Stephen Hawking has lent his voice (literally) to a new version of Monty Python‘s “Galaxy Song” – a charming ditty designed to make your problems feel small and you smaller – which was featured in the comedy troupe’s 1983 movie The Meaning of Life. The group recently performed the tune at their reunion concerts last year in London, after which it cut to a scene of physicist Brian Cox detailing the song’s inaccuracies until Hawking runs him down with his wheelchair and says, “I think you’re being pedantic,” before “singing” it and flying into the heavens.
The Hawking version of the song is available now as a digital download and will be released this Saturday – Record Store Day – as a limited-edition seven-inch. The original version, sung by Eric Idle, is available on the recently reissued Monty Python Sings (Again). The troupe has also made a special website for the song on which you can play the video game Asteroids as the Hawking version plays.
Idle told Rolling Stone last year that he had hoped to release the Hawking-sung version of “Galaxy Song” and how much he enjoyed interacting with the legendary physicist. “In some of the outtakes [of the Monty Python Live (Mostly) DVD], I’m playing him the ‘Galaxy Song’ and I keep making him smile, it’s lovely,” Idle said. “It’s not easy to make him smile because he doesn’t have much range of movement, but I see his mouth go up and it’s just great.”
He also underscored that Monty Python’s relationship with Hawking goes back years. “Stephen Hawking is a contemporary of ours, don’t forget,” Idle said. “When we were doing the Footlights [a Cambridge Club to which Idle, Cleese and Chapman belonged], he was there. He was walking around; he was still able to perambulate. So his college humor was our college humor.”