The legendary astrophysicist covers a classic, just in time for Record Store Day 2015
image via youtube screen capture
Stephen Hawking is known for many things: Revolutionizing modern astrophysics, persevering in the face of a devastating medical diagnosis, and inspiring millions with his personal story.
What he’s not usually known for is his melodious singing voice.
That all changed this week when Hawking, who famously uses a speech-generating device to communicate, released his cover of Monty Python’s “Galaxy Song.” With lyrics describing the exact speed of planetary rotation, and contours of our Milky Way galaxy, the song is a natural fit for the famed cosmologist.
As just-released video’s description explains, Hawking first sang the song as part of the “Monty Python Live (mostly): One Down, Five To Go” stage show, which ran for ten nights in July, 2014 at London’s O2 arena. In a pre-recorded segment for those shows:
Professor Brian Cox berated the scientific inaccuracy of the “Galaxy Song" lyrics before Professor Stephen Hawking knocked him to the ground. Hawking then began reciting the “Galaxy Song” lyrics as he lifted off to journey through outer space.
It's this Hawking-ified version of the song that was, for the first time, released on April 13th as a digital download, and will be available for purchase as limited edition 7-inch vinyl for this year’s Record Store Day, which falls annually on the third Satuday of April. Accompanying the release of the song is a Stephen Hawking-centric iteration of the classic arcade game “Asteroids.” To play you’ll have to sign in on the Monty Python website, at which point you’ll be able to control the 73-year-old Hawking as he shoots down asteroids bearing the faces of Monty Python’s members.
That Hawking was game to record a version of the delightfully loony song is made all the more impressive when you consider that Hawking, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, manipulates his speech-generating software by twitching a single muscle in his cheek at a rate of about a single word per-minute.
Here, for reference, is the original version of the song, from 1983’s Meaning of Life:
Hopefully this is just the first in a trend of astrophysicists covering classic Python, and with a little luck we’ll have a Neil deGrasse Tyson version of "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" in time Record Store Day 2016.