A Spaceman Came Travelling

A Spaceman Came Travelling

Written by Chris de Burgh in 1975, “A Spaceman Came Travelling” topped the Irish charts a year after it was released. But it wasn’t until 1986 with De Burgh’s success of “The Lady in Red” that the UK took notice and it reached the top charts there, too.

The idea for the song came to de Burgh when he had just signed his first recording contract, and he read Chariots of the Gods? by Erich von Däniken. The book made him think “what if the star of Bethlehem was a space craft and what if there is a benevolent being or entity in the universe keeping an eye on the world and our foolish things that we do to each other?” De Burgh also drew inspiration from William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming,” and in the song he tells a story of the birth of Christ being a recurring 2000-year event heralded by an intergalactic visitor.

The song has been covered many times, including versions by Icelandic pop singer Páll Óskar in 2003, the choral group Gregorian in 2006, and an upbeat version by Celtic Woman in 2010, the same year Chris de Burgh himself released his own reimagining of the song.

Lyrics

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 travelers 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…

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