The Bonzo Dog Band

I'm the Urban Spaceman

Song Review by

"I'm the Urban Spaceman" is by far the most famous recording by the Bonzo Dog Band, in their native Britain at least, where it made number five in the late '60s. Actually, as Bonzo Dog Band songs go, "I'm the Urban Spaceman" hardly qualifies among the most outrageous. It was engagingly witty, though, and catchier than most of their tune. The prime instrumental riff sounded as if it was being played on something between an ocarina and a bagpipe. The whimsical singalong melody was an appropriate setting for oh-so-gently psychedelic lyrics. Like much of the Bonzos' work, it was at once both a homage to something (psychedelia) and a satire of it, leaving listeners to wonder if the spaceman in the song was floating on a natural or chemically induced high. The imagery of the title itself, though, was a suitably satiric misnomer, perhaps implying the inherent ridiculousness of city-bound youth in London or wherever determining to explore the cosmos, as many in the counterculture were in the late '60s. The song became almost as famous for its producer as anything else to do with it. Although the production was originally credited to one Apollo C. Vermouth, it soon emerged that it was in fact the work of Paul McCartney of the Beatles. That publicity probably helped the song get as high as it did in the charts, though it had already been in the Top 20 by the time the story leaked.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Urban Spaceman 1969
Tadpoles 1969 One Way Records 0:00
No Image 1970 United Artists Records
The History of the Bonzos 1974 Beat Goes On 2:22
No Image 1984 MFP [U.K.]
The Bestiality of the Bonzo Dog Band 1989 EMI Music Distribution 2:23
The Best of the Bonzo Dog Band 1991 Rhino 0:00
The Bonzo Dog Band [Box Set] 1992 EMI Music Distribution 2:23
Millennium Box Set 1999
Various Artists
Disky 2:23
Dr. Demento 30th Anniversary Collection: Dementia 2000 2000 Rhino 2:21
Complete Collection 2001
Various Artists
Disky 2:23
British Legends 2006
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 2:26
Original Album Series 2015 Parlophone
No Image
Various Artists
EMI 2:23