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Author Topic: 'Happy Birthday' was the 1st song ever performed in outer space...who's  (Read 4095 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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...who's birthday was it?

I know it was sung by the Apollo 9 crew in 1969...but can't find who the happy person was who
was having a birthday on March 8th '69. What was their name and how old were they anyway?

Can anyone help out?

Offline AtMyWitzEnd

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I found quite a few places claiming that this was the crew of the orbiting Apollo 9 sang Happy Birthday to NASA director Christopher Kraft. Such as this one:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/3561183/The-story-behind-the-song-Happy-Birthday.html

However, Chris Kraft was born on February 28 (1924)




Offline P-Kasso2

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The mystery deepens...if you couldn't find out, Witz, I guess nobody else can. Lost in space? Thanks for trying.

Offline AtMyWitzEnd

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After further digging ... I found this cutting from the Park City Daily News, which being contemporary (9 March 1969) is likely correct, that says it was sung for Chris Kraft and was belated (but doesn't say why).

"Instructed to take pictures of Houston ... before they turned to the task, they took time off to sing 'Happy Birthday' to the flight operations director, Christopher Columbus Kraft Jr., the man in mission control who has shepherded every U.S. manned flight.  As the astronauts sped into the last and easiest half of their 10-day mission. they asked Kraft to be put on the line to hear their belated greeting. He turned 45 on Feb. 28 [to answer your other question] the day the Apollo 9 launch was originally scheduled.  When their rendition was over, mission control radioed back, "you may have even overshadowed the rendezvous with performances like that".  And Kraft, whose father was named Christopher Columbus because he was born near New York City's Columbus Circle, sat quietly in mission control saying "beautiful, beautiful"."

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1697&dat=19690302&id=KxAzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=bUYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5060,736704


 

Offline AtMyWitzEnd

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Another point ... "Happy Birthday" is disputed as being the first song sung in Space, although it is often quoted as being so.

According to the transcript of his flight, Yuri Gagarin sung "The Motherland Hears, the Motherland Knows" by Shostakovichon during his re-entry on 12 April 1961. Of course, Gagarin's flight predates Apollo 9's flight by a few years.
See http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.com/2007/06/yuri-gagarin-first-song-in-space.html

The 'Guinness Book of Records' is often quoted as the source of the "incorrect" information but they have stated to clear up the matter (on 25 August 2006) "We have made reference to Happy Birthday being a song sung in space by members of the Apollo IX mission, but it is not referred to as the first song sung in space, it listed as anecdotal information to a record about the most frequently sung songs in English."

Other interesting "music from space" ~

As well documented in the film 'The Right Stuff' and various documentaries, John Glenn was a very religious man and hummed hymns when under stress (but resisted actually bursting into song).
 
Jingle Bells was also played (but not sung) by the Gemini 6 astronauts as a prank ...

"On December 16, 1965 performance art made a great leap forward. US Astronauts Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford were preparing reentry into the Earth's atmosphere after successfully piloting their Gemini VI spacecraft within 30 centimeters of Gemini VII, still in orbit. As they maneuvered to begin reentry, Stafford contacted Mission Control about a UFO:

"We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit.... Looks like he might be going to re-enter soon.... You just might let me pick up that thing.... I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit."

Before Mission Control could respond, Schirra began playing "Jingle Bells" on a harmonica he had smuggled in his spacesuit. He was accompanied by Stafford, playing smuggled sleigh bells.

The first musical instruments performed in space are on display at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

Source - Article from Smithsonian Magazine

Offline antonymous

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Dont forget the "Okie from Muskogee" by Merle Haggard!
"Okie from Muskogee” is an ode to simple American living, ... and a copy of the song is part of a time capsule on the moon"
www.countryuniverse.net/.../classic-country-singles-okie-from-muskogee-merle-haggard-4/ -
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
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