Who are they?
In 1976 a rumor started circulating in the United States that the Beatles had recorded and released a new album under the pseudonym of "Klaatu" and sales of that record shot way up. The rumor went something like this:
The Beatles supposedly recorded an album in mid 1966 that was to be a follow up to Revolver but the master tapes were mysteriously "lost" from the studio. The Beatles didn't want to re-record the album as Paul had (supposedly) just died in a car accident. When Billy Shears (a Paul McCartney look alike contest winner) stepped in to fill the space left by Paul's death, the Beatles stopped touring and recorded a new album that eventually turned out to be "Sgt. Pepper." This explains the long gap between Revolver and Sgt. Pepper and also the change in musical direction. Meanwhile, in 1975, the missing masters were uncovered during research for the Beatles' story project titled, The Long And Winding Road (which eventually became 1995's Beatles Anthology) and the band decided to release the album as a tribute to the late Paul McCartney. They decided on a release with no credit shown to songwriters and no photos so that the album would sell on the merits of the music contained therein and not on any "Beatles hype" (similar to Paul giving away a song to Peter and Gordon in the early 60s called "Woman" under the songwriting name of Bernard Webb).
What were the clues that made people think that THIS album was the Beatles?
How did these rumors get started?
A Providence, RI newspaper (The Providence Journal) ran an article by a rock music writer named Steve Smith (who was actually a sports writer) which stated "Could Klaatu be the Beatles? Mystery is a Magical Mystery Tour." Smith concluded that Klaatu was more than likely in part or in whole the Beatles.
Charlie Parker at a Hartford, CT radio station (WDRC) said on air that it was, "a marvelous experience" to listen to this album and asked, "Who are Klaatu? Are the Beatles really back?" and suddenly Capitol records had to ship another 20,000 copies to that region of the country. (And actually, he didn't. He didn't have an on air show and wouldn't have had a venue to make that statement on the air.)
All this led people to think this was the Beatles. If it wasn't them, then why not put their names and their pictures on it?
Capitol Records (who still did NOT know who Klaatu even were) had their marketing department feed the rumor with all sorts of made up clues and stretches. Internal memos detail that marketing strategy. This has nothing to do with the band, and since Capitol didn't know who the band were, it also had nothing to do with reality. But why let that stop a good piece of sensationalism which can be leveraged to sell albums!?!?
The New Musical Express (a prominent music newspaper in England during the Beatles' time) ran an article with the headline, "Deaf idiot journalist starts Beatle rumour." But despite that and denials from the band (through spokesman/manager Frank Davies who stated "Klaatu is Klaatu") the rumor persisted and the band's album continued to sell in large quantities.
At the time of the rumor, the band were in England recording the "Hope" album and knew nothing about it until they returned home to Canada.
In 1980 the band came out with it's 4th album (which also ended up being the last album released in the US by them) called Endangered Species. This time the album gave us some information. It said the songs were published by Klaatoons, but it told us that the album was produced by Christopher Bond. The songs also gave writing credit to Long, Woloschuk, and Tome. Were these the names of Klaatu members? Well, songwriters doesn't necessarily mean singers/performers.
The following note was also included in the liner notes for the album:
There are three accepted definitions applied when describing the status of declining wildlife: rare, threatened and ENDANGERED SPECIES. The most recent figures published in the Red Data Book, as issued by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, indicate that there are at least 340 animals and 20,000 plants listed as endangered species.
Experts throughout the world agree that unless immediate and effective measures are implemented to protect the existence of these life forms, their final outcome will inevitably be . . . extinction.
Terry Draper, Dee Long, John Woloschuk
For more information, please contact: I.U.C.N., 1110 Morges, Switzerland"
The album also contained an address to write to the band:
P.O. Box 1030
Oak Ridges, Ontario
Canada L0G 1P0
So now we had songwriting credits to three people and a note from three people (2 of whom had been part of the songwriting credits). Are these the members of Klaatu?
Klaatu actually are:
John Woloschuk - vocals - bass - guitar - keyboards
Dee Long - vocals - guitar - keyboards
Terry Draper - vocals - drums - guitar - keyboards - slide trombone
and there is no Beatles connection on their albums at all.
("Tome" is "Dino Tome" who was a friend of John Woloschuk who sometimes helped him write some songs. He was not a member of the band.)
The above listing for question 11 originally indicated Crazy Ray was from WDRC. He wasn't.
Dean Thut, Klaatu Mailing List member and founder of Dean's Room on the Klaatu web page says:
There is an article on the web page that quotes a dj named Crazy Ray from wdrc in Waterbury Connecticut. I have always said that there never was a dj by that name on that station because I grew up listening to Big D 103( wdrc ). There was, however, a dj in this area named Crazy Jerry Christopher. I believe he was on wdrc but I`ll have to double check on that detail. Anyway............I wrote to the station manager and this is what I got. btw.................I find his company name interesting.
Thanks for your note about WDRCOBG.COM. I have seen the reference to "Crazy Ray of WDRC in Waterbury, CT," which tells me whoever wrote it was misinformed. Of course, WDRC is in Hartford, not Waterbury. The same article quotes Charlie Parker as saying "on air" what a marvelous experience the initial Klaatu LP was. That's doubtful because Charlie never did any kind of regular shift on the air. He was frequently a promo voice, but wouldn't have had a forum for making such comments.
I'm quite sure there was never a Crazy Ray at Big D so I'm afraid I can't help you.
Man From Mars Productions
My (Dave Bradley) response to this is that the information about Charlie Parker and Crazy Ray came from photocopies of newspaper and magazine articles that I have. The article dealing with Crazy Ray is shown below. I am still working on locating the original source of the Charlie Parker quote. The text of the "Crazy Ray" article appears below it's picture.
If you had your radio tuned to WDRC on the evening of Tuesday, March 1, then you probably know the story behind Klaatu. For those of you who don't, Klaatu is believed to be the Beatles under a new name. According to "Crazy Ray," a spokesman for a Waterbury radio station, "Everybody knows that Klaatu, formerly Neutrino, is a five-man Canadian progressive rock group. The album was released early last summer. Klaatu is not the Beatles but was co-produced by John Lennon. The five guys are Goose Grahm - lead vocals and guitar (I heard he's Lennon's cousin, but I'm not sure), Andy Mills - lead guitar, John Spear - bass, vocals, John Tatum - keyboard, vocals, and Edward Satriano - drums. John Lennon plays guitar and sings background vocals on three songs, but none of the other Beatles are involved in any way whatsoever." When WDRC talked with Frank Davies, the official spokesman for Klaatu, he claimed that, "Crazy Ray is crazy."
The album was published by Capitol Records Inc., the same company the Beatles used previously. Capitol Records is believed to have offered the Beatles a $150,000,000 contract to do another album. No one knows if this is the case.
WDRC investigated the origin of the group. The name Klaatu derives from a 1951 science-fiction movie entitled, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and could mean "been here before." The film was also a theme of a previous Ringo Starr album, Good Night Vienna (sic). At a Paul McCartney concert last summer (now being viewed by Hall students on dial select) his final statement was, "I will see you when the earth stands still."
There are many peculiarities about the album. For instance, there is a song entitled, Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Crafts (sic). This song mentions every planet in the solar system but Venus and Mars, which is the title of a previous best-selling Paul McCartney album. Another song on the album, Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby the Third is misspelled on the jacket as Rubblesby. If you were to define Bods, Worth, Rubbles and By, it would mean "persons of importance born of quarry". The Beatles were first known as "The Quarrymen." Subroads of Subways (sic) is a song that has a Morse code message intertwined with the lyrics. Capitol Records claims that when the code is deciphered it will reveal who the group is. When an official for DRC did that, it read, "The bugs are back." Two questions remain, is Crazy Ray really crazy - and if Klaatu is not the Beatles, then who is Klaatu?
For an analysis of this article, click here.