UFOs have had an enormous influence on popular culture. From TV, films, and perhaps that most accessible medium, the one of popular music. In this
thread I’m not going to set any hard and fast rules; I’ll try to stick with a UFO based theme, but there may be tangents, some obvious like
aliens, and others less so, perhaps the name of a club or maybe a song about space instead of UFOs.
I hardly intend to be definitive, instead preferring to focus on less items with more impact instead of an endless list which will make everyone’s
eyes glaze over, and only the die-hard would be likely to persist. This opening thread shall only go up to the 70s - it is my intention to continue
up to the present day, but for now what is delivered will have to suffice.
I invite others to contribute at the end of my initial posting, and the topic is UFOs in popular music. Do not feel the need to limit oneself to the
early 70s, and do not feel the need to limit oneself to music. For example, David Bowie appeared in a film about an alien which comes down to Earth,
and I feel this to be of relevance. Obviously a song like ‘Needle and the Damage Done’ has nothing whatsoever to do with UFOs and contemporary
music, so I’m hoping people will exercise their own common sense and post on topic. Please, feel free to pull me up on any errors of fact I have
made, and most welcome are historical artefacts from the times being discussed i.e. posters, photos, film clips and so-on.
Where did it start?
Now one may think that UFOs and psychedelic music have a symbiotic relationship, and it must have started there. In fact, we can go all the way back
to 1951 and Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Two Little Men in a Flying Saucer’ for possibly (although I am not certain) the first of many UFO themed songs.
In this somewhat novelty song, Fitzgerald tells us of a couple of aliens (no EBE’s back then) who cruise down to Earth, have a look around, and
decide that our planet is not really worth hanging around; I wasn’t around in the 50s, but with segregation, nuclear superpowers threatening
Mutually Assured destruction, and the big hangover from the Holocaust, who can blame the aliens for making a quick exit.
Now if there was ever an artist who lived for UFOs, it would have to be Joe Meek. Joe Meek was a troubled man with a troubled life who was happened to
be a genius. A homosexual in a time when not only was this not accepted, it could be the end of a career (and worse). Poor Alan Turing who helped win
WW2 by cracking German ciphers, was arrested for homosexual acts in 1952 and committed suicide after ‘treatment’ to ‘cure’ him (which one
highly doubts 'worked'). Meek was also extremely violent, obsessed with the occult, and more paranoid than Phil Spector . He was however a master
of the studio and he produced a record titled ‘I hear a New World’ with a band called the Blue Men. Convinced that life existed elsewhere in the
Solar System , the album was his effort at trying ‘to create a picture in music of what could be up there in outer space’
Heady times; the psychedelic years
Would any mention of UFOs in popular music be complete without mentioning Pink Floyd, and the good captain of the Airship Mr Syd Barret? With songs
like ‘Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun’,’Interstellar Overdrive’, and their second album titled ‘A Saucer Full of Secrets’, is
there any doubt that the Earthly chemicals ingested by psychnoaut Syd (and sometimes joined by other members although it is said infrequently) may
have had a slightly more esoteric and spacey purpose? In their ‘underground years’ the Floyd played regularly at the UFO club, home of many a
hippie and hipster.
Indeed, in the tune ‘Let There be More Light’ lyrics such as, ‘Then at last the mighty ship descending on a point of flame/Made contact with
the human race at Mildenhall’, really does beg the question, ‘Is it a UFO, or just just Chinese Lanterns?’
Live Footage – Let There Be More Light
At a much harder end of the psychedelic genre (moving into hard rock) is the inimitable Hawkwind. One of the earliest Space Rock bands, they were well
known for long and free running improvisational songs. Like certain members of Pink Floyd, Hawkwind also utilised certain alchemical processes to aid
their communion with entities not of this world.
Here is a clip especially made for ATS – again, UFOs or lanterns? As those wise and honest ‘3 Phase of the Moon’ fellows suggest, you decide.
British Beat band the Troggs (authors of Wild Thing) had a student of UFOlogy in their lead singer Reg Presley. Author of a book published in 2002, he
was interested in abductions, crop circles, and his belief in a link between UFOs and ancient structures (he would’ve been right at home on ATS). He
died early this year (2013)
It would be unfair to omit Sun Ra, jazz musician, keyboard player, performer, and philosopher with his ‘cosmic philosophy’. Sun Ra explained that
he came from Saturn and was of the ‘Angel Race’. He led the ‘Arkestra’ and was pioneer of ‘Afrofuturism’ and set the stage for Funkadelic
to continue the UFO theme with their own P-Funk Mothership.
Sun Ra wrote an 82 minute science fiction film called ‘Space is the Place’ which was released in 1972. It features Sun Ra and his Arkestra. It
appears to be available on YouTube.
Sun Ra performing Face the Music/Space is the Place.
Now if others sang of UFOs, and Sun Ra claimed to be from another planet, in my opinion the artist who may well really be not of this earth is of
course David Jones (aka Bowie). With his long blond hair and his eyes of blue.... , he was almost molded for the role of Thomas Jerome Newton, the
humanoid extraterrestrial who comes to Earth to get... wait for it... water for his home planet which is suffering a terrible drought. With advanced
technology like marbles which play music (oh how they wished they could have foreseen iPods and the portable digital music revolution). Now Thomas
finds a women, gets into the grog and tv, and shape-shifts before his beloved (although he does not reveal either a Reptilian, nor a Clintonian form).
Then surprise surprise, those guardians of civil liberties and freedom, the government kidnap him and keep him well-soaked in alcohol all the while
conducting experiments on him. There are some interesting suggestions in the film, and it is well worth watching.
The Man Who Fell To Earth – Original Trailer
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After all the chemicals and UFO clubs, and after the last drum solo and Hawkwind Riff, at the completion of the removal of the last remainder of
hirsute fragments from the band-members and crew, it seems appropriate to pull up a piano stool and gently tap out a relevant calumny, dedicated to
the concept of ecological destruction of the Earth. In this somewhat whiny yet beautiful song, Neil Young dives deep into abstraction and metaphor,
bouncing between castles, heraldry, burnt out buildings, and what appears to be the rapture.
With the final verse going ‘Well, I dreamed I saw the silver space ships flying in the yellow haze of the sun,/ There were children crying and
colors flying all around the chosen ones./All in a dream, all in a dream, the loading had begun. They were flying Mother Nature's silver seed to a new
home in the sun. Flying Mother Nature's Silver seed to a new home.
And here is the haunting song
One of the weird ones, probably in the Sun Ra school of strangeness would have to be Captain Beefheart.
Perhaps another alien, this track is one of the more ‘normal’ sounding Captain Beefheart tunes, but the old flying saucer gets a mention here.
We went round and round in Observatory Crest
Thought we'd saw flying saucers and all of the rest
from Observatory Crest
And into the 70s
Is there anyone who was alive in the 1970s who does not remember ELO? they kind of sound like the Beatles with synthesizers. They were a great band
(and please, please do not do a reunion tour just to ruin yet another great band with yet another mediocre cash grabbing exercise and pretense at
relevance) who toured with a stage-set that looked like a UFO. At the beginning of their show, the 'UFO' would open up to reveal the band performing
inside. Futuristic for the time, the shows had lasers, as well as a very expensive light show (also a few quite attractive female orchestra
The cover of their albums commonly had the ‘ELO’ UFO on the cover
I don’t know that this song has anything to do with UFOs or not, but because it’s so awesome I’m going to stick it in anyway.
Is this song about UFOs, maybe predicting the rise of the drones, or something else? I don't know, but I feel inclusion is warranted.
Alan Parsons Project - Eye In The Sky
Would any mention of UFOs in popular music be complete with a reference to Klaatu and their album and song 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary
Craft'. This song is in fact the recognised anthem of World Contact Day, and it doesn't really get any better than that, save for being asked to
feature in a Steven Greer movie !
John Woloschuk, a member of Klaatu and one of the song's composers, has said: The idea for this track was suggested by an actual event
that is described in The Flying Saucer Reader, a book by Jay David published in 1967. In March 1953 an organization known as the "International Flying
Saucer Bureau" sent a bulletin to all its members urging them to participate in an experiment termed "World Contact Day" whereby, at a predetermined
date and time, they would attempt to collectively send out a telepathic message to visitors from outer space. The message began with the
words..."Calling occupants of interplanetary craft!"
There are other songs and artists I have chosen to omit, not due to any dislike, but simply due to time and space considerations (the pun was
unintended until it was noticed!), and to allow the tracks I have chosen room to breathe. There are many many more songs (and associated annoying
commentary to go with them), and I really wish that someone had video of footage of the alleged UFO siting at the Jimi Hendrix concert for the
Brotherhood of Eternal Love (mystical smugglers of chemicals hippies liked to take) in Hawaii, but alas, it's 4 AM, and either looking for aliens, or
sleep calls - probably sleep. With a bit more time and space Bowie may have received another mention, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility
to extend our definitions and throw ‘Rocket Man’ in, or once again come back to Bowie, and ‘Space Oddity’. Also neglected, but a huge love of
mine are the electronic post-psychedelic sounds of many German bands like Tangerine Dream and Kluster/Harmonia these days called 'Krautrock', but back
then it was all inner and outer space music. Perhaps in another thread.
And finally (for the moment)
In closing I’d going to come foward a few decades in music simply because I’ve only discovered this artist recently, and I’m absolutely loving
his music (and he directly references a UFO in the title of one of his songs). The album is concerned with various events which have occurred in the
state of Michigan, and this is the only track I’m aware of that not only references a UFO, but one of those allegedly huge flying triangle UFOs
– to conclude I present
Sufjan Stevens - Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois
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Those Rock n Roll stars certainly have a liking for mind expanding substances and as a consequence this has definitely influenced what they write
about. I guess U.F.O's are as fair game as any other subject and it just ties in with the advent of U.F.O's being reported on in the 1950's.
I have seen a film about Joe Meek called Telstar. He claimed to have warned Buddy Holly to be careful of flying a year before his death. He was an
absolute genius and as with all geniuses a tortured soul. Personally I think he was born about 30 years too soon as he would have fitted in better in
the 70's and 80's.
"...I have lived here before
The days of ice
And of course this is why
I'm so concerned
And I come back to find
The stars misplaced
And the smell of a world
That is burned
A smell of a world
That is burned.
Yeah well, maybe, hmm...
Maybe it's just a... change of climate
Well I can dig it
I can dig it baby
I just want to see.
So where do I purchase my ticket ?
I'd just like to have a ringside seat
I want to know about the new Mother Earth
I want to hear and see everything
I want to hear and see everything
I want to hear and see everything
"Good evening ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to radio station exp. tonight we are
Ffeaturing an interview with a very peculiar
Looking gentlemen who goes by the name of mr.
Paul corusoe, on the dodogy subject of are there
Or are there not flying saucers or... ahem,
Ufo's. please mr corusoe, pleased could you
Give your regarded opinion on this nonsense
About spaceships and even space people.
Mr corusoe: (jimi hendrix)
Thank you. as you all know, you just can't
Believe everything you see and hear, can you. now,
If you will excuse me, is must be on my way.
In truth, ‘Rainbow Bridge Revisited’ is more concerned with the surfer lifestyle that plays host to a bunch of hippies with time and
presumably money on their hands, than Hendrix. Among their number was the late Harvard graduate and Andy Warhol person Chuck Wein, who approached
Warner Brothers with a vague idea of making a move about surf, music and Hendrix. In fact his real concern was to make people aware of UFOs’ as he
saw them as a key to earth’s destiny.
The real context of this movie is director Merrell Fankhauser’s 14 year sojourn in Hawaii, amongst the ‘hippies, surfers and cosmic people
that were seeing UFO’s’.
The concert was put on by a group called the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. The core of this group were a bunch of young thugs/small-time crooks who had
taken some of that 1960s lysergic hippie making chemical, and renounced their prior ways so as to communicate this life changing experience to other
Now as these idealistic 60s tales tend to go, usually something goes pretty awry somewhere down the track. Either harder substances come in, or the
nice communal family turn into a bunch of psychpathic murdering terrorists, or they all move to Guyana and form a commune dedicated to living in
racial harmony... I'm sure people get the picture.
As it turns out (as it so often does), there were elements of U.S intelligence sticking their nose in the trough, and more worrying, there were
MK-ULTRA types present, and what is maybe even scarier is the possibility that they were there from the beginning, quite possibly instigators.
The shadow of the social revolution still casts its long shadow back from the future. The 60s were a topsy-turvy time where nearly every
aspect of society was converted into its opposite, precisely according to the blueprint of the Tavistock Agenda and the machinations of its allies —
CIA, RAND and SRI. Together they created an ersatz utopia with a heavy dark side much like Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World. It is the
forerunner of the New Age and Conspiracy cultures. Counterculture and subculture became new buzzwords which sprung up like Flower Children to describe
the morphing social landscape.
Of concern is the fact that many of the spooks involved in MK-ULTRA and the counter-culture are the same agents we see appear in relation to the
assassination of JFK, and various UFO incidents.
In order to counteract the paranoia and MK-ULTRA bad vibes it's necessary to play another UFO/alien inspired tune from that era.
The lyrics of which consist of almost a study of the subject.
We're just a joke they sometimes crack, they'll get away with anything
The government is holding back, they won't say a word
Now is that a light in sky or just a spark in my heart?
Can I accept this as evidence or will that tear the whole act apart?
Edit: These tube videos are bloating the thread so I've changed them to straight links and a nice picture to look at instead.
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Nice thread...I'll come back to it with a few additions.
Might I suggest the original Jefferson Starship concept album, "Blows Against the Empire"?
The album is a narrative concept album that tells the
story of a counter-culture revolution against the oppressions of "Uncle Samuel" and a plan to steal a starship from orbit and journey into space in
search of a new home.wiki
Quick edit to say it's not UFO themed...but gotta like hippies in space, eh?
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Summary: On August 23rd, 1974 John Lennon walked out on to the balcony of his New York apartment, and witnessed what he later described as a
"Flying Saucer" hovering closely, just above his window. This article includes an interview with Lennon's assistant/girlfriend May Pang, who also
witnessed the event, which completely describes the encounter.
The article is an interesting one, and Lennon seems to genuinely believe that he saw something. The article mentions speaking to the police who
mention that others had also reported seeing a UFO, so there is certainly evidence that something happened.
I don't know what percentage of the populace worldwide have seen what they consider a UFO. Most I would assume would be thinking of ET, but I
consider the strict technical definition to be more accurate. I usually will qualify this however. For instance, earlier this year I saw what was more
than likely a bolide burning up in the atmosphere, but at the time it was a UFO. I perhaps lean a little in my own definition toward the object
appearing to be under intelligent control, but the truew definition is as it sounds - Unidentified Flying Object!
Now, back to the music of the 1960s and UFOs, here is a German band, Guru Guru, and their quite Avant-garde album titles quite simply, 'UFO'
Great thread. I never knew there were so many space heads in the music industry. I once read of an abductee who said she saw some famous Hollywood
people who are abductees, during her abduction experiences.
Is there anyone who was alive in the 1970s who does not remember ELO?
ELO were one of the bands that opened my eyes to what music could be with their mixing of rock with violin and cello , in relation to UFOs this one
in particular comes to mind not least because it's an awesome song but as a kid into UFOs it blew my mind.
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