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Music / Klaatu

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Left to right: John Woloschuk, Terry Draper, Dee Long.
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Klaatu were a Canadian Progressive Rock band formed by John Woloschuk and Dee Long, with drummer Terry Draper later joining them. As their name indicates they named themselves after the alien Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Their most famous track was the song "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft", which reached even more exposure thanks to being covered by The Carpenters.

Their fame was also increased when they were mistaken for an anonymous reunion of The Beatles. This was due to a lack of credits on their debut album, coincidences that were construed as Paul Is Dead-like clues (such as the cover of Ringo Starr's Goodnight Vienna also using Day the Earth Stood Still imagery), and certain aspects of their sound. In particular, Woloschuk sounded remarkably like Paul McCartney, and some of the songs he sang lead on (most notably "Calling Occupants" and "Sub Rosa Subway"), with their light-hearted whimsy, recalled both the Fab Four's Psychedelic Rock era and McCartney solo works such as "Uncle Albert--Admiral Halsey". It didn't help that Klaatu was signed to Capitol Records (making them Beatle labelmates) outside Canada; while the band themselves never encouraged the rumors, their label's coy press releases didn't do much to clarify things.

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Discography:

  • 3:47 EST (retitled Klaatu in the US) (1976)
  • Hope (1977)
  • Sir Army Suit (1978)
  • Endangered Species (1980)
  • Magentalane (1981)


Tropes found within the band's history:

  • Anonymous Band: At first, but the band eventually credited themselves after being mistaken for a Beatles reunion.
  • Based on a True Story:
    • "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" was inspired by World Contact Day, an event staged on March 15, 1953 by a group called the International Flying Saucer Bureau. Everyone was encouraged to join in sending a telepathic message into space that began "Calling occupants of interplanetary craft" and ended with the phrase "We are your friends."
    • "Sub-Rosa Subway" is about Alfred Ely Beach and his failed attempt to build a subway in New York in 1870, 34 years before the city's subway system finally opened.
  • Boléro Effect: The "to Brahmsian tunes" coda of "Sub-Rosa Subway".
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  • Brainwashed: The fate of any citizens who challenged claims of national superiority in "Long Live Politzania".
  • California Collapse: The subject of "California Jam".
  • Concept Album: Hope.
  • Innocent Aliens: "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" is about the hope that they will visit Earth and fix all our problems.
  • Klaatu Barada Nikto: Quite obviously.
  • Last of His Kind: The Lighthouse Keeper from Hope, who watched his race destroy itself in war.
  • Market-Based Title: Capitol retitled their first album to the band's name in the US because they thought the reference was too obscure (3:47 P.M. Eastern Standard Time being the time Klaatu's saucer landed in Washington in The Day the Earth Stood Still).
  • Self-Titled Album: Subverted, as stated on Market-Based Title.

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