Many songwriters have written about space travel, but none of them have ever been in space. That changed on Friday, February 8, 2013. Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, and Bare Naked Ladies singer, Ed Robertson, collaborated on a new song, which was recorded simultaneously in space and on the ground in Canada via a video link. Hadfield is currently orbiting earth on the International Space Station. Also performing on the recording are Bare Naked Ladies and the Wexford Gleeks from the Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts.
The song, “I.S.S. Is Somebody Singing,” was co-written by Hadfield and Robertson while Hadfield was training for his mission in Russia.
The song is about flying in space and looking back at the Earth and wanting to come home, again. In the song, Hadfield reflects on how amazing it is to even go into space and look back at your only home in the universe.
One line says, “What once was fueled by fear now has 15 nations orbiting together here.”
When Canadian Broadcast Corporation network asked him what message they wanted to convey, Robertson said that he wanted to share some of the wonder that Hadfield had imparted to him.
He said, “I wanted it to be a celebration, not about the remoteness of space, but about the connectedness of a human being on the I.S.S. who looks down and sees the whole planet in a way that, from our perspective, we don’t have the opportunity to do.”
The song will be part of Canada’s Music Monday project, which is celebrated on the first Monday in May each year.
Robertson and Hadfield have been friends for years. Hadfield and his brother had been writing songs for an album that Hadfield wants to record on the space station. He contacted Robertson to bring the writing to the next level.
Robertson wrote the first verse and chorus and sent it to Hadfield. He asked the astronaut for some technical jargon for the second verse because the first verse was emotional. A day and a half later Hadfield sent Robertson the second verse, which Robertson found to be poetic and good and they continued to work on it.
The idea for the song was inspired by Carl Sagan’s introduction of “The Pale Blue Dot” photograph taken when Voyager 1 started heading out of the solar system in 1990. It turned and took photos of each planet that it had explored. It caught our Earth from an angle that made it appear to be near to the Sun. Earth appears in a light ray of sunlight. It moved Sagan and Robertson, too.
This is the second new song that Hadfield has introduced from space. He played his composition, “Jewel In the Night,” on Christmas day. It is a beautiful song about looking down on our Jewel in the Night.