Spaceman (Babylon Zoo song)

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"Spaceman"
Babylon-Zoo-Spaceman.jpg
Single by Babylon Zoo
from the album The Boy with the X-Ray Eyes
B-side "Blue Nude"
"Metal Vision"
"5th Dimension Remix"
"E Before I Remix"
Released 15 January 1996
Format CD, Cassette, 12"
Recorded 1995
Genre Space rock, alternative rock
Length 5:41 (album version)
Label EMI
Songwriter(s) Jas Mann
Producer(s) Jas Mann
Steve Power
Arthur Baker
Babylon Zoo singles chronology
"Spaceman"
(1996)
"Animal Army"
(1996)
"Spaceman"
(1995)
"Animal Army"
(1996)

"Spaceman" is a song by the English rock band Babylon Zoo, released in January 1996 as the lead single from their debut album, The Boy with the X-Ray Eyes (1996). Featuring heavily distorted guitars and metallic, robotic sounding vocals, it entered the UK Singles Chart at number one on 21 January 1996, after being featured in a popular Levi's jeans television advertisement in December 1995, and became the fastest selling single in the United Kingdom in over 30 years, since "Can't Buy Me Love" by The Beatles.

"Spaceman" was the seventh song to reach number one in the UK after being featured in an advert for Levi's.[1]

Song history[edit]

Promotional copies of "Spaceman" had been distributed, and the Arthur Baker remix was chosen to tie in with the release on 1 December 1995, of a new United Kingdom Levi's advertisement titled "Planet", which was directed by Vaughan Arnell and Anthea Benton.[2] The advertisement concentrated on Baker's speeded-up vocal section at the beginning and end of the song, featuring an alien neighbourhood inspired on the 50's years with an alien parents waiting the comeback of their teen daughter. Russian model Kristina Semenovskaya played the daughter, wearing Levi's jeans.[3][4]

The initial intro to "Spaceman" on the promotional copies, before it was used for the advert, featured Mann's whispering vocals of "I killed your mother, I killed your sister, I killed you all."[3] These lyrics were later taken out of the song and replaced with the more radio friendly Arthur Baker introduction; although, the "I killed you all" lyric is still buried in there. There was a lower budget video made for this version.[citation needed]

In 2006, "Spaceman" featured on trailers for Ant and Dec's film Alien Autopsy, the BBC's children's channel, CBeebies for the animated preschool series Lunar Jim, and Network Ten's advertisement for Battlestar Galactica. "Spaceman" is also used in Eesti otsib superstaari (Pop Idol Estonia). "Spaceman" is also featured in E4's My Mad Fat Diary, in the episode "Ladies and Gentlemen", during the scene where Rae and Finn begin their drive to Knebworth.[citation needed]

Music video[edit]

Following the release of the single, was produced a music video. It features a black-and-white prologue with Jas Mann as a night driver who has a close encounter of the third kind with an aliens appearing from a fog on the road, meanwhile the vocals are in speed-up. When vocals decelerates and turns normal, video alternates the band playing on an underground place full of young people dancing with the band playing alone on a blue-colored desert landscape, with Mann singing to camera. Finally vocals speed-up again, on a black-and-white epilogue where aliens go away missing in the fog, but one of them turns front of the camera pointing the night sky, showing in a brief shining that he's the night driver, turned himself in another alien.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Writing in Select, Ian Harrison described the song as a "bin-lid dancey metal effort with a weakness for vintage Bowie-isms (done like Bauhaus with synths) and a suspected humour deficiency".[6] Conversely, Chuck Eddy at Entertainment Weekly described the song's "futuristic kitsch" as "both funny and seductive."[7]

Retrospectively, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic called the song a "bizarre, tuneless collage of hip-hop rhythms, techno keyboards and alternative guitars", that despite sounding distinctive, lacks "any tangible hook to make it memorable".[8] A Scotsman journalist wrote that the Arthur Baker remix, which brought the track to public attention through its use in a Levi's commercial, was "much more fun to listen to than the dirgey original".[9] Writer Tim Moore attributed the "rambling, dirge-like" song's success to the Baker remix and Levi's advert exposure, and wrote that "only failure and embarrassment" followed.[10]

MTV UK ranked "Spaceman" as the #24 single of the 1990s.[11] "Spaceman" was voted number 31 in a 2006 Channel 4 poll of the 50 best songs by one-hit wonders.[12]

Commercial performance[edit]

The single charted at No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart,[13] selling 420,000 copies in its first week.[14][15] It became the fastest selling single in the United Kingdom in over thirty years, since The Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love".[16] "Spaceman" became a number one chart hit in 23 countries, including the United Kingdom.[17] As of November 2012, "Spaceman" was the 74th best selling single in the history of the United Kingdom, selling 1.14 million copies.[18]

Cover versions[edit]

Track listing[edit]

CD Promo Single 1995 WEA (YZ925CDDJ)
  1. "Spaceman" (radio version) — 3:50
  2. "Spaceman" (Arthur meets the spaceman) — 5:56
CD Promo 1995 EMI (CDEMDJ 416)
  1. "Spaceman" (zupervarian mix) - 3:50
7" Single
  1. "Spaceman" (zupervarian mix) - 3:50
  2. "Spaceman" (the 5th dimension) — 5:09
CD Single 1996 EMI (CDEM 416)
  1. "Spaceman" (zupervarian mix) — 3:50
  2. "Metal Vision" — 3:48
  3. "Blue Nude" — 2:09
  4. "Spaceman" (the 5th dimension) — 5:09
CD Single ('The Only Original Remixes') 1996 EMI (7243 8 82721 2 4)
  1. "Spaceman" (zupervarian mix) — 3:50
  2. "Spaceman" (the 5th dimension) — 5:09
  3. "Spaceman" (Arthur meets the spaceman) — 5:56
  4. "Spaceman" (E before I) — 6:37

Charts[edit]

Chart successions[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
"Jesus to a Child" by George Michael
Irish IRMA number-one single
13 January 1996 – 10 February 1996 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Don't Look Back in Anger" by Oasis
UK Singles Chart number-one single
21 January 1996 – 24 February 1996
Preceded by
"Gangsta's paradise" by Coolio
Swedish number-one single
26 January 1996 – 15 March 1996 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"One of Us" by Joan Osborne
Preceded by
"Jesus to a Child" by George Michael
Finnish number-one single
5/1996 - 9/1996 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Born in Africa" by Dr. Alban
Preceded by
"Missing (Todd Terry remix)" by Everything but the Girl
German number-one single
16 February 1996 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Lemon Tree" by Fool's Garden
Preceded by
"Knockin'" by Double Vision
Belgian (Flanders) number-one single
17 February 1996 – 24 February 1996 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Con te partirò" by Andrea Bocelli
Preceded by
"Gangsta's paradise" by Coolio
Ö3 Austria Top 40 number-one single
18 February 1996 – 10 March 1996 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Lemon Tree" by Fool's Garden
Eurochart Hot 100 number-one single
24 February 1996 – 16 March 1996 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Children" by Robert Miles
Belgian (Wallonia) number-one single
9 March 1996 – 16 March 1996 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Children" by Robert Miles
French SNEP number-one single
9 March 1996 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Soirée disco" by Boris

References[edit]

  1. ^ "I was a sex symbol the moment I popped out of the womb". Daily Record. The Free Library. 23 January 1996. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Rock of Ages". Liverpool Echo Archived at The Free Library. 23 January 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Sloan, Nicola (6 January 2013). "Babylon Zoo". morethanthemusic.co.uk. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Spaceman Levi's Commercial on Youtube
  5. ^ Babylon Zoo - Spaceman video on Youtube
  6. ^ Harrison, Ian (February 1996). "New Albums". Select. p. 89. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Eddy, Chuck (12 April 1996). "Music Review - Spaceman (1996)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  8. ^ The Boy with the X-Ray Eyes review. AllMusic.
  9. ^ "What's happened to Babylon Zoo?". The Scotsman. The Scotsman Publications. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  10. ^ Moore, Tim (2012). You are Awful (but I Like You): Travels Through Unloved Britain. Vintage. pp. 157–158. ISBN 0-224-09011-9. 
  11. ^ The Official Top 100 Singles of The 90's
  12. ^ "50 Greatest One Hit Wonders". 100 Greatest. 7 May 2006. Channel 4. Channel Four Television Corporation. 
  13. ^ a b "Official Charts: Babylon Zoo - Singles". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "For The Record". The Mirror Archived at The Free Library. 20 March 2002. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Entertainment - Will Blur spear Britney?". BBC. 22 February 1999. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  16. ^ Krewen, Nick (23 May 1996). "The keeper of Babylon Zoo". Toronto Star. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Babylon Zoo". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". The Guardian. 4 November 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "My week: Katie Melua". The Daily Telegraph. 4 February 2006
  20. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Babylon Zoo – Spaceman". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  21. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Babylon Zoo – Spaceman" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Babylon Zoo – Spaceman" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  23. ^ "Ultratop.be – Babylon Zoo – Spaceman" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  24. ^ Canadian alternative peak
  25. ^ "Hits of the World: Denmark (IFPI/Nielsen Marketing Research)". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 108 (13): 55. 30 March 1996. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  26. ^ "Babylon Zoo: Spaceman" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  27. ^ "Lescharts.com – Babylon Zoo – Spaceman" (in French). Les classement single.
  28. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Babylon Zoo – Spaceman". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  29. ^ Irish Singles Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved 5 January 2009)
  30. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: B". Hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  31. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Babylon Zoo" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  32. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Babylon Zoo – Spaceman". Top 40 Singles.
  33. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Babylon Zoo – Spaceman". VG-lista.
  34. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Babylon Zoo – Spaceman". Singles Top 100.
  35. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Babylon Zoo – Spaceman". Swiss Singles Chart.
  36. ^ "1996 Australian Singles Chart". aria. Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  37. ^ "1996 Austrian Singles Chart" (in German). Austriancharts. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  38. ^ "1996 Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  39. ^ "1996 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  40. ^ "Single top 100 over 1996" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  41. ^ "1996 French Singles Chart" (in French). Disqueenfrance. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  42. ^ "End of Year Charts 1996". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 3, 2017. 
  43. ^ "1996 Swiss Singles Chart" (in German). Swisscharts. Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  44. ^ "1996 UK Singles Chart". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  45. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles 1996". The Australian Record Industry Association Ltd. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  46. ^ Austrian certifications ifpi.at Archived 11 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved 5 January 2009)
  47. ^ French certifications Disqueenfrance.com Archived 14 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved 5 January 2009)
  48. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Spaceman')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 5 January 2009. 
  49. ^ Swedish certifications Ifpi.se Archived 11 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved 5 January 2009)
  50. ^ UK certifications Bpi.co.uk Archived 13 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved 5 January 2009)
  51. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 

External links[edit]