The Space Lady: '80s and '90s San Francisco outsider musician returns to Earth

The Space Lady Greatest Hits WEB

UntitledIn San Francisco and Boston during the 1980s and early 1990s, The Space Lady (aka Suzy Soundz) could be found enchanting pedestrians with her astro-Viking helmet and Casiotone-powered pop cover tunes. In 1990 she self-released a cassette and then ten years later, her take on The Electric Prunes' "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" was featured on the excellent weird music compilation "Songs in the Key of Z, Vol. 2: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music." Mostly unheard for a decade, The Space Lady (real name Susan Dietrich) has returned to this planet and is celebrating Night School Records' release of The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits, a collection of her early recordings. The track list includes several originals and a bunch of great covers like "Fly Like An Eagle," "Born To Be Wild," "Ghost Riders In The Sky," and "Major Tom" (listen above.) Digital download available from Amazon or you can buy the CD and pre-order the second pressing of vinyl direct from Night School.

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  1. This is funny, me n some friends (from the Mission) just had a Facebook "remember this" about her last week.
    I saw her perform countless times on Haight St in my teens and 20's (the glorious '80's!). I would ... um ... stand there for ages, listening to her play, giggling all the while, if you catch my drift.

  2. So freaking cool to see my Mom featured on BoingBoing! I'm so glad that she's finally getting some recognition from the sorts of Happy Mutants that followed her during her street-music years (and whose pocket change kept my family afloat).

    Also, FYI: thanks to the awesome people at Night School Records, she's going to be on her first real, official tour in March, including a performance at the Elbo Room in San Francisco (as well as stops in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and L.A).

  3. Festus says:

    Great story, but I remember this wonderful woman in Berkeley more than San Francisco. She livened up the horrible Bank of America building on Telegraph with her great vibes.

  4. ninzo says:

    Amazing how some people can weave a thread in our lives without even knowing it. In the early 1980's I used to see Suzy in the Park Street subway station in Boston. I lived downtown and worked in Newton. I took the train from Park Street to Newton each morning and she was always there. Back then she had only an old, child-size accordian and she only knew one song. It was Take Me Out To The Ball Game. She would spend hours a day on that dingy subway platform beneath the streets of Boston.

    Over the years her repertoir increased, she bought a new, big accordion and got a microphone and amp. Eventually she started wearing the antler hat and she traded in the accordion for a synthesyser. And then suddenly she was gone. I didn't see her any more. Every so often I'd think about her and wonder what had become of her.

    Several years later I was in San Francisco for a business conference and lo and behold I spied her on the sidewalk. It was a surprise and a pleasure to see she was doing so well. About that same time, now the early 1990's, I had a friend who lived in Cambridge. He told me he was purchasing a painting from an artist friend who "only did paintings of street people", and that I was going to love this painting. It was composed of tiny trapezoids, he explained, that when viewed from a distance defined the image of the painting. And so on that certain day I came by to see the newly delivered masterpiece and was again both surprised and amused to discover that Suzy was the subject!

  5. Thank you, Huck -- and as usual, so well put. Might I also mention that The Space Lady would never have re-launched last year had it not been for THE SPACE MANAGER, i.e., ERIC, my biggest fan, best friend, relentlessly determined promoter, and devoted partner/husband!!! <3 <3 <3

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