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Joe said in an interview in 2011 that the song was inspired by the BBC TV series Tomorrow's World which he used to watch as a child. It reported on the latest developments in science and technology.
"D'you remember that rocket they blasted into God know where ... with the pictures for someone to find, with chemical symbols saying Hi how you doin' to the folks out there ... they put the Bach music in ..."
The US space probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 launched by NASA in 1977 both carry a golden record with sounds and pictures from Earth, messages to distant civilisations that might find them.Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), German composer whose music epitomises the Baroque polyphonic style.
"... in a squat on the Earls Court Road ..."
The Earls Court Road is an important thoroughfare in London.
"... drinking tea in a King's Cross caff ..."
King's Cross is the area around one of London's busiest railway stations. (A "caff" is colloquial for a café.)
The title refers both to the Acropolis in Athens and the film "Apocalypse Now" (1979) by Francis Ford Coppola.
"And they say that Johnny's ghost walks 'round in Memphis ..."
In Memphis, Tennessee, Elvis Presley died in 1977.
"all think they're Superman, but they can't even fly ..."
Comic-strip hero Superman created 1938 in the US by writer Jerome Siegel and artist Joseph Shuster who is able to fly.
Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), US president from 1981-89, once referred to the Soviet Union as the "evil empire". In a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals on 8 March 1983 he said: "So in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation ... to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire."
Joe's song, though, is intentionally ambivalent about what the "evil empire" is.