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The Lure of Long Distances: Songs for Spacemen

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 8, 2013

The space shuttle astronauts journeyed up to 4.3 million miles on a single flight.  But like all adventurous travelers, they also pined for small reminders of life back home.  Name the artist whose music was at the top of the charts for space shuttle wake-up calls:

a. Elton John, whose hits include “Rocket Man”

b. Aaron Copeland, composer of “Fanfare for the Common Man”

c. Paul McCartney, whose songbook includes “Off the Ground” and “Soggy Noodle.”

d. Dean Martin, who sang “Volare”

And the answer is:

(c) Paul McCartney–with the Beatles, Wings, or solo–has awakened 12 Shuttle crews, and gave a live performance of “Good Day Sunshine” in 2005.  Also popular with Shuttle crews: The Beach Boys (“I Get Around”), U2 (“Vertigo” and “Beautiful Day”), and Louis Armstrong (“What a Wonderful World”).  Dean Martin was a hit on the final day of many flights when he sang “Goin’ Back to Houston.”

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