Keep the Dream Alive

© 1986, 2003 Stephen Savitzky. CC-by-nc-sa.

Written in 1986 shortly after the Challenger blew up on takeoff. Revised, unfortunately, for Columbia in 2003.


[ogg] [mp3]

Lyrics [pdf] [txt] [cho]

  In the year of Nineteen Eighty  Six,
C Em
On an  icy winter's  day
The shuttle Challenger  left the pad
Em Am
And  started on her  way
The  shuttle Challenger lifted  off
C Em
With s even brave women and m en
In flames they died just t en miles high,
Em Am
And  never came home ag ain.
N ever came home  again,
In fl ames they died just ten miles h igh
Em Am
And n ever came home  again.
And seventeen years later
Nearly forty miles high,
Columbia's wreckage wrote a line
Of fire across the sky
But long before the jetstream blew
Her trail of smoke away
We saw that it marked a highway
We would travel again some day.

So never say that they died in vain
Nor stay on the ground afraid,
The stars are one step closer now
Because of the price we've paid.
And mourn for the shuttles that fly no more,
And weep for the friends we've lost,
But to leave the Earth will still be worth
Whatever it has to cost.

And fire no guns in last salute
But let the rockets roar,
And reach for the wide and starry sky
As Challenger did before.
And raise no earthbound slab of stone,
To mark the place they lie,
But write their names with a shuttle's flames,
Ten miles in the sky.

And here's a toast to the shuttle crews
Who died for the dream of space
And all the pioneers who have
The sky for a resting place.
No grave nor tombstone do they need,
For their memory will survive
As long as we fly beyond the sky
And keep the dream alive.
Keep the dream alive,
As long as we fly beyond the sky
And keep the dream alive.

Keep the dream alive,
Let the shuttles fly beyond the sky
And keep the dream alive.

Note: Permission is hereby given to record, reproduce, and publish this song, provided you notify the author and send the usual mechanical license fees to a space-related charity, for example the Space Shuttle Children's Fund.

Watch this space: I intend to put up a lead sheet and recording as soon as I can get them together. Meanwhile, a very inadequate (low-resolution scan of a second-generation copy of a hastily-pencilled, inexpertly-transcribed) lead sheet can be found here. Don't say I didn't warn you.