You could call it the world’s rarest record… except it’s as far from Earth as anything man-made has ever been, currently hurtling through interstellar space aboard both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, with an included stylus, needle, (typically confusing stereo) instructions, an unspecified destination and a far-flung mission to introduce ourselves to everyone – anyone – hanging out in the universe. I miss this kind of forward thinking, which has more recently been supplanted by partisan rancor and criminal nearsightedness. I also miss Carl Sagan, the famed astronomer who chaired the committee that was tasked to compile this nearly two-hour introduction to the voices, sounds, images, inhabitants and music of planet Earth… or what Frank Zappa might have called, “the best of what the 20th Century has to offer.” Sagan dismissed the tunnel-vision hacks who wanted to showcase only Western music, navigated the puritanical mindset that balked at his plans to include nude images of a man and woman, and still managed to forge this fascinating and intelligent compilation – featuring greetings in 55 languages (including whales) and music from Pygmies, symphony orchestras, Navajo Indians and Chuck Berry, alongside a taste of anything and everything in between. A fun and imaginative listen, to say the least. The Beatles were invited, too (“Here Comes The Sun”), but some thick-headed pinhead at EMI said no… for reasons that will also confound aliens 40,000 years from now when Voyager 1 flies within 1.6 light-years of Gliese 445. For those wanting to actually see the rarest of gold records (gold-plated copper, to be precise, with an aluminum cover and “an ultra-pure sample of the isotope uranium-238″), there’s a copy on display at the Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia. For anyone holding out for a remastered Deluxe Edition… don’t hold your breath.
Greetings From The Secretary General Of The UN, Kurt Waldheim (0:47)
Greetings In 55 Languages (4:25)
UN Greetings/Whale Greetings (4:06)
The Sounds Of Earth (12:27)
Munich Bach Orchestra BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 In F, First Movement (Germany) (4:48)
Court Gamelan of Pura Paku Alaman Puspawarna (Kinds Of Flowers) (Indonesia) (4:52)
Tchenhoukoumen (Senegal) (2:13)
Pygmy Girls Initiation Song (Zaire) (1:01)
Morning Star/Devil Bird (Aborigine Songs) (Australia) (1:31)
Antonio Maciel y Las Aguilillas with El Mariachi México de Pepe Villa El Cascabel (Mexico) (3:25)
Chuck Berry Johnny B. Goode (United States) (2:44)
Men’s House Song (New Guinea) (1:26)
Goro Yamaguchi Tsuru No Sugomori (Crane’s Nest) (Japan) (5:09)
Arthur Grumiaux BACH: Gavotte En Rondeaux, Partita No. 3 In E Major For Violin (Germany) (3:02)
Bavarian State Opera MOZART: The Magic Flute, Queen Of The Night, Aria No. 14 (Austria) (2:58)
Georgian State Ensemble Tchakrulo (Georgia SSR, Soviet Union) (2:29)
Panpipes and Drums (Peru) (0:57)
Louis Armstrong And His Hot Seven Melancholy Blues (United States) (3:11)
Kamil Jalilov Mugam (Azerbaijan SSR, Soviet Union) (2:38)
Columbia Symphony Orchestra STRAVINSKY: Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance (Russia/France) (4:37)
Glenn Gould BACH: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, No.1 (Canada/Germany) (4:51)
The Philharmonia Orchestra BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5, First Movement (Germany) (8:53)
Valya Balkanska Izlel Je Delyo Hagdutin (Bulgaria) (5:05)
Navajo Night Chant (Native American) (1:02)
David Munrow and The Early Music Consort Of London The Faerie Round (United Kingdom) (1:20)
Melanesian Panpipes (Solomon Islands) (1:18)
Wedding Song (Peru) (0:43)
Kuan P’ing hu Liu Shui (Flowing Streams) (China) (7:49)
Surshri Kesar Bai Kerkar Jaat Kahan Ho (India) (3:40)
Blind Willie Johnson Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground (United States) (3:25)
Budapest String Quartet BEETHOVEN: String Quartet No. 13 In B Flat, Opus 130 (Germany) (6:47)
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