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Soundtrack to a book? It might just work...

Moondust is the story of the twelve men who set foot on the Moon - and it's a bloody good read! Author, Andrew Smith has put together an album that reflects the time of the Moon landings and it seems like it could just make for a great selection of songs.


Released to mark the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing this July


Released July 6, 2009 through Heavenly / Virgin


In summer 2002, journalist Andrew Smith (The Face, Observer) set out to find the men who’d walked on the Moon. Only 12 had ever set down on the surface, between the summer of ‘69 – about three weeks before Woodstock – and end of ’72, and no one had left Earth orbit since.

A chance encounter with one of the Moonwalkers changed all that. Smith found himself hearing about breakdowns, religious epiphanies and retreats into stony silence. The impossible-seeming feat had been executed with less computing power than the mobile phone, and held the entire world rapt. Smith wondered how the men who’d enjoyed what Norman Mailer described as ‘this surreal adventure’ felt now, and what had become of them.

With this in mind, he set out to find the Moonmen, and his search became the book Moondust, which was nominated for two British Book Awards in 2006 and remained in the top ten of the Sunday Times best-sellers list for four straight months, a rare feat for non-fiction.


One of the first things to strike Smith was the way music intersected the story at every turn. It swirled around the politics which gave rise to the Space Race, the people who conducted it (the average age of Mission Control staff was 26) and the astronauts themselves, who were allowed to take a cassette of their own music. The closer Smith looked, the more he came to see the lunar adventure and the counterculture as flip sides of the same coin: America’s parallel routes to getting high in an era defined by hope and chaos in equal measure.

Like the book, the album focuses on three distinct but related journeys – the Moonwalkers’ space odyssey, the quest to find them, and America’s passage through the Space Age years from ‘57 to ‘73. Each was touched by music in a different way, as specially-written sleeve-notes – which effectively function as a musical appendix to the book – make plain.

More than anything, though, the aim was to make a great album. The tracklist has been chosen by the author, who began his career as a music journalist at Melody Maker and spent three years as the Sunday Times’ chief rock critic. It includes artists who granted special permission for their work to be used (including David Bowie and Ringo Starr) and one by Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty, who has never allowed any of his songs to be used before. Dreamily mixed by Richard Norris (Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve / The Time & Space Machine), Moondust is a different kind of trip for readers and non-readers alike.

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