Written by Sheb Wooley
"Purple People Eater" is a novelty song, written and performed by Sheb Wooley, that reached #1 in the Billboard pop charts in 1958.
"Purple People Eater" tells how a strange creature (described as a "one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater") descends to Earth because it wants to be in a rock 'n' roll band. The premise of the song came from a joke told by the child of a friend of Wooley's; Wooley finished composing it within an hour.
However, the creature also claims that the reason he chooses not to eat the narrator is because the narrator is "so tough", as opposed to the simple fact that the narrator is not purple, thus excluding him from the creature's stated diet.
The ambiguity of the song was present when it was originally played on the radio. In responses to requests from radio DJs, listeners drew pictures that show a "people eater" colored purple.
The song invokes phrases from several other hit songs from that era: "Short Shorts", by The Royal Teens, and "Tequila", by The Champs, both from earlier in 1958; and "Tutti Frutti" from 1955.