Songs About Close Encounters with Aliens

Written by on January 31, 2021

Science fiction in books and film, specifically stories about human encounters with aliens, has been an important genre since science fiction’s golden age in the US with the founding of Astounding Magazine in the late 1930s which lead to the popularity of science fiction films in 1950s. But when did alien encounters begin showing up in music? Not surprisingly right when sci-fi films and television began gaining in popularity.

A quick search on the subject lead to this Wikipedia entry starting in the 1950s with the Billboard number 1 hit “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooly. The 1960s had a few hits from the psychedilic scene but songs about alien encounters really took off in the 70s and 80s in the progressive and classic rock genres, precicely what we play a lot of here at Heroes and Mortals Radio, and continue well into the 90s and 2000s.

The list is a bit loose in the “alien encounter” department as many of the songs are about leaving earth or may be more “earthly” or religious depending on one’s interpretation of the lyrics, but that is for the listener to decide. Ultimately there are plenty of well-known and not so well-known artists and songs from every musical genre that tell tales of humans encountering our galactic compatriots.

Here is the full list from Wikipedia, we put a sample from each decade below, and if you’re an artist who writes music about aliens, the new decade could use a few songs.

Tune in Monday nights at 5pm Pacific for our sci-fi music block featuring:
Progressive Visions at 5pm
Stardrive at 7pm
Spacetime at 8pm

1950s: “The Flying Saucer Parts 1 & 2” by Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman

1960s: “Let There Be More Light” by Pink Floyd

1970s: “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” by Klaatu (cover by The Carpenters†)

1980s: “Fire Of Unknown Origin” by Blue Öyster Cult

1990s: “Alien (I Am)” by Hawkwind

2000s: “Aliens” by Doctor Octagon, 2006

2010s: “E.T.” by Katy Perry, featuring Kanye West, 2010

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