Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's recent performance of David Bowie's Space Oddity high above the earth brought back bad memories for French musician Jean Michel Jarre, who had hoped to feature tragic spaceman Ron Mcnair playing a saxophone solo at a gig in 1986. Jarre had planned to link up with McNair on board space shuttle Challenger as part of a show in Houston, Texas, and watched in horror as his pal and his crewmates perished when the craft disintegrated just 73 seconds after lift-off.
And Jarre reveals Hadfield's out-of-this-world tribute to Bowie, performed 230 miles (370 kilometres) above the planet on the International Space Station and posted online on 12 May (13), took him back to one of the worst days of his life.
He tells CelebrityAccess contributor Larry LeBlanc, "When I heard about the astronaut wanting to play music, obviously, it reminded me of this quite hard time... I could write a book around this concert in Houston.
"For the first time in its history, NASA wanted to be part of a cultural event. We had this idea of having a live link in space, and a song performed, not just as an engineer and a scientist, but also an artist playing saxophone live. It was really moving. Writing a piece of saxophone for NASA is quite challenging for a musician.
"Then we did it, and Ron was rehearsing until the last minute. (I said), 'OK, I'll give you a rendezvous in space,' which was a time to play together, with me in Houston, onstage over the skyline, and him in outer space.
"He said, 'Watch me on television for the take-off...' and we saw the tragedy. We were all in tears. I wanted to cancel the whole thing (concert). The astronauts in Houston said, 'You have to go on. You have to do this concert as a tribute to the astronauts.'"