BILL BUCHANAN

Born William V. Buchanan, 30 April 1930
Died 1 August 1996, Los Angeles, California

Bill Buchanan was an aspiring music publisher when he met Dickie Goodman while working in the music department of 20th Century Fox. As Buchanan and Goodman, they invented a new kind of novelty : the "break-in" record. Break-ins used pre-recorded songs at various points during the record. Buchanan and Goodman employed major hits of 1955-56 to create "Flying Saucer (Parts 1 and 2)," a reinterpretation of Orson Welles' radio program "The War of the Worlds." This new version of the story of flying saucers invading earth was far more funny than frightening. Audiences agreed, and sales of the record soared to # 3 on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1956. Using a zany interview style, the pair scored follow-up hits with "Flying Saucer the 2nd" and "Santa and the Satellite (parts 1 & 2)". With limited resources and, perhaps, limited inclination, Buchanan and Goodman did not seek permission for the songs they used. With the success of "Flying Saucer" generating increased sales for all the songs used within, none of the artists chose to sue. A few music publishers did, however, leading the duo to create another break-in--again without permission--"Buchanan and Goodman on Trial." For several years, Buchanan and Goodman continued making break-in and novelty records, sometimes together, sometimes apart. Buchanan recorded a remake of bandleader Phil Harris' 1950 hit "The Thing" and teamed up with Bob Ancell for "The Creature (From A Science Fiction Movie"), a minor hit. After parting ways permanently, Dickie Goodman continued making break-in records with varying degrees of success until his suicide in 1989. Buchanan switched to songwriting, scoring his biggest success with the Bobby Vee hit "Please Don't Ask About Barbara", and later to production work. He died of cancer in 1996. "Flying Saucer (Parts 1 and 2)" was the duo's first and biggest success. The break-in record was truly a novelty and like many-a-novelty enjoyed huge, but ephemeral success. What was funny in 1956 soon became stale. In addition to the use of cutting and splicing, "Flying Saucer" used a speeded up human voice to create the voices of the aliens, a technique that would appear in such other intergalactic classics as "The Purple People Eater," but would be brought to its greatest height by Ross Bagdasarian aka David Seville, first in his 1958 number one "Witch Doctor", and then with the Chipmunks. There's lots of info about the duo on the Web. For a list of the songs used in the "Flying Saucer" records see: http://www.jerryosborne.com/5-14-01.htm A good website, with the emphasis on Dickie Goodman: http://members.aol.com/boardwalk7/goodman.html

CD's: Politically correct?: http://www.geocities.com/doo_wop_gino/bandg.htm (Their complete recorded output, together and individually, on 2 CD's). Dickie Goodman's Greatest Fables: http://www.thenightowl.com/reviews/dgoodman.htm

 
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