you include Yakov Smirnoff DVDs on your rocket to Russia?!?

  • LOL! – I would definitely drop 2 out 3 three Bach’s and drop Mozart. Beethovens’s 9th has to be in there. Add Pavarotti doing Puccini http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=VATmgtmR5o…, plus something from Wagner and Chopin. That Armstrong tune is a puzzle, he has better tunes, also Blind Willie Johnson, really? Add Battle Hymn of the Republic or When the Saints Come Marching in. Add Brubeck doing Take 5 or Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue, Ellington Take the A Train. Also you got to squeeze in Auld Lang Syne in there, and Liverpool FC fans doing You’ll Never Walk Alone.

    Looks like this user tracked down all the recording and posted them on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcwPMeqS97Y

  • Yet, props to the Golden Record folks for including the sounds of a tame dog, a riveter, and a Sumerian greeting

  • Hm. Normally I have nothing but love for ol’ Carl, but he really dropped the ball on that list. 3 Bach tracks and yet NO rock beyond Chuck Berry is unacceptable! Not MY planet, man! 1977? C’mon.