Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

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"Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft"
Single by Klaatu
from the album 3:47 EST
B-side "Sub-Rosa Subway"
Released 1976
Format 7" single
Recorded 1976
Genre Progressive rock, space rock, psychedelic rock
Length 3:23 (single edit)
7:14 (album version)
Label Daffodil
Writer(s) Terry Draper, John Woloschuk
Producer(s) Klaatu
"Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft"

Single artwork painted by Star Trek designer Andrew Probert.
Single by The Carpenters
from the album Passage
B-side "Can't Smile Without You"
Released September, 1977 (Debuted on the Cash Box singles chart on September 24)
Format 7" single
Recorded 1977
Genre Pop rock, soft rock
Length 7:06 (album version)
3:59 (single edit)
Label A&M
Writer(s) Klaatu
Producer(s) Richard Carpenter
The Carpenters singles chronology
"All You Get from Love Is a Love Song"
(1977)
"Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft"
(1977)
"The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)"
(1977)

"Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem of World Contact Day)" is a song by Klaatu, originally released in 1976 on their first album 3:47 EST. The song would open night transmission of pirate radio station Radio Caroline. The year following its release, The Carpenters covered the song, using a crew of 160 musicians. Both versions of the single had the entire name of the song on the label (the picture sleeve of the Carpenters' single had the subtitle in small print); reissued singles of the Klaatu version had the title shortened to "Calling Occupants".

Origin[edit]

John Woloschuk, a member of Klaatu and one of the song's composers, has said:

The idea for this track was suggested by an actual event that is described in The Flying Saucer Reader, a book by Jay David published in 1967. In March 1953 an organization known as the "International Flying Saucer Bureau" sent a bulletin to all its members urging them to participate in an experiment termed "World Contact Day" whereby, at a predetermined date and time, they would attempt to collectively send out a telepathic message to visitors from outer space. The message began with the words..."Calling occupants of interplanetary craft!"[1]

Chart[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 62
Canada RPM 100 Singles 45

The Carpenters' version[edit]

The Carpenters' version from their Passage album charted worldwide and appeared on several of their hits compilations. The success of their version led to the duo receiving many letters from people asking when World Contact Day would be held. Ironically, the release of the song predated that of a Steven Spielberg film with a similar theme, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, issued to theatres the following November. A portion of the song can be heard in the 2013 film The Wolverine.

The song ultimately led to a successful Carpenters television special, The Carpenters...Space Encounters.

While Klaatu's original opens with various sounds of living species, the Carpenters' version opens with a radio DJ (the late Tony Peluso) on a request show. The DJ identifies a phone caller as "Mike Ledgerwood". When the DJ asks Mike for his song request, an alien-sounding voice responds. The DJ is voiced by longstanding Carpenters' guitarist Tony Peluso, who can be seen in that role at the start of the video for this track.[2]

The Carpenters' arrangement of the song was later copied on a sound-alike cover released on the 1977 album Top of the Pops, Volume 62.

The cover art was painted by Star Trek designer Andrew Probert.

In April 2011, the song was featured in the BBC series Wonders of the Solar System hosted by Dr. Brian Cox.

The song was also covered by the children of the The Langley Schools Music Project. Another version can be found on the Carpenters tribute album If I Were a Carpenter performed by the band Babes in Toyland. The Flowers of Hell released a version on their 2012 album Odes, on which they cover their influences.[3]

The group Lard recreates the chorus with a somewhat similar vocal, but completely different lyrics, in the song "Pineapple Face" from the album The Last Temptation of Reid. "Pineapple Face" is a reference to Manuel Noriega and the song presents the lyrics as the thoughts and words of Noriega while taking refuge in the Vatican embassy after the U.S. military surrounded it during Operation Nifty Package.

Chart[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 32
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 23
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 18
Canadian Singles Chart 9
UK Singles Chart 9
Irish Singles Chart 1
Preceded by
"Yes Sir, I Can Boogie" by Baccara
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
November 12, 1977 – November 19, 1977
Succeeded by
"Belfast" by Boney M.

Music videos[edit]

The Carpenters had two music videos for "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft":

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Woloschuk, John. "Klaatu Track Facts" (quote used by permission). The Official Klaatu Homepage. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  2. ^ "Carpenters official web site:". Passage album notes. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  3. ^ Adams, Gregory (September 7, 2012). "Flowers Of Hell Reveal Odes Details". Exclaim!. Retrieved September 9, 2012.