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LISTENING IN: Chris de Burgh’s unusual Christmas story

It had never clicked with me that Chris de Burgh’s ballad “A Spaceman Came Travelling” actually qualifies as one of the most unlikely Christmas songs ever, based on the premise that it was an extra-terrestrial visitor who inspired the nativity story. However, far from gimmicky, the song – inspired by the novel “Chariot of the Gods” – is simply one of British-Irish singer-songwriter’s most beautiful, even amongst a long list of exquisite offerings.

Released in 1975 on the classic “Spanish Train” album, the song fits seamlessly into a canon that thrived on similarly inventive subject matter, such as a first-person accounting of the Crusades, a journey across the River Styx, hunkering down in a hurricane, beloved strippers (as in Patricia, the…), and, not least, the Devil and Christ playing poker for souls on a Spanish train in the dead of night (and guess who lost?).

Later he did settle into more traditional territory, like the mammoth hit, “The Lady in Red,” in 1986.

This version of ‘Spaceman’ comes a German TV show in 2018 with a set that amplifies the Christmas spirit, though the song’s message of “peace and goodwill… for mankind to hear” is certainly universal and ensures that this unusual song is not season-sensitive, and suited to any time of year.

Listen and watch HERE.


A spaceman came travelling on his ship from afar,
‘Twas light years of time since his mission did start,
And over a village he halted his craft,
And it hung in the sky like a star, just like a star

He followed a light and came down to a shed,
Where a mother and child were lying there on a bed,
A bright light of silver shone round his head,
And he had the face of an angel, and they were afraid

Then the stranger spoke, he said “Do not fear,
I come from a planet a long way from here,
And I bring a message for mankind to hear,”
And suddenly the sweetest music filled the air

And it went La La
Peace and goodwill to all men, and love for the child

This lovely music went trembling through the ground,
And many were wakened on hearing that sound,
And travellers on the road, the village they found,
By the light of that ship in the sky, which shone all round

And just before dawn at the paling of the sky,
The stranger returned and said “Now I must fly,
When two thousand years of your time has gone by,
This song will begin once again, to a baby’s cry”

And it went La La
This song will begin once again to a baby’s cry
And it goes La La
Peace and goodwill to all men, and love for the child

Oh the whole world is waiting, waiting to hear the song again,
There are thousands standing on the edge of the world,
And a star is moving somewhere, the time is nearly here,
This song will begin once again, to a baby’s cry

First published at Travel Industry Today

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