Chuck Berry died this past weekend. He was ninety, which is a good run for anyone. His music, however, will outlive him by eons, in part because a recording of Johnny B. Goode was included on the golden discs that were sent into space on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. On Berry's sixtieth birthday in 1986, Carl Sagan and Anne Druyan sent him a letter which read:
When they tell you your music will live forever, you can usually be sure they're exaggerating. But Johnny B. Goode is on the Voyager interstellar records attached to NASA's Voyager spacecraft - now two billion miles from Earth and bound for the stars. These records will last a billion years or more.Chuck Berry may be gone, but I like to imagine that a hundred million years from now, some distant spacefaring alien race will find one of the Voyager spacecraft adrift in the interstellar void, figure out how to use the golden record attached to it, and his music will live on.
Happy 60th birthday, with our admiration for the music you have given to this world . . .
Go, Johnny, go.
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