Stephen Hawking's synthesized speaking voice will be featured on Pink Floyd's new album. The iconic physicist and pop culture icon is being sampled in a new track called "Talkin' Hawkin'" from the band's upcoming album The Endless River.
The new song samples a clip from Hawking's speech in a British commercial in 1994 where he explains civilization. This is not the first time Hawking's synthetic vocals were sampled. Pink Floyd previously used a sample from the same 1994 speech for the song "Keep Talkin'" off their album The Division Bell, released in the same year.
Pink Floyd guitarist, vocalist and songwriter David Gilmour originally decided to feature Hawking's vocals for "Keep Talkin'" after seeing the commercial, which "nearly made [him] weep."
"This was the most powerful piece of television advertising that I've ever seen in my life," Gilmour said. "I don't think he even wrote the words that they used with him, but ... he was in it, in his wheelchair. He looks kind of strange. And I just found it so moving that I felt that I had to try and do something with it, or with him or something, in some way."
A spokesperson for the band says that the new song is not a sequel to the first Hawking track. However, it is reminiscent of The Division Bell days, released in memory of keyboardist Rick Wright who died in 2008.
The Endless River includes 12 new songs that were written or co-written by Wright. To produce it, the band "added new parts, re-recorded others, and generally harnessed studio technology," with the majority of material coming from record sessions with Wright from 1993.
Hawking is known to be a classical music fan, but has seen Pink Floyd perform live. The 72-year-old physicist and cosmologist has also appeared as a hologram in Star Trek: The Next Generation and did voice-over work for cartoon characters of himself for The Simpsons and Futurama.
Pink Floyd's new album will be released on Nov. 10.