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How are music superstars Lenny Kravitz and Bette Midler enemies of science?
Both Midler and Kravitz recorded very popular songs that make casual reference to basic scientific phenomena…and both got their facts completely wrong. Really!
In 1998, Kravitz released “Fly Away,” which went to #1 on the rock chart in the U.S. and around the world. At the beginning of the second verse, he sings, “Let’s go and see the stars / the Milky Way / or even Mars.” This is incorrect, as he seems to be describing things that are farther and farther away, topping each previous example. Except that those three things are progressively closer to each other. Distant stars are the farthest away, then our own Milky Way galaxy, and then Mars, our neighboring planet.
Midler’s 1988 ballad “Wind Beneath My Wings” was featured in the movie Beaches, won the Grammy for Song of the Year, and topped the charts. The sentiment of the song is simple: the singer thanks a friend for always supporting her, for helping her metaphorically fly—the “wind beneath her wings.” The problem is that this is not how flight works. For the song’s narrator to “fly higher than an eagle”—or at all—wind would have to be moving above the wings, not below it. But it’s okay, Bette Midler…telling someone you’re the “wind beneath their wings” sounds like a completely different kind of wind…
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