Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You've been observing Earth, and we'd like to make contact with you.

The 70s generally seem to get a bad rap for being a dark, sleazy time - the backwash of the excesses of the 60s. However, I can think of few things more bright and hopeful than the opening lines of the song "Calling All Occupants of Interplanetary Craft": "In your mind you have capacities you know, to telepath messages through the vast unknown." The song was originally written and recorded by Klaatu, which according to Wikipedia is "a Canadian progressive rock group formed in 1973 by the duo of John Woloschuk and Dee Long. They named themselves after the extraterrestrial by the same name portrayed by Michael Rennie in the film The Day the Earth Stood Still. "

The original inspiration for the song apparently was:
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!"

The Carpenters made the song famous by covering it in 1977. My personal favorite version is the Langley School Project version, but they're all pretty great. Sadly, I wasn't able to find that version on Youtube. But if you don't already own the Langley School Music Project, get it now!!!

To me, it's a celebration of the limitless possibilities presented by both space and the human mind. It ends with the triumphant declaration: "We are your friends!" It makes me dream about what could be possible if we all put our energy to doing good in the world. One time I asked a friend what she thought would happen if everyone in the world meditated at the same time. She said she thought there would be an endless, world-wide orgasm. Sounds pretty good. If you're ever feeling down or like you need an escape, lie back someplace where you can look at the stars, put this song on your headphones, and contemplate the infinite both within you and without you, in the whole universe. Of course, they're really the same thing, aren't they?

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