Today is the 267th birthday of one Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier, who with his brother Joseph-Michele pioneered the first manned lighter than air flight. The Chinese had been using hot-air powered signal lanterns since the time of the Three Kingdoms, but it was the Montgolfier Brothers who were the first to send man skyward using the technology.
Joseph, a born genius and head of the family's paper manufacturing business was inspired when he was laundry drying over a fire rise. He recruited Etienne to his subsequent experiments, and their progress would be mirrored by the space program centuries later. First they proved they could lift off, then they sent some animals up to make sure being so high didn't kill you, then on October 15, 1783 Etienne became the first man to ascend in flight.
Lighter than air travel has always fascinated us, so in honor of aeronaut numero uno, here's seven tunes that Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier made possible.
We've talked about this incredible steampunk send up of the Lonely Island's classic hit "I'm on a Boat" before, but it never hurts to try and bring the awesomeness of Steampunk Fett and Victorian-era hip hop to a new audience.
Though not really a song about balloons, the video features an amazing airship adventure. Incidentally, did you know that this iconic video only exists because the Pumpkins' original idea was something almost identical to the video the Red Hot Chili Peppers did for "Aeroplane?" Once they saw the Chili Peppers' work they had to come up with another, and in our opinion far superior, idea.
There's not a person out there who has ever seen the iconic Goodyear Blimp and not thought about how awesome it would be to just jump in and take the controls. The best you can hope for is to live vicariously through Book of Changes.
Captain Beefheart is the only artist comparable to the Legendary Pink Dots in terms of weirdness, and if we could make two songs fight it out in a cage over that title we'd pick "Blimp" and "The Saucers are Coming." Then again, they would probably just turn on us.
We can think of a lot of places that would be worse to be than trapped in the sky with Nancy Sinatra at her hottest.
Airships have always been a big part of the Final Fantasy series. In FF6, Setzer loses prized Blackjack, and degenerates into a drunken loser. Inspired to fight again ina ruined world, he leads the part to recover the Falcon, rebuilt wreck of his friend and lover Daryl. This theme follows the party as Setzer relates their races, hopes, and dreams at her grave, and we're very found of Nubbin's trip hoppy remix.
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You know how when you see the audience at a Christian concert close their eyes, raise a hand skywards, and recite the lyrics with a look of total ecstasy on their faces? They do that because they feel connected to something perfect, true, pure, and most of all greater than themselves. We know, because that is exactly how we feel when we listen to VNV Nation, and we always find ourselves striking the same pose.