Friday Five: Spaceships

Juli Thanki | April 13th, 2012

The Space Shuttle Discovery has been acquired by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and is arriving in the DC area on Tuesday. In honor of its arrival, here are five songs about spacecraft.

5. Billy Bragg & Wilco – “My Flying Saucer”

This is a cut from Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2, which found Bragg and Wilco once more setting Woody Guthrie’s lyrics to music. Despite its uptempo arrangement, the song is kind of a downer, as the spaceship sails off sans owner.

 

4. The Byrds – “Mr. Spaceman”

Extraterrestrial encounter or just really good drugs?

 

3. Ray Stevens – “I Saw Elvis in a UFO”

Elvis, abducted by little pink men because he’s “too good for the human race,” ends up sharing a UFO with, among others, Jimmy Hoffa. Guess that solves that mystery.

 

2. Buchanan Brothers – “(When You See) Those Flying Saucers”

Brothers Chester and Lester recorded this cautionary tale in 1947, warning that those spaceships may signify “the coming of the Judgment Day. Dry Branch Fire Squad’s version of the song can be found on Echoes of the Mountain.

 

1. Hank Snow – “Honeymoon on a Rocket Ship”

That Hank Snow sure could sweet talk a gal: “you could make your wedding gown out of a big moonbeam/Sprinkle stardust in your hair, you’d be a perfect dream.” This song was a #9 hit for Snow in 1953.

  1. bob
    April 13, 2012 at 9:48 am

    “Rocket Man” Elton John

  2. Ben Foster
    April 13, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Wow, just when I thought the Friday Fives couldn’t possibly get any cooler… BAM. This.

  3. Rick
    April 13, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I’m kind of partial to the Hank Flamingo song “Redneck Martians Stole My Baby” that involves a chase through outer space in a flying double wide trailer! (lol) It’s too bad they never made a music video for this song.

    Fortunately Unknown Hinson did make a music video for his song “Venus Bound”. Back in the mid 2000′s this guy was actually signed by the Capitol Nashville label for awhile and they put out a full album titled “The Future Is Unknown”.
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7_YNTQmtGg
    I wonder if Early will ever sing this song on Squidbillies? Hmm…

  4. Jack Williams
    April 13, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Flying Saucer Rock and Roll – Billy Lee Riley

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5SIU_4f8C0&feature=related

  5. nm
    April 13, 2012 at 11:20 am

    “After the Goldrush,” Neil Young.

  6. Barry Mazor
    April 13, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Sheby Wooley (Roger Miller’s uncle and mentor) had, of course, “One-Eyed, One-Horn Flyin’ Purple People Eater.”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9H_cI_WCnE

  7. nm
    April 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Oh, and there’s the classic “The Smallest Astronaut,” by The Royal Guardsmen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HQNLOp7X5k

    In order to make sense (so to speak) of this song you need to know that (1) it was released around the time of the first moon landing (2) by a group best known for the novelty hit “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron.”

  8. Barry Mazor
    April 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

    And “It Came Out of the Sky” (Creedence)

  9. Jack Williams
    April 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Waiting for the UFO’s – Graham Parker

  10. luckyoldsun
    April 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    “Highwayman,” sung by Willie, Waylon, Cash and Kris–or, as they were later known, “The Highwaymen.”

    Also “Third Rock From the Sun,” by Joe Diffie–even if the “UFO” in that song appears to come from “Bob’s Big Boy”–and perhaps never actually went into orbit.

  11. Barry Mazor
    April 13, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    PS–Sheb Wooley. Warn’t no Sheby.

  12. Jeremy Dylan
    April 14, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    How about Jim Lauderdale’s Planet of Love.

Tagged In This Article

// // // // // //

Current Discussion

  • Daniel Mullins: Mr. Mazor- In your opinion, who do you think will be/should be inducted into the Hall on April 22nd?
  • Barry Mazor: My own suggestion would be that it probably wouldn't pay off to read those sorts of things into Kyle Young's …
  • A.B.: Barry's article was good. The quote from Mr Young mentioning Ralph Stanley is making me speculate though. He was probably …
  • Janice Brooks: got this album early this morning and added Frankie Please for now.
  • Daniel Mullins: I agree 100%. This is definitely one of Croweel's strongest albums. You can't help but feel more confident about yourself …
  • Juli Thanki: David, yep, I'd say it's his best since The Houston Kid; though I think I like the songwriting on here …
  • henry: He has a great story about "Fever on the Bayou," which I'm sure he told you about how long the …
  • Jonathan Pappalardo: Incredible album, exceptional review. Totally agree that this is his finest work in more than a decade.
  • David Cantwell: I can't wait to hear this, Juli. Just curious... When you say his best in more than a decade, I'm …
  • Joe Mekler: Not only is this a fun tune with an unusual form but it is politically appropriate for the present times!

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • rodneycrowelltarpapersky
  • rhondavincentonlyme
  • mandybgibson
  • paulburchfevers
  • kelliepicklerwomaniam
  • ronblockwalkingsong
  • lindiortegatinstar
  • timdarrell