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Klaatu: The Magical Mystery Beatle Band? Rumor Crazed Fans Cry "Let It Be!"
The true story of a band

 
In 1976 the rumor mill about a possible Beatles reunion almost boiled over. Hardly a week passed in which no news about the upcoming reunion of the Fab Four was spread. In the midst of this hustle and bustle, the release of the LP "Klaatu" by an unknown group of the same name burst on August 3rd, 1976. On the album cover, the attached texts, there was no further information about the members of the band or the composers of the group. The record had a nice cover and the music itself had the quality of good to very good prog music. Nevertheless, the publication would have gone under if the American journalist Steve Smith had not expressed his opinion in a newspaper published in Providence, Rhode Island that Klaatu was the Beatles. He put forward the thesis that Klaatu were either the Beatles themselves or the Beatles and musician friends. In the days that followed, this message spread across the continent and self-proclaimed Beatles researchers searched for possible clues as they did 7 years earlier in the "Paul Is Dead" episode.
 
These were found very quickly - the name of the group goes back to a robot character who appeared in the American film "The Day The Earth Stood Still" in 1951. Ex-Beatle Ringo Starr used a scene from the film in 1974 as the cover for his album "Goodnight Vienna". The film ended with the line "Don't Forget: Klaatu Borad Nikto". If the viewer took a closer look at the cover, he saw a shining sun on the front, which alluded to "Good Day Sunshine" or "Here Comes The Sun" depending on the point of view. The reverse, on the other hand, showed the counterpart with a night scene and the moon and thus clearly alluded to "Good Night" from the White Album. However, the 5 mushrooms on the front cover had an even clearer effect, 4 of them enjoyed the best flowering and one was unbent. If that wasn't a hidden clue. Were the members of the Beatles not affectionately referred to as mushroom heads in the sixties and not the former Beatles Stuart Sutcliffe died in Hamburg in 1962! In the songs "Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III" and Little "Neutrino" with "The End" and "Good-night" the lyrics on the inner cover clearly cite two Beatles titles from the late creative phase of the Beatles. Ian Ballon even cited 150 pieces of evidence in No. 13 of the "Beatles Unlimited" fanzine for the theory that Klaatu were the Beatles. Including the claim that the LP "Klaatu" was the Beatles' long-lost album "Sun". The record was also played backwards and in the song "Sub Rosa Subway" the beatologists found the secret message "It's Us, it's the Beeeeeeeatles. Some saw allusions in the songs" Sub-Rosa Subway "and" Doctor Marvello " on the LP "Red Rose Speedway" by Paul McCartney's Wings or on the song Dr. Roberts from the Beatles album "Revolver." On top of that, the record was of course released on Capitol Records, the American label of the Beatles individual members of the Beatles were silent about it. Klaatu took advantage of the excitement about the record and the album sold over 300,000 copies in the US alone. This was enough for 11 weeks and a number 32 as the highest rating on the Billboard charts. Rosa Subway made it into the charts for 6 weeks, but only managed to reach number 62.
 
In September 1977 the group's second album "Hope" was released. It was designed as a concept album that portrayed the fascist dictatorship on an alien planet. The basic structure made it much darker and more oppressive than the previous record. Due to its broad structure, the album naturally reminded Beatles connoisseurs of the Beatles masterpieces "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Abbey Road". This time, too, the concept was retained. In addition to an artistically high-quality artwork - characteristic of all Klaatu products - the texts were once again on the inside cover. However, this time too, no further details about the group or the songwriter were given. In an advertisement for "Hope" cleverly alluded to the myth about the band: "Klaatu is an English Band from Birmingham, England. Klaatu is four well know musicians attempting to wrap their collaborative work together in a cloak of secrecy ". And again many were of the opinion that the musicians would clearly sound like Paul, John, George and Ringo. In particular the voice on some pieces was striking to Paul McCartney, maybe because the interest waned, maybe also because the music was more demanding than the group's debut album, Hope stayed in the top 100 for only 7 weeks with a 83rd place as the top spot.
 
In August 1978, "Sir Army Suit" was the group's third long-playing record. Information about musicians, producers and composers was still not given. The Australian author John Squire saw in his work "Under Assumed Name", which was self-published in a small number of editions, in the title of the work an allusion to the film "How I┬┤Won The War" from 1966 in which John Lennon played a small role . In this film, John Lennon drops the phrase "Could Sir Army Suit be a reference to this film?"
He saw further evidence of the Beatles in the fact that George Harrison played with the Beatles for the first time in the Salvation Army Hall in Liverpool, the Beatles wore army clothing in both the films "Help" and "Magical Mystery Tour".
The speculations about a reunion of the Beatles had come to a complete standstill after their high phase in the mid-1970s. Only a few took part in the discussions about the members of the band Klaatu. This was the first time the band ventured a little public. Different people can be clearly seen on both the front and the back of the plate. Among other things, a woman with a headscarf. On closer inspection, the viewer sees that it is clearly Queen Elizabeth II. Of course it has nothing to do with the production of the album. But the other people do. The first 3 people who lead a long line of people on the back are John Woloschuk (vocals, keyboards, bass, acoustic guitar), Terry Draper (vocals, drums, percussion) and Dee Long (vocals, keyboards, guitar) . Although the band played with their characters, they still did not reveal themselves completely.
 
This should only happen on the fourth record of the band "Endangered Species". On this record, the content of which was about the preservation of a threatened environment, the members sent a signed message to their listeners, in which they urged them to take an active part in protecting nature. "Endagered Species" was released in June 1980 and also achieved like the previous album no hit parade placement in the top 100. The mystery of Klaatu was solved, even if some Beatles fans are still of the erroneous opinion that this group is the reunited Beatles. But what was the real story of the group now?
 
The origins of Klaatu go back to the late sixties. The Canadian musicians Terry Draper, John Woloschuk and Dee Long met for the first time at a concert in Toronto. All three musicians played in different bands and in 1971 worked together for the first time in a band project called "Mudcow". However, this collaboration only lasted about a year. When the band, to which the musician Jamie Bridgman still belonged, broke up, the project "Klaatu" slowly but surely developed. Terry Brown worked in a Toronto studio during the day and used the space to record with Klaatu at night.
 
As a first track, the band recorded the song "Hanus of Uranus". Together with the track "Sub Rosa Subway" the group released it in 1973 as their first single in Canada. Neither this single nor the following "Dr. Marvello / For You Girl" could achieve a success worth mentioning. Only the single "California Jam" was able to achieve minor successes on some radio stations. Through this single, the American Capitol Records became aware of the band. For the LP, the band used a few pieces from the early days of the group, so that the production time basically extends from January 1973 to January 1976. While the group was still recording their second album "Hope" in June 1976, the Beatles rumor surfaced and the band was suddenly known beyond the borders of Canada. Even German teen magazines like "Bravo", "Pop" or "Musikexpress" reported on the event: Klaatu benefited from the publication to a decisive extent, not only financially but also artistically. Suddenly there was money to revise the upcoming "Hope" project. A whole year, from June 1976 to June 1977, the group could now devote themselves to the recordings for their second album. Shortly after the recording was completed, the English duo "The Carpenters" released their cover version of the song "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft" from their first album. Their version was able to stay in the English charts for 9 weeks and reach ninth place. In the USA, on the other hand, the Carpenters only reached position 32, but remained in the charts for 14 weeks.
Although the musicians were very well received by the critics, the band could not hold their own on the international market. The desperate attempt to write many potential single hits for the upcoming album "Sir Army Suit", which was released in August 1978, led to a loss of musical quality, although the band worked uninterruptedly in the studio from August 1977 to May 1978. However, the work was overshadowed by tension with producer Terry Brown. Instead of the offer to have a film made about the story of "Hope", the band decided to have a video made for the recording "A Routine Day". With this record, Klaatu said goodbye to prog rock and switched to the league of pop music. "Dear Christine" in particular became a catchy tune over time, but in 1978 it was completely lost in the disco wave.
 
After the failure of "Sir Army Suit", the record company wanted to gain more control over the production. The previous producer Terry Brown was exchanged for Christopher Bond and more studio musicians were hired for the next album "Endangered Species". Compared to earlier recording sessions, the recording time from September 1979 to December 1979 was downright modest. Klaatu could only partially live out their ideas. While the recordings were expanded with the overdubs of the studio musicians, Terry Draper almost got into the role of a viewer who was no longer allowed to play on his own record. The finished result appeared in June 1980, but without leaving a lasting impression on the audience.
 
Capitol Records had initially lost interest in the band due to the two failures. In the spring of 1981, however, those in charge of the company approached the musicians again and offered them a new contract. The band regained their artistic freedom, but in return undertook not to remain anonymous and to go on tour. After the record was released in October 1981, the group played from November 10th. - 11/24/1981 on tour. They played in the opening act for the band "Prism", which was regularly played on the wall by the band. "Magentalene" was a much better record than the two previous albums, but could not follow up on the successes of "Klaatu" and "Hope" either. For the first time, the three musicians behind Klaatu were depicted on the inner cover, and so did not show any resemblance to the Beatles. However, John Woloschuk was identified as the singer with the Paul McCartney voice. Since the record was only released in Canada, hardly anyone outside the country's borders noticed the band's last product
Dee Long left the group at the beginning of 1982. After another tour with session musicians, Draper and Woloschuk broke up the band that same year. Capitol Records released the sampler "Klassic Klaatu" for the tour in 1982, which was released in 1993 in an expanded version as CD "Peaks".
 
That almost ends the story of Klaatu, but only almost. Because in 1988 the band reunited. And exactly where the story of the Beatles began, the story of Klaatu should end. In Germany, more precisely in German "Tatort", the popular ARD crime series. Over time, the band members had accumulated quite a bit of debt. The offer to record a new song for an episode of Tatort must have come at just the right time. This is how "Woman" came about. The song was released as a single, maxi and single CD in a total of 3 versions, curiously on the Polydor label on which the Beatles recorded their first professional pieces together with Tony Sheridan.
"Woman" has nothing to do with the compositions of the same name by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Unfortunately, he was also unsuccessful in the German charts, so that Klaatu broke up again. This time it was a dissolution forever. Except for the Klaatu concert in 2005 - World Contact Day, the band never got back together.
 
Terry Draper said goodbye to music and became a roofer, John Woloschuk works in the music industry and Dee Long worked in George Martin's Air Studio as an engineer with Paul McCartney, among others.
 
It is true that Klaatu were not the Beatles and no Beatle has ever played a note on a Klaatu LP. Nevertheless, Klaatu's music can be seen as versatile, interesting and strongly influenced by the music of the Beatles.
 
  • Discography
    1976 - 3:47 AM EST   Over time, Klaatu's albums first appeared on CD on Capitol Records. Today the rights to the recordings are held by Bulleye in Canada. The company put a lot of effort into restoring the artwork and mixing the CDs.
    The 3 recordings of the "Woman" CD single are with Polydor and for this reason should not have been included in the two collections of rarities.
    1977 - Hope
    1978 - Sir Army Suit
    1980 - Endangered Species
    1981 - Magentalans

     
  • Rarities
    2005 - Sun Set: 1973-1981
    2005 - rarities
    2009 - Solology
     
  • Greatest Hits Collections
    1982 - Klassic Klaatu
    1993 - peaks
     
    The tribute album "Around The Universe in 80 Minutes" was also released by Bulleye
     
  • Official Website:http://www.klaatu.org/