Wednesday, April 04, 2007

They Weren't the Beatles eh!

Today in Music History:

In 1964 the top five slots on the 'Billboard' chart are held by the Beatles, a feat never before or since matched.

Klaatu is the central character of the 1951 science fiction film The Day The Earth Stood Still, but KIaatu is also the name of a Canadian rock group from the seventies. In the movie,Klaatu thought that peace and silence were eloquent enough to speak for themselves. In the music world, the rock group, Klaatu, was naive enough to think that their music would speak for itself so they remained anonymous. No writing credits, other than "Klaatu" were given on their early recordings. No biographical information was furnished to the record company that signed them and the group made no public appearances.
The band's first album, self-titled in the United States, but titled 3:47 EST in Canada (after the exact time the spaceship in The Day The Earth Stood Still landed in Washington) begins with the song, "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem of World Contact Day)," which was covered a year later by The Carpenters. The album is a well-crafted, multi-layered rock album with Beatle-esque harmonies, a McCartney-type bass line, and a strong, Ringo-like, boom-pa-pa-boom beat.

In 1977 Steve Smith, a writer for the Providence Journal in Rhode Island, wrote an article titled "Could Klaatu Be the Beatles? Mystery Is a Magical Mystery Tour." The article began the rumor that Klaatu was "more than likely either in part or in whole the Beatles." These conjectures, fueled by a series of articles in trade magazines like Billboard created a huge amount of hype and Capitol did nothing to deny or confirm the rumors. Throughout 1977, record sales soared and radio stations ran "Is Klaatu the Beatles?" promotions.

At this time Klaatu was in England recording the follow-up album Hope With the London Symphony Orchestra. Upon returning to Canada, the band delivered their finished master tape to Capitol Records who wanted to milk the rumour a while longer and delayed the album's release. Neither Klaatu nor Capitol would deny or endorse the theory causing Rolling Stone magazine to declare them 1977's "HYPE OF THE YEAR". This allowed the band another two months to remix the symphony segments which they weren't happy with. Hope was the first album by Capitol Records to ever receive worldwide simultaneous release - an achievement the Beatles never attained. Meanwhile, some curious individuals visited the U.S. Library of Congress and researched the copyright on the songs. After seeing registrations for three unknown Canadians, the "KLAATU is THE BEATLES" charade was over, it wasn't the Beatles after all, it was Terry Draper (songwriter, vocalist, drummer), John Woloschuck, and Dee Long. Immediately, their record sales declined, and due to a backlash generated by the Beatles hoax their four subsequent albums went largely unnoticed and the group called it quits in 1981.

The amount of clues that people found on the album that supposedly pointed to the Beatles was amazing. They were looking hard and reading way to much in some of these clues, desperately wanting the rumour to be true. Scrounging across the web I have picked out a bunch that have been listed on several sites.
# 1. The record was on Capitol records, the American record company that had released most of the Beatles' records in the US.
# 2. The record had no names of band members listed on it anywhere.
# 3. The record had no producer name on it anywhere. It simply said, "Produced by Klaatu."
# 4. The record had no songwriter credits other than simply, "All selections composed by Klaatu."
# 5. The record has a mysterious publisher listed. It says, "All selections published by Klaatu ASCAP/CAPAC." (The US re-issue in 1981 says the songs are published by Welbeck Music Corp/ASCAP and MCA Music/ASCAP)
# 6. CAPAC (see clue number 5) is the Canadian equivalent of America's ASCAP and Britain's BMI and John Lennon had recently been rumored to be moving to Toronto Canada since the US was trying to deport him.
# 7. The record had no pictures of band members on it anywhere.
# 8. On a couple of songs (Calling Occupants, Sub-Rosa Subway) the vocals sound like Paul McCartney & John Lennon.
# 9. The name Klaatu is taken from the movie "The Day The Earth Stood Still" in which the alien named Klaatu tells his robot Gort to stop hurting people with the command, "Klaatu barada niktu!" On Ringo Starr's Goodnight Vienna album Ringo is seen coming out of the spaceship from that movie and is standing next to Gort.
# 10. The song title, Sub-Rosa Subway was thought to be a take off on Paul's Red Rose Speedway.
# 11. In Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III there is the line, "he's the only man who's ever been to hell and come back alive." Some people thought that this was a reference to the Paul is Dead rumor which states that Paul died in 1966 in a car crash and was replaced with a look-alike making it seem like he had come back alive.
# 12. While there are 8 trees pictured right at the very bottom of the front cover of the band's first album, only 7 have their roots showing. There are 7 letters in the name Beatles.
# 13. On the back cover of the first album is a two colored planet. Some took this to be an allusion to Paul's album, "Venus and Mars".
# 14. On Abbey Road the Beatles sing about the "Sun King". The Klaatu album covers all have a picture of the sun on them.

And these are only a few. People had conjured up a whole rat's nest of clues, with some of them being pretty far fetched. Now with all that hype, the fact remains that the first two Klaatu albums, 3:47 EST and Hope are pretty darn good and should belong in every one's collection. The first track here actually started out as Hanus of Uranus in 1973. By the time the first album was released it became Anus of Uranus.

Anus of Uranus
by Klaatu
Buy It

We're Off You Know by Klaatu
Buy It

Sell Out, Sell Out by Klaatu
Buy It

Funny Toon