Have you ever heard of Voyager 1, the NASA spacecraft sent into space to explore the outer reaches of our solar system and to explore neighboring solar systems? What does this have to do with live music you ask? We are getting to that.

Whether or not you’ve heard of Voyager 1, what scientists decided to do – in the event that the spacecraft did ever encounter any other spacefaring beings – was to put a literal record on the ship, to assist as a sort of communication between humans and our extra-terrestrial friends (hopefully not foes, we don’t need any Independence Day type situation occurring). Dubbed the Golden Record, the transmission begins with an introduction from the Secretary General of the United Nations, and then goes into an eclectic 90-minute playlist, including both Eastern and Western classics and a variety of ethnic music. Three modern Western rock/blues songs were also included – ”Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry, “Melancholy Blues” by Louis Armstrong, and “Dark Was the Night” by Blind Willie Johnson.

Astrophysisist/cosmologist Carl Sagan was part of the team that put together the contents of the record, which included “115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals.” Sagan went on to write:

“There is an argument—perhaps it is only a hope—that we might be able to communicate with representatives of such exotic civilizations,” wrote Carl Sagan in “Murmurs of Earth,” a book about Voyager 1 and its Golden Record, “because they, like we, must come to grips with the same laws of physics and chemistry and astronomy.”


The initial greeting from the Secretary General of the United Nations:


Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F made the playlist:


The Sounds of Earth:


The Full Recording of the Golden Record:

[via NASA.gov and Death & Taxes]