In The Groove With Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

The famed astrophysicist talks the tunes that take him back to childhood, college and why blues are good for any occasion.

Click the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. CultureShift airs weekdays from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit Public Radio

In The Groove is CultureShift’s award-winning series that talks to creatives from all walks of life about the music that means the most to them.

On this edition of In The Groove, WDET’s Jake Neher speaks with astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.


Song #1: “Oh Happy Day” 

When he was a child, Tyson remembers listening to “Oh Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

“My mother… had to leave me at home. She had to go out and run an errand,” he recalls. “I was a little too young to be left alone, but she knew I liked that song. She put me on the couch, and she put on the album and said, ‘When ‘Oh Happy Day’ comes up, count how many times they say ‘Oh, Happy Day.’”


Song #2: “Diary”  

The song “Diary” by Bread had a profound impact on Tyson when he was in college.

In the song, “a guy sings about his love and reads about himself in her diary. He reads all about himself and he confronts her with it. By the end of the song, he figures out that it’s not about him. She had found someone else. Knowing that it was no longer about him completely changed the entire meaning of the song,” says Tyson.


Song #3: The Blues 

Tyson says his favorite genre is the blues.

“My favorite blues artist is Buddy Guy and one of his albums is Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues. What intrigues me is how a song that is about something sad can actually bring you happiness. Blues as a genre is the most potent as a musical form to reach, and explore, whatever my emotional state is at the time.”

Tyson will speaking at the Fox Theater on Monday, May 20th at 7:30pm.

Click on the audio player above to hear astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson talk about the music that made him the person he is today as part of CultureShift’s award-winning series, In The Groove. 


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