Today marks the 34th Anniversary of the Challenger disaster. To honor the fallen Space Shuttle Astronauts, The Rentals are releasing “Great Big Blue”, a song based directly on the tragedy. The inspiration for the song came after Matt Sharp accidentally came upon a video of raw, uncut CNN news footage of a select group of school children and families of the seven Challenger astronauts watching the take-off, and tragic aftermath, from the bleachers about 3 1/2 miles away from the launch pad, at Cape Canaveral.
The five unfiltered minutes of close-ups of spectators’ faces left a lasting impression… “The scope of emotions, in those images, absolutely has had a profound impact on me,” states Sharp. “As the camera moves across these beautiful, colorful faces, all glowing with pride and joy; beaming with the optimism from the limitless potential of their children, the camera operator captured the best of what we can experience in this life. Then suddenly that joy fades into a haze of uncertainty and confusion; ultimately morphing into the horror and the worst of what we face in the human experience.”
Sharp continues, “The song itself primarily focuses on the moments before the launch and that is why the music and melody have a more optimistic tone than what you expect from something associated with and inspired by such a devasting tragedy. In these moments, I was solely thinking about the great pride the mothers and fathers of the astronauts must have been feeling, just prior to lift-off and the equally, prideful rush the astronauts themselves might have experienced as they shared this monumental moment with their families and the rest of the world.”