In Memoriam

From Saturday Night Live, April 1978:

believe… next week’s Time cover… will be about the recent communication from outer space. 

Well, what — you mean a foreign planet will actually send a message next week? 

No! A foreign planet actually SENT us a message last week. Next week, the government will reveal the message to the public. 

You see, it all started on August 20th, 1977, when NASA put up a recording of the sounds of Earth on Voyager I. A two-hour long tape included, uh, natural sounds of animals, … a passage from the Koran in Arabic, messages from President Carter, United Nations Secretary Kurt Waldheim, music — everything from classical to Chuck Berry. 

Uh — and you’re saying that the, uh — another civilization has found the tape? 

Yes. They’ve sent us a message that actually proves it. It may be just four simple words, but it is the FIRST positive proof that other intelligent beings inhabit the universe. 

Uh — what are the four words? 

The four words that came to us from outer space — the FOUR words that will appear on the cover of Time Magazine next week — are:



Chuck Berry,  1926 – 2017

Hail, hail, rock and roll

Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news

Maybe some day your name will be in lights, saying “Johnny B. Goode Tonight”