“Spaceman” (1981)

One night in 1981, I stumbled across this wonderful crossover rock/reggae tune from Sweden on the radio, “Space Man” by Babatunde Tony Ellis, with its wobbly fat bass line and the wonderfully modern guitar solo towards the end. I had made it a weekly routine to tape a radio show (I can’t recall the station’s/show’s name) that introduced listeners to all sorts of tunes that hardly ever appeared on air or had just been released to some acclaim. At the time, I guess, one would have called it an “alternative” radio station. After many years of searching for a digital copy of this single track, I resorted to downloading the 480p LP rip available on youtube and converting it to *.flac.

At the time, I was living with this wonderful elderly Finnish lady, Mrs. Britta Posen Rassmussen, out in Hellerup, still within Copenhagen’s city limits. My parents had left Denmark for Venezuela and I completed the last half year of my time in Denmark at her place.

She was an educated and widely-traveled lady with interests in just about everything, but the music I was listening to didn’t quite jell with her. That wasn’t really surprising because bands like Mötorhead, Judas Priest or The Police and Joe Jackson had never managed to make it onto her timeline.

She had problems walking at times and had to fight to get up the stairs to her bedroom on bad days, but one fine summer day, when I was blasting “Spaceman” through the house because I thought she was out and about, the door to my room suddenly opened after a loud knock and she came dancing into the room, yelling above the din: “I like THAT!”

She was a great lady, quirks and all. I lost touch with her after I moved back to Germany and at some point someone told me she had quietly passed away. I have very fond memories of her and our long evening talks, when her face lit up and her fascinating life unrolled before my eyes. Whenever I listen to “Spaceman”, those fond memories resurface.

Lyrics snippet:

Roots man, Roots man, where do you come from?
Roots man, Roots man, where do you come from?

I wasn’t born in no lunar orbit no – no, no, no!
My forefather was born in no space ship no – no, no, no!
Yet you treat I like I come from Mars
I want to know why
when I and I man born right ya so
when I and I man born right ya so
when I and I man born right ya so

Mister Space man, Space man, where do you come from?
Space man, Space man, where do you come from?

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and deus62.com is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

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