Whitby musician writes song to mark Yuri Gagarin's historic flight into space

A Whitby musician has written a song to mark the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man to journey into space.

By Duncan Atkins
Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:54 am

Julian Plested appeared on Russian prime time TV news performing the song in tribute to one of his childhood heroes.

In April 1961, Gagarin made the first manned flight into space. Julian said he and his mum were fascinated.

She collected as much as she could about Yuri, his life, and his historic Vostok 1 flight, which opened a path for human exploration of space.

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Julian Plested

Julian, who lives on The Avenue,Ruswarp, told the Gazette: “We read papers and magazines and listened to the radio together.

“That childhood fascination stayed with me.

“In my teens and early adulthood I was a keen singer-songwriter.

"Then I suffered an accident to my right hand and did not play the guitar again for many decades.

Julz & The Cosmic 5

“My songs were forgotten, but I began to remember them when I returned to the family home to care for my father, six years ago.

“I recalled that that there had been a song about Yuri Gagarin which I had written after spending time in the USSR, as a student in the 1970s.

“I was motivated to take up the guitar again, learning to play using a different technique. I reconstructed many songs from memory, including ‘Yuri’.”

The song describes the Russian cosmonaut, his remarkable flight and his early death.

“However, there is a happier note,” said Julian.

“Two years after Yuri’s flight, the first woman entered the cosmos – Valentina Tereshkova (Valya).

“A chorus towards the end of the song pays tribute to her too.

"There is a final a cappella chorus to Yuri in Russian.

“The song was rehearsed and recorded very quickly between lockdowns, with a band of excellent musicians [Julz & the Cosmic 5], put together for the purpose.

“The recently completed video contains historic footage of Yuri, plus photos of me, Julz, and the band.

“It has been on prime time news in Russia.”

The original music video and Julz’s appearance on Russian TV are both available to view onYouTube.