The First Three LPs
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 found itself stalled, sales-wise, by Christmas of that year.
However, the album had a Beatlesque sound, particularly in the song "Sub-Rosa Subway". This, coupled with the lack of biographical details offered up by Klaatu, helped inspire a rumour concocted by Providence Journal reviewer Steve Smith in February 1977 that the album might be an anonymous project by The Beatles themselves. The rumour turned into a global phenomenon with Beatle fans being fed "clues" by radio stations and print media alike.
Subsequent to the Beatles rumours, the song "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (the Recognized Anthem of World Contact Day)" became a minor hit for Klaatu in 1977. The track was covered by The Carpenters that same year, becoming a top 40 hit world wide.
While all this was happening, Klaatu was in England, recording their second album. They were somewhat aware of the situation with regards 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". Capitol Records, meanwhile, tried to make as much capital out of the rumours as possible, by issuing ambiguously worded statements that failed to make the band's identity entirely clear.
The rumour was soon 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.
The band's second album Hope, released in 1977, included orchestral contributions by the London Symphony Orchestra, and is considered by most fans to be equal, if not superior, to the first album. Sir Army Suit, their third album, is notable for the track "Silly Boys," which contains the entire lyrical portion of "Anus of Uranus" – a song from their first album – backwards-masked interspersed between the "Silly Boys" lyrics. For both these releases, the band continued their policy of not including any individual names of band members in the credits, nor did they play any live shows or make any public appearances to promote these albums.
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