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Global Comment Advent Calendar 2: “A Spaceman Came Travelling” by Chris de Burgh

In the spirit of advent surprise and joy (with extra emphasis on the surprise), today’s Global Comment advent calendar spot goes to a more obscure song selection: A Spaceman Came Travelling by Chris de Burgh. Now, this is one of those Christmas songs that a lot of people have never heard of, maybe because it doesn’t get a lot of radio play. However, it’s the only Christmas song I know of which manages to involve aliens and a spaceship AND manages to use the word “twas” with a straight face. Who knew that the Angel Gabriel was in fact an alien from another planet, and that the North Star was his space ship?! I really wish the writers of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had checked in with Chris De Burgh before finishing their script – he would have set them straight on how to make it all plausible and saved them from making the most disappointing childhood franchise sequel of all time.

Happily for those of you not yet familiar with this particular Christmas masterpiece the chorus, which consists of the words la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la, is conveniently easy to remember, and for some reason every time this song comes on my dog wakes up from his semi-permanent slumber and listens intently. Perhaps the aliens planted some kind of specially pitched harmonies in the background which only dogs can hear?

Originally released in 1976, it actually didn’t chart in the UK until after the success of ‘Lady In Red’ ten years later when it was re-released and has no doubt been a steady Christmas earner for Chris ever since.

This song is especially good for singing along to theatrical style. Your dog will love you for it, I promise.

Bonus points for:

Making the Angel Gabriel into an alien with a huge shiny spaceship
Serious use of the word ’twas
Being my dog’s favourite song

Tune in for tomorrow’s selection… will it be an old classic, or a modern pop favourite?

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