Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, passed down his love for flying and music to several generations of his family. And that shines through in a poignant new ballad called "Flight of Fancy," written by Neil's son Mark Armstrong and performed by the astronaut's granddaughter Kali Armstrong.
The new song plays during the credits roll of a new documentary called "Armstrong" (opens in new tab) that chronicles the legendary NASA astronaut. You can listen to the song in the new music video above, premiered exclusively on Space.com.
The video weaves NASA archival footage and Armstrong family home movies with clips from the studio recording session.
Space.com had a chance to talk to Kali and her dad, Mark, about the songwriting process and their moonwalking influencer in an email Q&A:
Space.com: "Flight of Fancy" is certainly a touching tribute to Neil Armstrong. Can you let us know how the process of writing and recording it came to be?
Mark Armstrong: My father took me up in a glider when I was 6 years old. I remember the feeling of flight, but more importantly, I remember what a peaceful impact it had on my dad. When [he was] up in a glider, Dad would seem to leave all his troubles on the ground and simply enjoy the moment. So, the song emerged from my memory of my father's love of flight.
Kali Armstrong: The first time I heard Dad's song, I not only thought of my grandpa, but I also thought about my love of birds. I knew it would be the perfect song to record in my home of Bozeman, Montana, near Yellowstone National Park. Once in the studio, Dad and I merged our concepts of flight, his experience in the glider and my work with avian conservation, and channeled our passions into this song. It seemed to fit Grandpa Neil perfectly.
Space.com: I was unaware of the incredible musical talent in the Armstrong family. What sparked your passion for music, and when did you become a student of it?
Kali Armstrong: Music seemed to be my first language. My parents claim I could sing before I could talk. Dad was always singing, too — around the house and in the car ... It was just how we spent time together — singing. Later, I learned Grandpa Neil was a musician as well. So, it seemed to fit quite well into the theme of our lives.
Space.com: Which artists or bands influenced you over the years, and did Neil Armstrong have a music "playlist" that played a part?
Kali Armstrong: I have found that the more music I listen to, the more I enjoy it. Having access to so many different styles and genres continues to influence me as an artist. Whenever I was in Grandpa Neil's car, we listened to classical music, and that was a lovely introduction to sophisticated sound.
Space.com: I was recently reminded of a story in which Neil Armstrong, while serving as a member of Space.com's board of directors in 2004, explained similarities between a SpaceShipOne flight and one of his X-15 rocket-plane flights. Are there any little-known music or flight-related stories you'd like to share?
Mark Armstrong: Most of Dad's flight stories are well documented, but I have a musical story I'd like to tell. Dad played the baritone in both high school and college. When he was about 14, he and a few buddies started a brass band called the Mississippi Moonshiners. They played one gig. Dad's instrument, a euphonium, is on display at The Museum of Flight in Seattle, along with some band-related programs from the 1940s and '50s.
The Armstrong's new song will be available for stream and purchase starting on Friday (July 12).
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