He's just one happy guy, suspended on a sunbeam.
It's no secret that musicians have a history of making some strange requests when it comes to touring.
There are more "weird rock star rider" stories than any reasonable person could keep track of. Examples include Van Halen's famous insistence on a bowl of M&Ms with the brown ones removed, or Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor's request that every venue provide him with two boxes of corn starch.
In Van Halen's case, the rider item was placed in there as a way to test whether concert promoters read the contract. For others? Who knows.
Pharrell Williams' rider might have the most interesting line item yet.
The request? A framed photo of Carl Sagan.
The Smoking Gun obtained a copy of the "Happy" singer's rider and noted that buried among items like "1 Litre bottle of Kettle One Vodka" and "1 loaf of Gluten free bread" was a request for a framed photo of the famed astronomer.
Is this a Van Halen-like test of the venue promoter's contract-reading skills? No, Williams actually just really likes Sagan.
While the request for Sagan's photo isn't anything new, to those not familiar with his work, it's kind of a strange request.
The perfect rider...candy, Pedialyte and Carl Sagan.
A photo posted by Pharrell Williams (@pharrell) on
When he appeared on "TODAY" as part of their summer concert series last year, Williams commented on his admiration for Sagan's work.
“I watched 'Cosmos' as a child and I was always blown away by [Sagan's] mind and the way he thought. When I look at that picture I realize how lucky we all are ... to be on this planet and be able to do what we love to do every day. Seeing Carl's face reminds me of it."
— Pharrell Williams
He's got a great point. Listening to Sagan — who you might know best for the series "Cosmos" or for "Pale Blue Dot" — gives you a little perspective on just how big the universe is and how tiny of a role we play.
Listening to Sagan, feeling so small has never felt so great.
Before Bill Nye was a "science guy," and before Neil deGrasse Tyson became the cosmologist who could make even the most complicated issues accessible to a wide audience, there was Carl Sagan.
In "Cosmos," his 1980 PBS series, Sagan explained everything from the Big Bang and evolution to comets and the search for extraterrestrial life.
Before he died of pneumonia in 1996, Sagan's work helped inspire a future generation of scientists and thinkers.
Last year, deGrasse Tyson helped reboot "Cosmos." During the first episode, he told the story of how in 1975 Sagan tried to recruit him to study at Cornell University. He eventually chose to attend Harvard University, but he noted that while he was already sure that he wanted to be an astronomer, "I learned from Carl the kind of person I wanted to be."
And in a weird-but-not-really sort of way, it's understandable that a framed reminder of just how small we are as individuals in the universe might appeal to someone with as much fame, fortune, and success as Pharrell Williams.
Carl Sagan is a treasure, and seeing his work live on in tour riders and pop culture is so cool.
Because while we may be just mere specks on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam, it's powerful to see that it is possible to leave a lasting mark long after we've left this pale blue dot.