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See Chris Hadfield’s Guitar at Idea Exchange


Reading + Entertainment

  • astronaut

Meghan, Queen's Square | February 27, 2018

Ground control to Major Tom
The time is near, there's not too long

Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?

- Chris Hadfield’s modified 2013 cover of “Space Oddity” by David Bowie

The entire world could hear Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on May 12, 2013 when he released his YouTube cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from inside the International Space Station (ISS). Hadfield floated in a space capsule overlooking Earth, strumming his guitar and singing a modified version of the song to say goodbye at the end of his stay on the ISS. While the unlucky Major Tom in Bowie’s classic tune meets a tragic fate, drifting off into space alone, Hadfield was much more fortunate. He returned to Canada not only as a hero of space exploration but also as an unexpected musical sensation.

Although he is now retired from the life of an astronaut, Hadfield has kept busy using his newfound social media celebrity to promote public interest in science, engineering and space flight. His autobiography, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth (2013) made the New York Times bestseller list. Since then, he also released an album, Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can, a compilation of songs recorded while he was in orbit and a book of aerial photographs taken from orbit, You are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes. More recently, he also tried his hand as a picture book author, with The Darkest Dark, a story of how he overcame his childhood fear of the dark with inspiration from the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Chris Hadfield’s music has blasted off on voyages out of this world and now, one of his guitars is making another journey - not to the darkest reaches of space, but to the Idea Exchange! Social media magic struck again in bringing this piece of music history to Cambridge. When his guitar’s bridge broke off in November 2016, Hadfield shared a photo with his Twitter followers, offering the instrument to a good new home. Cambridge Live Music tweeted back with a perfect pitch – the guitar would be a perfect tool to share music with young people through its Guitars for Kids program. They restored the old Yamaha to its former glory and this month, it comes to Queen’s Square in March 2018 for a public showing.

David Bowie Space Oddity Chris Hadfield Space Sessions CDThe Darkest Dark Book CoverChris Hadfield An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth