In one of the more poignant moments of the film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the HAL 9000 computer sings the song “Daisy Bell” (A Bicycle Built for Two) in the final moments of its consciousness. Why was this song chosen? The use of this song was among the many inside jokes for computer nerds in the movie audience.
In 1961, “2001” author Arthur C. Clarke attended a computer music demonstration at Bell Labs using Max Mathews’ pioneering MUSIC program. Mathews, who just turned 82 years old this month, is still professor of Music Research at Stanford University. At his 80th birthday bash, Mathews gave an encore performance of a computer generated “Daisy Bell.”
Hat tip: Ed Borasky. And Elias says that it was also used by Alexander Graham Bell to demonstrate the telephone (although Daisy Bell was written nearly 20 years after Bell patented his “Improvement in Telegraphy.”) Does anybody have evidence of other early technology demonstrated with this song?
Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do
I’m half crazy all for the love of you
It won’t be a stylish marriage
I can’t afford a carriage
But you’ll look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two
We will go tandem as man and wife
Wheeling away down the road of life
I and my Daisy Bell
When the nights dark, we can both despise
Policemen and lamps as well
There are bright lights in the dazzling eyes
Of beautiful Daisy Bell