The Flying Saucer (song)

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"The Flying Saucer"
Single by Buchanan and Goodman
Released July 1956
Format
Genre
Length 4:17
Label
  • Luniverse
Writer(s)
Buchanan and Goodman singles chronology
"The Flying Saucer"
(1956)
"Back to Earth"
(1956)

"The Flying Saucer" (also known as "The Flying Saucer Parts 1 & 2") is a novelty record released by Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman (credited simply as "Buchanan & Goodman") which hit #3 in 1956. The song is considered to be an early (perhaps the earliest) example of a mashup, featuring segments of popular songs intertwined with spoken "news" commentary to tell the story of a visit from a flying saucer.

Bill Buchanan plays the radio announcer, stating that the spacemen are attacking Earth. Dickie Goodman plays reporter John Cameron-Cameron (a play on the broadcaster John Cameron Swayze). Goodman would re-visit this character in several other 'Flying Saucer' records.

Structure[edit]

The song uses clips from 17 different songs, each of which was a top 20 hit in 1955 or 1956. In order of occurrence:

  1. Side One
  2. Side Two

Release and reception[edit]

"The Flying Saucer" reached position 3 in the Billboard rankings for 1956.

Some original copies have a handwritten "L" at the beginning of the original label name "Universe" (pronounced Looney-verse) as the result of a Universe label already in existence at the time. Most copies show the entire word "Luniverse" typeset.

An edited version of "The Flying Saucer" for the 1983 "Greatest Hits" and 1997 "Greatest Fables" compilations feature fake re-recorded clips of "Tutti Frutti" and "Band Of Gold". The segments for "Long Tall Sally" and "The Magic Touch" were completely removed.

The record also contains an early, deliberate backward secret message in part two. The alien message in their own language plays as "caution, secretary of defense" when played backward.

The entire record was immediately covered by Sid Noel and his Outer Spacemen (Aladdin 3331—7/56) and again in a shorter form, by Alan Freed, Al "Jazzbo" Collins and Steve Allen ("The Space Man"—Coral 9-61693—1956), and again in 1960 by Geddins & Sons ("Space Man"—Jumpin' 50001—1960), and again in the late `50's, but with lots of variants from the original, by Dewey, George & Jack And The Belltones ("Flying Saucers Have Landed"—Raven 700).

There was even an answer record made about it, another break-in called, "The Answer To The Flying Saucer U. F. O. (Men From Mars)" by Syd Lawrence and Friends—Cosmic 1001/1002—1956, which teased Buchanan & Goodman by daring them, on the record, to sue the artist for copying their style. That dare poked fun at the fact that the record was controversial from the moment it hit the shelves. Its wide use of "sampling" prompted music publishers to file suit against Buchanan and Goodman in July (1956). The two men were verbally attacked by record companies, too, with an anonymous source telling Billboard, "If we can't stop this nothing is safe in our business."[1] While "The Flying Saucer" was not the first record to quote from famous songs (see "Cool Whalin'" by Babs Gonzales), it was the first popular record to sample directly from the records themselves. The comedians made fun of their own predicament by issuing a follow-up song, "Buchanan and Goodman on Trial" (Luniverse 102). By November, 1956, the novelty song had stood up in court, being labeled as artful and clever. A judge refused to issue an injunction prohibiting the sales of the record.[2] Essentially, the record was considered a new work. This made it legal for artists to sample existing records—a practice that became very popular in subsequent years. Other sampling records from 1956 included "Marty on Planet Mars" (Novelty 101) and "Dear Elvis" (Plus 104).

The 1964 record, "The Beatle Flying Saucer"—credited to "Ed Solomon" (Diamond D-160) -- was structured in the same fashion as the Buchanan & Goodman original.

The comedian Albert Brooks parodied flying saucer records in his vinyl album, A Star is Bought (1975). The producer of the record is first warned by industry insiders that he won't be able to afford the rights fees for the song clips, so he decides to fabricate rock and roll songs and use clips from his creations.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1956) Peak
position
US Best Sellers in Stores (Billboard)[3] 3

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Flying Saucer Takes Off; Pubbers, Diskers Do a Flip" Billboard, July 28, 1956, p. 17
  2. ^ "Modern Joins in Luniverse Suit" Billboard, November 17, 1956, pp. 16,30
  3. ^ "Best Sellers in Stores". Billboard: 34. August 25, 1956. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved November 3, 2015. 

External links[edit]