A lot of the posts on this blog are about the beginning of a story; such and such first did this in 1961 and went on to do that in the years that followed. Today’s post is about the end of a strange coupling of music and genre that began in the mid-50′s and kind of died out around 1961: Rockabilly records and outer space.
The connection may not have been as strong as that which bonded electric guitar instrumentals with surfing, but the association between Rockabilly and outer space is no less interesting. Were Rockabilly musicians inspired by the dawn of the space age the same way Dick Dale was inspired by a perfect ride down a crashing wave? No. Were they particularly moved or excited about mankind traveling to the Moon, Mars and beyond? Probably not. Did they see rockets and spacemen and Martians as the perfect metaphors for sex? Bingo!
Rockabilly records with outer space themes started popping up even before Sputnik was launched in 1957 and it was clear from the start what singers like Jimmy Grubbs and Skip Stanley meant when they sang about a rocket in their pocket and “shakin that asteroid”.
By 1961, the theme was getting a little dated now that men were actually flying in space. That didn’t stop Gene Vincent and Butch Paulson from cutting two final records of a genre that would disappear until the Rockabilly revival of the early 1980s.