I had forgotten the majesty of The Galaxy Song until this morning when Stephen Hawking decided to cover it in honour of Monty Python’s stage show. The rascal has recorded his version of the beautifully written song which is accompanied by an endearingly shit little video featuring him on his wheelchair whizzing off into the cosmos as he sings.
It reminded me how innovative and ahead of the game Monty Python were in terms of animation back in the day. With Terry Gilliam on board they were able to break up their sketches with interludes of animated sequences, some – like The Galaxy Song – with musical accompaniment. In the clip below Terry explains, “the whole point of animation to me is to tell a story, make a joke, express an idea. The technique itself doesn’t really matter. Whatever works is the thing to use. That’s why I use cut-out. It’s the easiest form of animation I know.”
Watch the new Stephen Hawking animation (not made by Terry’s hand) and then watch the original Galaxy Song below. For 1983, the animation is pretty astonishing, and the lyrics are brilliant. Especially when you consider that the reason they are being sung is to persuade an old housewife to give up her organs to some backstreet doctors.