The Beatles Wiki

READ MORE

The Beatles Wiki
Advertisement
Klaatu

Klaatu was a Canadian rock group formed in 1973 by the duo of John Woloschuk and Dee Long. They named themselves after an ambassador, Klaatu, from an extraterrestrial confederation who visits Earth with his companion robot Gort in the film The Day the Earth Stood Still. After recording two non-charting singles, the band added drummer Terry Draper to the line-up; this trio constituted Klaatu throughout the rest of the band's recording career.

In Canada, the band is remembered for several hits, including "California Jam" (1974), "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" (1976) and "Knee Deep in Love" (1980). In the U.S. "Calling Occupants" backed with "Sub-Rosa Subway" was a minor double-sided hit and their only chart entry, peaking at No. 62 in 1977.

Internationally, the group's pop-influenced style of progressive rock has led to them being known as the "Canadian Beatles".

Beatles rumour[]

Their first album, 3:47 EST (named Klaatu in the US as Capitol Records' executives found the original title too obscure), was released in September 1976, in North America. The band elected to include no photos, no individual musician credits, and no biographical information in the album package; all songs were simply listed as being written and published by "Klaatu." (Note that this collective writing credit covered songs earlier credited solely to Long or to the team of Woloschuk and Tome – even though Tome was not actually a member of Klaatu.) The album was met with moderately positive reviews but by Christmas of that year, sales had stalled.

But then, in 1977 an article published in the Providence Journal written by journalist Steve Smith, speculated that 3:47 EST could actually be a release by a secretly reunited Beatles recording under a pseudonym, leading to widespread rumours. These rumours were fueled by a number of factors, including the fact that their album was released by Capitol Records (also the Beatles' label), the lack of artist and producer credits or photographs in the album packaging, Klaatu's avoidance of public performances, and the fact that the group's vocal and musical style was reminiscent of the Beatles. In addition, Ringo Starr's 1974 album Goodnight Vienna had featured cover art with Starr appearing in place of the character Klaatu from the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. The album as a whole had a Beatlesque sound, particularly in the song "Sub-Rosa Subway." Subsequent to the Beatles rumour, the songs "Sub-Rosa Subway" and "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" became minor hits for Klaatu in 1977. "Calling Occupants" was covered by the Carpenters that same year, becoming a Top 40 hit worldwide.

While all this was happening, Klaatu were in England, recording their second album. They were somewhat aware of the situation with regard to the rumours, but did not take them entirely seriously – possibly because the UK's New Musical Express famously published an article on the Beatles-as-Klaatu theory under the title "Deaf Idiot Journalist Starts Beatle Rumour." Meanwhile, Capitol Records (who controlled the Beatles' music in the U.S.) tried to make as much of the rumours as possible, by issuing ambiguously worded statements that failed to make the band's identity entirely clear. The rumour was disproved when Dwight Douglas, program director at WWDC in Washington, D.C., checked the records at the U.S. Copyright Office and uncovered the band members' real names. After people realized that Klaatu were not the Beatles, their popularity dwindled immensely, as shown through their poor record sales after Sir Army Suit (1978).

Discography[]

Studio albums[]

  • 3:47 EST (Named 'Klaatu' outside Canada) (1976 Canada No.40, US No.32)
  • Hope (1977 Canada No.49, US No.83)
  • Sir Army Suit (1978)
  • Endangered Species (1980 Canada No.55)
  • Magentalane (1981 Canada No.26)

Compilations[]

  • Klaatu Sampler (1981)
  • Klaasic Klaatu (1982)
  • Peaks (1993)
  • Sun Set (2005)
  • Raarities (2005)
  • Solology (2009)
Advertisement