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UFO Music – My Personal Top 5

I thought I would make today’s post a bit different. It’s my personal top 5 songs of a UFO-themed nature. Of course, over the decades countless songs have been recorded about all things flying and saucer-shaped. Some are good, and more than a few are so-so. Many are terrible, and then there are those that are very well known but which I wouldn’t personally give the time of day, such as “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.” It’s just not my kind of music. But, the following are…

1: We’ll begin with Frank Black’s “Men in Black,” which can be found on his 1996 album, “The Cult of Ray.” If you know anything of Frank Black (both his solo career and his work with The Pixies), you’ll know that he has a big interest in the UFO phenomenon. And that’s made very clear in “Men in Black.” It’s a great, guitar-driven tune that includes the following lyrics: “I’m watching my back, I’m awaiting my visitation from the Men in black, are they grey, or is it my own nation?” The lyrics are right on target: as anyone who has studied the MIB mystery will know, the question of what, or who, the MIB really are (government agents, ETs, or something else) has persisted for decades.

2: Now it’s time to turn our attention to Megadeth, and “Hangar 18,” which appeared on the band’s 1990 album, “Rust in Peace.” It’s a pummeling song about crashed UFOs and dead aliens. It’s also a song inspired by Megadeth’s drummer at the time, Nick Menza, who has a personal interest in the UFO phenomenon – as you’ll see from this link. And here’s a snippet or several of the words: “Possibly I’ve seen too much, Hangar 18 I know too much, foreign life forms inventory, suspended state of cryogenics.”

3: As more than a few people know, my all-time favorite band is The Ramones, so I had to get them in here somewhere. Nope, not at number 1 or 2, but number 3 is not so bad. It’s “Zero, Zero, UFO,” which comes from what was without doubt the band’s worst album, 1989’s “Brain Drain.” Three or four songs aside (including this one), “Brain Drain” is not worth listening to at all. Thankfully, they got out of their brief rut with 1992’s “Mondo Bizarro.” The lyrics? Here’s a taste: “It landed in a field in Idaho, where it came from I don’t know, it did not look like it came from Japan, and out of the dark walked a strange man.”

4: For this one, we have to go back to Frank Black. Not to his solo career, but to a certain song that appeared on “Trompe Le Monde,” a 1991 album from Black’s band, The Pixies. As for what the number 4 song is, it’s “Motorway to Roswell.” As the title makes clear, the focus is on the world’s most famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) UFO case of all. Black captures the essence of the story in a catchy fashion, and with the following words: “He ended up in army crates and photographs in files.”

5: Finally, from 1992, there’s “Flying Saucer” by The Wedding Present, a great band that should have been huge (there’s still time…). Relevant words: “And I want her, she kind of launched a flying saucer right inside my head.” And that’s my top 5, in the order they appear. You may or may not agree!

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  • Podwinkle

    Great list, Nick!
    Here’s mine…
    #1 Unmarked Helicopters / Soul Coughing
    #2 Unexplained / Meat Puppets
    #3 The Bright Light / Tanya Donnelly
    #4 Just Like Nothing on Earth / The Stranglers
    #5 Flying Saucer Rock and Roll / Billy Riley

    It’s possible #3 isn’t really about a tractor beam abduction, but that’s the way I heard it….

  • Michael Ishida

    I’m partial to “Mars Needs Women” by Peter Wolf. Thanks for the post, I’d forgotten The Pixies.

  • ivr

    “Subterranean Homesick Alien” – Radiohead
    my fav line: Up above Aliens hover Making home movies For the folks back home Of all these weird creatures Who lock up their spirits Drill holes in themselves And live for their secrets

  • Heinrich Skye

    Two more for your consideration:

    1. Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft, by Klaatu and covered a year later by the Carpenters.
    2. Fell In Love With An Alien, by the Kelly Family (and a trippy music video)

  • Jim Nelson

    Well done. I was just about to mention those two Blue Öyster Cult
    songs! For me, E.T.I. is the best song on this subject, although that’s obviously a matter of personal taste.

  • Nate Cull

    A few of my favourites from Down Under:

    1. Sneaky Sound System, “UFO” (2008)

    “I saw a UFO and nobody believes me. I was sixteen miles from home and nobody in sight…”

    2. Player One, “A Menacing Glow in the Sky” (1979)

    “Oh my, what’s that bright light in the sky? It’s up about a hundred feet high…”

    3. Split Enz, “Poor Boy” (1980)

    “My love is alien, I picked her up by chance. You’re talking to an interplanetary Romeo…”