Friday, February 3, 2012

Getting There: Flyin' Saucers Rock & Roll

Robert Gordon with Link Wray: Flyin' Saucers Rock and Roll


"Gonna rock 'n' roll all the way from Mars!"

Here's Ray Scott, who wrote "Flyin' Saucers Rock 'N' Roll," quoted in Greil Marcus's book, Rockabilly: The Twang Heard 'Round the World:

    People ask me how I ever came up with the idea to write a song like "Flyin' Saucer Rock and Roll"...I saw one of those things. Near Indianapolis in '54, I saw something shaped like a big cigar...That's when the flying saucer and UFO thing was in the news a lot, so I sat down and wrote a song about flying saucers rock and roll...I didn't write about exactly what I saw. I talked about little green men in the songs, and, of course, I didn't see any of those fellas."

In 1957, "Flying Saucer Rock and Roll' was a big hit for Billy Lee Riley and His Little Green Men (one of the best backing-band names in music history). The song was updated to great effect in 1977 by rockabilly revivalist Robert Gordon, with guitar work by Link Wray. The newer version is propelled by a great hook -- the vocal windup on the word "Rrrrrrrock." It's an update that improves on an already stellar original.

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