Monkey Swallows the Universe arrived way too late to contribute to the Voyager Golden Record. ‘Gravestones’ was the highlight of their set at the 2007 Green Man Festival, which took place almost exactly three decades after the launch of Voyager 2. It’s a lament from a ghost who can’t figure out what he’s done to deserve limbo. This makes it the perfect song for a disc sent to drift in deep space forever.

Il Miserere

Artist Jon Lomberg, one of the Voyager Golden Record’s design/image team, suggested that they include some Mozart on the record. He met resistance from Carl Sagan who apparently thought it too ‘lightweight’. In the end they chose ‘Hell’s Vengeance Boils in my Heart‘ from The Magic Flute as it ticked the Mozart and opera boxes, demonstrated the range of the human soprano, and all in a very short space of time. My opera category is satisfied by the twin-attack of Kitty Carlisle and Allan Jones performing ‘Il Miserere’ at the climax of A Night at the Opera.