Synopsis of Pop Music

"Calling occupants of interplanetary craft,
Calling occupants of interplanetary, most extraordinary craft..."

In 1970, pop fans around the world were stunned when the Beatles disbanded. Although music lovers eagerly snapped up their subsequent solo albums, many still harbored hope that the Beatles would reunite. There were also frequent rumors during the 1970’s that they were working together. The most notorious of these focused on Klaatu, a Canadian trio who recorded pop in a Beatles-ish style. In fact, many a listener actually thought Klaatu was the Beatles, and this led to some controversy. However, this shouldn’t disguise the fact that Klaatu recorded some great pop music.

The members of Klaatu were all friends who had played together in bands since high school. By the 1970’s, they were studio musicians who wanted to record their own music but also wanted to stay anonymous. They took the name ‘Klaatu’ from the heroic alien in the 1950’s sci-fi classic The Day The Earth Stood Still and began releasing singles in 1973. By 1976, they had developed their Beatles-ish ‘symphonic pop’ sound enough to earn a record contract and released their debut album, Klaatu. From the deep-dish psychedelia of “Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft” to the affectionate Beach Boys tribute “California Jam,” it was a feast of lush ear-candy for pop fans.

The next year, Klaatu received an unexpected boost in sales when a journalist wrote an article proposing that Klaatu were actually the Beatles working under an assumed name. Because the band members did not identify themselves on the album cover and their music sounded like the latter-period Beatles, the rumor caught on like wildfire. Klaatu began selling like hotcakes as deejays frequently spun songs from the album on the airwaves and the music press buzzed with anticipation over the idea that the Beatles were still at work. Meanwhile, the members of Klaatu kept quiet.

In the middle of this brouhaha, Klaatu released a new album, Hope. Although it contained catchy, concise pop songs like “We’re Off You Know,” it also contained complex, orchestrated songs like “Long Live Politzania” and “The Loneliest Of Creatures.” Hope also took their already-ambitious sound to a new level by linking the songs on the second side into one symphonic suite and using the London Symphony Orchestra to flesh out the sound. That same year, Klaatu got additional airplay when their past classic “Calling Occupants” was covered by the Carpenters. It became a worldwide hit, helping to keep the name ‘Klaatu’ on the lips of people everywhere.

Klaatu shifted gears in 1978 with album Sir Army Suit by trading their previously lush and orchestrated style for a series of short, punchy pop tunes. As in the past, the group still did not identify themselves. However, this changed in 1980 with the release of Endangered Species, a surprisingly hard-rocking outing that contained guitar-heavy pop-rockers like “Hot Box City” and “Paranoia.” This time, the group put their names on the album and did interviews for the first time ever to promote it. The group recorded one more album, Magentalane, before deciding to disband in 1982.

Today, all the members of Klaatu stay busy with non-music careers: Dee Long has become a successful creator of animation software, Terry Draper runs his own roofing business, and John Woloschuk is an accountant. However, they look back on their accomplishments as Klaatu with pride. They’re not the only ones: There are also plenty of pop-music fans who adore their albums and keep the spirit of the group alive. It’s easy to understand why so many pop fans still love the work of Klaatu. Their best work has a timeless quality that will always sound good to people who love pop music, even if they aren't John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Artist Release History

1976 - Klaatu
1977 - Hope
1978 - Sir Army Suit
1980 - Endangered Species
1981 - Magentalane
1992 - Klaatu/Hope
1998 - 3:47 EST

Pop Sub Categories


Essential Music Albums

Klaatu/Hope (Collector’s Choice)
Peaks: The Best Of Klaatu (Attic)

Band Members

John Woloschuk vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards
Dee Long vocals, guitar
Terry Draper vocals, drums

Other Pop Music Links