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A Special Tune Marked Apollo 11

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And to close the show, here is a bit of forgotten moon landing history. Fifty years ago, as televisions around the world were tuning into the lunar landing, ABC News had a smart idea about how to fill some of that anticipation time.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: It does seem appropriate that as man is about to set foot on the moon for the first time in the history of mankind that we should honor this event and celebrate it with music.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: They asked one of America's greatest composers to write and perform an original piece of music to mark the moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: And here in ABC Space Headquarters is the Honorable Dr. Edward Kennedy Duke Ellington.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Duke Ellington appeared in the studio at the piano, dressed in a flaming-red sports jacket over a bright-white shirt accompanied by guitar and drums.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DUKE ELLINGTON: I'm very much honored and pleased to be invited here today to help celebrate this great occasion. Matter of fact, I'm so inspired that I think I shall attempt to make my debut as a vocalist with "Moon Maiden." How about that? (Singing) Moon Maiden. Way out there in the blue. Moon Maiden. Got to get with you. I made my approach...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was Duke Ellington singing "Moon Maiden" 50 years ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ELLINGTON: (Singing) Moon Maiden. Listen here, my dear. Your vibrations are coming in loud and clear...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What an incredible moment. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.