Astronaut and Bare Naked Ladies’ Ed Robertson Team Up for an Orbital Duet

The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 10 2013 8:00 AM

A Song from Space

Song from space
Space Station astronaut Chris Hadfield (left, and 400 km up) and Barenaked Ladies singer Ed Robertson perform a duet while Hadfield is in orbit. Click to musicauniversalisenate.

Image credit: CBC Music

A lot of music has been written about space and space travel, but very few have been sung from space. And fewer still have involved a duet between someone in space and someone on the ground…and I can only think of one co-written by an astronaut and then recorded together via video link to space.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

That song is “I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing)”, written by astronaut Chris Hadfield, current commander of Expedition 34 on the International Space Station, and Ed Robertson from Barenaked Ladies (if you don’t know, the group that did the theme song used by “The Big Bang Theory”). Performing with Hadfield and BNL are the Wexford Gleeks, from the Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts.

Advertisement

The song is about going into space, looking back on Earth, and wanting to go home again. Unlike Elton John’s “Rocket Man”, though, this isn’t a song about loneliness and regrets, it’s about how amazing it is that we can go to space at all. My favorite line: “What once was fueled by fear, now has 15 nations orbiting together here.”

Which is kinda nice, don’t you think?

Teen Skepchicks has the full lyrics if you want to follow along. This song was sponsored by The Coalition for Music Education for their Music Monday project, in collaboration with CBC Music and the Canadian Space Agency (Commander Hadfield and BNL are Canadian).

And one final note: If you are not following Commander Hadfield on Twitter, you are seriously missing out. He posts pictures he takes from space every day, and they are incredible. Go.

[Correction: The Barenaked Ladies were originally referred to as Bare Naked Ladies, a mistake that I personally never thought I'd run across, but there you go. My apologies to BNL.]

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.