Wait, what? How did this song make it into the Top 40?
Okay, The Carpenters had a string of hits in the 70s, and Karen Carpenter could sing the phone book and it would be outstanding, but why this wild song about contacting aliens for contact? Was it the popularity of Star Wars? Maybe just UFO madness? Quite frankly, Karen looks pretty stoned throughout the music video, so that could explain some of what’s going on here, both in the song and the odd, odd video. Here’s more on “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” from Wikipedia:
“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, and charted at number 1 in Ireland. 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.