It was probably not particularly remarked at the time, but the Cuban Missile Crisis also terminated a period of cartoon rock 'n' roll that had spanned about five years. The year I was born, 1958, was probably the pinnacle of a trend that eschewed the "moon" in "June" and Heartbreak Hotel in favour of more distant galactic real estate in a sci-fi future and scary monsters in haunted houses. I like to think that is why my favourite shade of punk, two decades later, was Edinburgh's day-glo Rezillos and their Flying Saucer Attack – it was a result of having heard Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll by Billy Riley And His Little Green Men while in the womb.
On the silver screen in 1958 were The Blob and I Married A Monster From Outer Space, and in the hit parade around then The Coasters sang The Shadow Knows, Bo Diddley met The Monster, and The Purple People Eater Met The Witch Doctor, according to Joe South. These tracks are among the bonus gems on a reissue that is a must for Hallowe'en, Poe For Moderns – Music To Scare Your Neighbours, by Buddy Morrow and His Spooky Friends.
Composer Morrow had played with Tommy Dorsey and Artie Shaw before forming his own band and writing for TV and the movies. His responses to Edgar Allan Poe's The Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart are what should be soundtracking every party on Wednesday night, and Fingertips Records are re-issuing it on Monday to make that nightmare a possibility.
It's interesting, though, that the real horror of 1962 and the politics of a genuine space race brought that era of fantasy pop to an abrupt end. Until The Rezillos of course.