Friday, September 14, 2007

Earth's Greatest Hits

After reading the post below, the Northern Rock meltdown stories and Knut's obesity you may want to listen to "I Melt with You" again.
Or think about how cool human beings can sometimes be.
From Mental Floss:

Earth’s Greatest Hits
by Jason - September 13, 2007 - 11:05 AM
One day, billions of miles from Cape Canaveral, aliens might come across a

peculiar-looking spacecraft. If they’re curious – and the vessel wasn’t destroyed on impact – they’ll go inside and discover a gold record album.

Unless the digital music revolution had prompted these intergalactic beings to discard their old record players, they’ll hear a compilation of sounds and songs from a strange place called Earth.


Thirty years ago, with the Voyager program, we launched an elaborate greatest hits album into the universe. As The New York Times reported in 1977, “The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record – a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University.” (Read a great recap by Timothy Ferris here.)

Before I tell you what songs made the cut, let me pose a question. If you were playing the Carl Sagan DJ role today, what would you include on the record? You can choose one song, one speech, one movie and one YouTube video (You can put the link to the video in the comments if you omit the ‘www.’ I think. I’ll post some of the best videos tomorrow.)

Here’s the track listing:

  • Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F
  • Java, court gamelan, “Kinds of Flowers”
  • Senegal, percussion, recorded by Charles Duvelle
  • Zaire, Pygmy girls’ initiation song, recorded by Colin Turnbull
  • Australia, Aborigine songs, “Morning Star” and “Devil Bird,” recorded by Sandra LeBrun Holmes
  • Mexico, “El Cascabel,” performed by Lorenzo Barcelata and the Mariachi México
  • “Johnny B. Goode,” written and performed by Chuck Berry
  • New Guinea, men’s house song, recorded by Robert MacLennan
  • Japan, shakuhachi, “Tsuru No Sugomori” (”Crane’s Nest,”) performed by Goro Yamaguchi
  • Bach, “Gavotte en rondeaux” from the Partita No. 3 in E major for Violin
  • Mozart, The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night aria, no. 14. Edda Moser, soprano. Bavarian State Opera, Munich
  • Georgian S.S.R., chorus, “Tchakrulo,” collected by Radio Moscow
  • Peru, panpipes and drum, collected by Casa de la Cultura, Lima
  • “Melancholy Blues,” performed by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven
  • Azerbaijan S.S.R., bagpipes
  • Stravinsky, Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance, Columbia Symphony Orchestra
  • Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue in C, No.1
  • Beethoven, Fifth Symphony, First Movement, the Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Bulgaria, “Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin,” sung by Valya Balkanska
  • Navajo Indians, Night Chant, recorded by Willard Rhodes
  • Holborne, Paueans, Galliards, Almains and Other Short Aeirs, “The Fairie Round”
  • Solomon Islands, panpipes, collected by the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service
  • Peru, wedding song, recorded by John Cohen
  • China, ch’in, “Flowing Streams,” performed by Kuan P’ing-hu
  • India, raga, “Jaat Kahan Ho,” sung by Surshri Kesar Bai Kerkar
  • “Dark Was the Night,” written and performed by Blind Willie Johnson
  • Beethoven, String Quartet No. 13 in B flat, Opus 130, Cavatina, performed by Budapest String Quartet