The Flying Saucer (song)
"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 the United States 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.
|"The Flying Saucer"|
|Single by Buchanan and Goodman|
|Buchanan and Goodman singles chronology|
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.
The song uses clips from 17 different songs, each of which was a top 20 hit in 1955 or 1956. In order of occurrence:
- Side One
- "Open Up That Door" by Nappy Brown (saxophone intro only)
- "The Great Pretender" by The Platters (referenced as "Too Real" by The Clatters)
- "I Want You to Be My Girl" by The Teenagers featuring Frankie Lymon
- "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard
- "Poor Me" by Fats Domino
- "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis Presley
- "Earth Angel" by The Penguins (referenced as "Earth" by The Pelicans)
- "I Hear You Knocking" by Smiley Lewis (referenced as "Knocking" by Laughing Lewis)
- "Tutti Frutti" by Little Richard
- "(You've Got) The Magic Touch" by The Platters (referenced as "Uh-Oh" by The Clatters)
- "The Great Pretender" by The Platters
- Side Two
- "Band of Gold" by Don Cherry
- "Ain't That A Shame" by Fats Domino (referenced as "That's A Shame" by Skinny Dynamo)
- "Band of Gold" by Don Cherry (again)
- "Don't Be Angry" by Nappy Brown
- "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins (referenced as "Shoes" by Pa Gherkins)
- "Maybellene" by Chuck Berry (referenced as "The Motor Cooled Down" by Huckle Berry)
- "See You Later Alligator" by Bill Haley & His Comets
- "My Prayer" by The Platters
Release and receptionEdit
"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 Dickie Goodman compilations Greatest Hits (1983) and Greatest Fables (1997) feature fake re-recorded clips of "Tutti Frutti" and "Band Of Gold". The segments for "Long Tall Sally" and "(You've Got) 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 1950s, 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." 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. 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 on his 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.
|US Best Sellers in Stores (Billboard)||3|