The Flying Saucer

Album: single release (1956)
Charted: 3

Songfacts®:

  • In one of the earliest examples of a musical mashup, comedic songwriters Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman spliced together 18 hits of 1955 and 1956 in this novelty tune about a flying saucer that lands in an unnamed city. Reporter John Cameron-Cameron (Goodman spoofing real-life broadcaster John Cameron Swayze) is on the scene, sharing news commentary throughout while Buchanan spins tunes. Listeners would certainly get the joke. Only 12 years earlier, Orson Welles caused a furor with his War of the Worlds broadcast on CBS radio's Mercury Theatre on the Air program. Because of limited commercial interruption noting the program was fiction, many listeners who tuned in late went into panic-mode when they heard Welles' news bulletin-style delivery of H.G. Wells' story about a Martian invasion.

    "The Flying Saucer" was controversial for a different reason. Well, 18 different reasons to be precise. While artists had quoted other songs before, no one ever sampled the actual records before. Music publishers filed suit against the duo for their blatant defiance of copyright laws. When they do credit artists on the track, it's with goofy names like "Huckle Berry" for Chuck Berry and "Skinny Dynamo" for Fats Domino. The court, however, recognized the novelty tune as a new work and dismissed the charges. Buchanan and Goodman made fun of the controversy in the follow-up, "Buchanan and Goodman on Trial."
  • Following the saxophone intro from Nappy Brown's "Open Up That Door," samples tell the story in two parts:

    Part One:

    "The Great Pretender" by The Platters (Announcing the flying saucers are real.)
    "I Want You To Be My Girl" by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers (Meeting John Cameron-Cameron downtown.)
    "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard (First witness responds to flying saucer landing.)
    "Poor Me" by Fats Domino (Second witness responds.)
    "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis Presley (Third witness, armed with a guitar, responds.)
    "Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)" by The Penguins (An outer-space disc jockey plays a request.)
    "I Hear You Knocking" by Smiley Lewis (A British professor knocks on the flying saucer.)
    "Tutti Frutti" by Little Richard (The spaceman speaks.)
    "(You've Got) The Magic Touch" by The Platters (Cameron-Cameron's reaction to seeing the spaceman.)
    "The Great Pretender" by The Platters (The flying saucer leaves.)

    Part Two:

    "Band of Gold" by Don Cherry (The flying saucer lands again.)
    "Ain't That A Shame" by Fats Domino (The Secretary of Defense responds.)
    "Band of Gold" by Don Cherry (Cameron-Cameron asks the spacemen if they want to conquer the world.)
    "Don't Be Angry" by Nappy Brown (Spacemen react when told to go home.)
    "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins (A word from the US president.)
    "Maybellene" by Chuck Berry (Professor explains how the saucers landed.)
    "See You Later Alligator" by Bill Haley & His Comets (Spacemen bid farewell.)
    "My Prayer" by The Platters (Buchanan signs off with "Look to the skies, the saucers will always be there.")
  • A newspaper reporter coined the term "flying saucer" in 1947 after a private pilot claimed to witness nine crescent-shaped objects flying in the sky.

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