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Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

"Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" is a song by Klaatu, originally released in 1976 on their first album 3:47 EST. The song would open night transmission of the pirate radio station Radio Caroline. The year following its release, the Carpenters covered the song, using a crew of 160 musicians. The Carpenters version reached the top 10 in the UK and Canada.

"Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft"
Klaatu - Calling Occupants.jpeg
Single by Klaatu
from the album 3:47 EST
A-side "Sub-Rosa Subway"
Released 1976
Format 7-inch single
Recorded 1976
Genre Space rock, psychedelic pop, progressive rock
Length 3:23 (single edit)
7:14 (album version)
Label Daffodil (Canada)
Capitol (rest of the world)
Songwriter(s) Terry Draper, John Woloschuk
Producer(s) Klaatu



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 (1977) Peak
Canada RPM 100 Singles 45
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 62
US Cash Box Top 100[2] 91
US Record World Singles Chart[2] 100



The Carpenters versionEdit

"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 9, 1977
Format 7-inch single
Recorded 1977
Genre Pop rock, soft rock
Length 7:06 (album version)
3:59 (single edit)
Label A&M
Songwriter(s) Klaatu
Producer(s) Richard Carpenter
The Carpenters singles chronology
"Can't Smile Without You"
"Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft"
"The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)"
"Can't Smile Without You"
"Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft"
"The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)"

The Carpenters' version from their Passage album charted worldwide and appeared on several of their hits compilations. The song title appears on the Carpenters' version above the tagline "(The Recognized Anthem Of World Contact Day)". The success of their version led to the duo receiving many letters from people asking when World Contact Day would be held. 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 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.[4]

Karen Carpenter's vocals range from the low note of B♭3 in the first verse to the high note of F♯5 before the last chorus (Once the F♯5 drops to an E5 a faint harmonized G♯5 seems present on the isolated vocal track from The Singles: 1969–1981 SACD but this is equivocal; it is undecided whether it counts in the vocal range).[5]

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. A portion of the song can be heard in the 2013 film The Wolverine. A portion of the song can also be heard at the end of the fourth episode of the 2017 Netflix series Mindhunter.


Chart (1977) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 32
US Cash Box Top 100 23
US 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 videosEdit

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


Other cover versionsEdit

The song was also covered by the children of 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.[6]

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.

A happy hardcore version was released in 1999 by The Space Cadet under the title "1st Contact".

The UK electronic dance music group Orbital used samples of The Carpenters version of Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft in their live version of Are We Here. The track was produced for their 2012 Wonky tour and is not commercially available.


  1. ^ Woloschuk, John. "Klaatu Track Facts" (quote used by permission). The Official Klaatu Homepage. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  2. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2015). The Comparison Book. Menonomee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-89820-213-7. 
  3. ^ "The Official Klaatu Homepage". Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  4. ^ "Carpenters official web site:". Passage album notes. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  5. ^ "Carpenters - Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft - Acapella (near)". YouTube. 2010-09-18. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  6. ^ Adams, Gregory (September 7, 2012). "Flowers Of Hell Reveal Odes Details". Exclaim!. Retrieved September 9, 2012.