So it’s probably around 1977 or so. I’m listing to radio station 3WD, which at that time was the coolest radio station playing all the top 40 hits, when the disc jockey announced that they had received a record in the studio – a record that may have been created by the reunited Beatles.
Okay, that got my attention.
He played some very poppy, artistic tracks from a record by a group called Klaatu. He then announced that there were plenty of similarities between Klaatu and the Beatles – both recorded on Capitol Records; Ringo Starr’s album “Goodnight Vienna” features an image of Klaatu from the film “The Day The Earth Stood Still”: and, as the disc jockey told me, “Klaatu Barada Nikto” means “We will return.”
Now of course, when you’re a teenager and you hear that there are similarities and coincidences between these things, you don’t think “coincidence” – you think “secret message.” A message coded in such a way that only the true fan will understand this.
By that argument, Elvis Presley is still alive and Paul McCartney died in a car crash in 1967. You can’t equate coincidence with planned theory. It doesn’t work. It didn’t work when the Wizard of Oz film’s soundtrack is replaced by Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, any more than when Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory‘s soundtrack is replaced by Rush’s 2112.
But Klaatu’s music was actually pretty good. Especially songs like “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” and “California Jam” and “Hanus of Uranus” and my personal favorite, “Sub-Rosa Subway.” The whole backstory about these guys being the Beatles? They were really a Canadian pop band who had some success on the True North pop charts, but never broke through in America. And of course, once some disc jockeys got it in their heads that this might be the Beatles – or if they weren’t the Beatles, perhaps they could get their radio listeners to BELIEVE they were the Beatles…
Klaatu released four more albums after “3:47 EST” (the album was self-titled “Klaatu” outside of Canada), but this debut album still remains a favorite, both for its coincidental storyline and its musical content.
Wanna hear some of these jams?
Sure you do!
Here’s “Sub-Rosa Subway,” my personal favorite on the album.
This song, “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft,” was a big hit in Klaatu’s native Canada – and was later remade into a minor pop hit by the Carpenters.
The song “California Jam” sounds more like it could have been a hit for the Beach Boys than the Beatles.
And here’s the trippy “Little Neutrino,” the final song on the album. Okay, it’s not “A Day in the Life,” but hey…
If we could only find every copy of this and bury them all at the same time… 😉
My favorite part of the story that the DJ told?
“Klaatu Barada Nikto” means “We will return.”
NOOOOOOOO. Which I’m sure nerds like you and I knew right away.
Oh yeah. That’s like trying to BUILD the coincidence.
I just found out Badfinger was mostly the Beatles…
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