It's hardly the weirdest musician rider request ever — Van Halen famously demanded a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown candies removed and Mariah Carey wanted 20 kittens and 100 doves for unspecified purposes — but Pharrell Williams has entered pop star folklore with his latest tour's list of requirements. The "Happy" singer reportedly requests a photograph of dearly departed astronomer Carl Sagan in his dressing room, alongside specific brands of vodka, tequila, and grass-fed beef.
Pharrell has spoken many times of his admiration for Sagan. In an interview with The Today Show, Williams said he became obsessed with the astronomer after watching Cosmos as a child, describing himself as "blown away and enamored" by the way Sagan thought. In 2008, after legendary Canadian interviewer Nardwuar gave Williams a gatefold record of Sagan's Music of the Cosmos, the musician said "I can only aspire to be someone that people learn as much from as they learned from Carl Sagan. Carl Sagan is to me what A Tribe Called Quest was to [N*E*R*D] for music."
Sagan's picture has apparently made multiple appearances in Williams' dressing room. The singer snapped one such picture and uploaded it to Instagram two years ago with the caption "the perfect rider," but took the step of codifying the request for his most recent 2015 tour, the rider documents of which were obtained by The Smoking Gun. Just in case careless promoters aren't reading the lengthy document — which also includes requests for fish dishes cooked "preferably in a pan" — it repeats the request for a picture of Sagan a second time.