Try to Remain Anonymous and Someone Will Call You The Beatles

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So what do Klaatu, Gort, and Ringo have in common? Klaatu and Gort came into pop culture back in 1951 when Gort and Klaatu arrived from space to tell humans to get along in a movie called The Day the Earth Stood Still. Klaatu was the humanoid and Gort was the huge humanoid robot. Ringo Starr?

Klaatu, Gort, and Ringo

Ringo’s 1974 album, Goodnight Vienna, shows him on the cover as Klaatu—Gort is played by Gort. Obviously this is one of the dozens of clues used by The Beatles to communicate with their fans that they had secretly reunited (two years after the release of Goodnight Vienna)  to put out an album that sounded nothing like them—especially when compared to their back-to-the-roots final days on top of the Apple building.

A quick listen to any of Klaatu’s albums will dispel the notion they have anything to do with The Beatles, but, perhaps because of fans searching for any sign of a reunion of the Fab Four, Klaatu became a footnote in Beatle history. Goodnight Vienna is certainly one of Ringo’s best albums with work by Lennon, Jim Keltner, Billy Preston, David Foster, and Harry Nilsson—among others.  And the title track was written by Lennon, not a bad pedigree. The Klaatu output is not for everyone, some of it sounding like First Class (“California Jam”) and other highly produced bands of the era.

What Is Klaatu like?

It is a shame though that it is impossible to listen to them without Beatle residue. They had five albums, starting with the sun cover, released as Klaatu, leading some to think it was the long lost Beatle album. And the album did not list the musicians; it had to be The Beatles, right? It was lucky for a trio of Canadian musicians, who sang with vaguely British accents, that some wandering fans were searching for the reunion of The Beatles, at least initially. 

Very few fans followed Klaatu past 1978’s Sir Army Suit, though the group did release two further albums—all Beatlesque of course, but nothing like the Beatles. Klaatu was made up of Dee Long, John Woloschuk, and Terry Draper—not John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr—and they made some pretty interesting albums. Who knows what might have happened had they not attempted to be anonymous as Klaatu two years after Ringo released Goodnight Vienna—a street phrase meaning “it’s all over.”



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