JM Jarre with lazer beams performing Rendez-Vous
Rendez-Vous is an album of instrumental electronic music composed and produced by Jean Michel Jarre, and released on Disques Dreyfus, licensed to Polydor, in 1986. It is his fifth overall studio album. It sold some three million copies worldwide and remains Jarre’s longest-running chart album in both the USA and UK, with a 20 week run in the U.S. and an impressive 38 week run in the UK. The last track on the album was supposed to have the saxophone part played in outer space by astronaut Ron McNair, but on January 28, 1986 he and the entire Space Shuttle Challenger crew were killed 73 seconds after lift-off when the shuttle disintegrated. In memory, this piece was dedicated to him. On the album the saxophone part is played by saxophonist Pierre Gossez. The album reached #9 in the UK charts and #52 in the U.S. charts.
In April 1986, Jarre performed the large-scale outdoor concert Rendez-vous Houston in Houston, Texas, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of Texas, and the 25th anniversary of NASA. The show attracted a then-world record live audience of 1.3 million people. Originally, the track Last Rendez Vous was due to be played by saxophonist astronaut Ron McNair via a live link with the Challenger space shuttle. However, after the Challenger disaster, the concert became a part-tribute to the lost astronauts.
Jean Michel returned to the stage in October for another concert, the Rendez-Vous Lyon, marking the Pope John Paul II visit to Jarre’s hometown.