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August 5, 2021 4:35 pm  #1


Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

There’s no doubt The Beatles were among the greatest – if not THE greatest – band in modern music history. So it’s no surprise that some record companies constantly tried to compare their latest acts to the Fab Four. I remember a few occasions when both promotion people and disc jockeys tried to say one group or another sounded just like John, Paul, George & Ringo. And for the most part, they really didn’t. While it might have been possible to mimic their sound on the occasional record, the material simply could never approach the Lennon-McCartney magic.
 
Here are a few songs I remember hearing on the radio back in the 60s & 70s that drew comparisons to the mop-tops – and in one case, they even went so far to claim that one of them might be The Beatles recording under another name.
 
So You Are A Star – Hudson Bros.

It’s hard to believe anyone could claim these guys – who had their own kids’ show for a while – could ever be on the same level as The Beatles. But I suppose if you listen with half an ear, this tune was as close to their harmonies as they ever came. Actually, I really like the record. But Beatle-worthy? That’s a stretch.


                                                  
Lies – Knickerbockers

It definitely wasn’t a coincidence that these one hit wonders tried to sound like the Beatles. They perhaps came closer than anyone but never really made the charts again.
 


 
Come & Get It - Badfinger
 
The group name came from an alternate title for “A Little Help From My Friends” and the song was written by Paul McCartney, who helped sign the group to the Apple label. Small wonder that they sounded like him on the hit.




 Calling Occupants - Klaatu

Remember when this bizarre tune came out in 1976? Disc jockeys were speculating openly on air that it was a reunited Beatles who were making the music and that “Klaatu” was just a made-up pseudonym. I never thought it sounded anything like them, but I guess the rumors helped sell more records.
 



 Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. (There’s not much else in there!) Were there other songs or groups that were hyped as supposedly the Beatles in disguise?

Last edited by aflem (August 5, 2021 7:42 pm)

 

August 5, 2021 6:49 pm  #2


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

aflem wrote:

There’s no doubt The Beatles were among the greatest – if not THE greatest – band in modern music history. So it’s no surprise that some record companies constantly tried to compare their latest acts to the Fab Four. I remember a few occasions when both promotion people and disc jockeys tried to say one group or another sounded just like John, Paul, George & Ringo. And for the most part, they really didn’t. While it might have been possible to mimic their sound on the occasional record, the material simply could never approach the Lennon-McCartney magic.
 
Here are a few songs I remember hearing on the radio back in the 60s & 70s that drew comparisons to the mop-tops – and in one case, they even went so far to claim that one of them might be The Beatles recording under another name.
 
So You Are A Star – Hudson Bros.

It’s hard to believe anyone could claim these guys – who had their own kids’ show for a while – could ever be on the same level as The Beatles. But I suppose if you listen with half an ear, this tune was as close to their harmonies as they ever came. Actually, I really like the record. But Beatle-worthy? That’s a stretch.


                                                  
Lies – Knickerbockers

It definitely wasn’t a coincidence that these one hit wonders tried to sound like the Beatles. They perhaps came closer than anyone but never really made the charts again.
 


 
Come & Get It - Badfinger
 
The group name came from an alternate title for “A Little Help From My Friends” and the song was written by Paul McCartney, who helped sign the group to the Apple label. Small wonder that they sounded like him on the hit.




 Calling Occupants - Klaatu

Remember when this bizarre tune came out in 1976? Disc jockeys were speculating openly on air that it was a reunited Beatles who were making the music and that “Klaatu” was just a made-up pseudonym. I never thought it sounded anything like them, but I guess the rumors helped sell more records.
 



 Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. (There’s not much else in there!) Were there other songs or groups that were hyped as supposedly the Beatles in disguise?

Well, maybe The Hudson Bros. were Beatle-worthy to some degree because Ringo worked with Mark Hudson as both a composer and producer on nine of his solo albums. And I don't recall Klaatu's Calling Occupants as being the catalyst for Beatles comparisons, as opposed to remembering it as a really bad Carpenters cover. I think the Klaatu song that sparked The Beatles comparison was Sub-Rosa Subway and, yeah, I can still understand why.



 

 

August 6, 2021 12:56 pm  #3


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

Roman wrote:

And I don't recall Klaatu's Calling Occupants as being the catalyst for Beatles comparisons, as opposed to remembering it as a really bad Carpenters cover. I think the Klaatu song that sparked The Beatles comparison was Sub-Rosa Subway and, yeah, I can still understand why.

I think that the whole Klaatu album (originally titled 3:47 EST) was originally what got the rumours going, but yes, that song in particular was much more Beatlesque and was what I first heard on American stations. I also heard it played here before Calling Occupants, although the first song I ever heard by them was California Jam which was a minor Canadian hit for them back in 1974. That was when I saw them perform on Keith Hampshire's Music Machine on CBC ... when I read that a Providence journalist had put forward the possibility that they might be the Beatles, I found it kind of ironic that there were a lot of people like me who could have told him otherwise. As for Calling Occupants, what ended up happening is that it combined with Sub-Rosa Subway as a minor double-sided hit in the US (reaching #62). I think that's what brought it to the attention of the Carpenters, who got to #32 with it. 
But it's kind of ironic that around the same time, we had the real thing here ... a band that were doing their best to sound like the Beatles and who ended up having a hit of their own in the process. I thought it was quite good. 


 

 

August 6, 2021 1:11 pm  #4


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

Lorne wrote:

Roman wrote:

And I don't recall Klaatu's Calling Occupants as being the catalyst for Beatles comparisons, as opposed to remembering it as a really bad Carpenters cover. I think the Klaatu song that sparked The Beatles comparison was Sub-Rosa Subway and, yeah, I can still understand why.

I think that the whole Klaatu album (originally titled 3:47 EST) was originally what got the rumours going, but yes, that song in particular was much more Beatlesque and was what I first heard on American stations. I also heard it played here before Calling Occupants, although the first song I ever heard by them was California Jam which was a minor Canadian hit for them back in 1974. That was when I saw them perform on Keith Hampshire's Music Machine on CBC ... when I read that a Providence journalist had put forward the possibility that they might be the Beatles, I found it kind of ironic that there were a lot of people like me who could have told him otherwise. As for Calling Occupants, what ended up happening is that it combined with Sub-Rosa Subway as a minor double-sided hit in the US (reaching #62). I think that's what brought it to the attention of the Carpenters, who got to #32 with it. 
But it's kind of ironic that around the same time, we had the real thing here ... a band that were doing their best to sound like the Beatles and who ended up having a hit of their own in the process. I thought it was quite good. 


 

I once interviewed Liverpool after they morphed into a band called Aerial that did original material. It's kind of coincidental that you mentioned them because I hadn't thought about them in years until the other day when I was listening to an old mix tape and the Aerial song "Easy Love" came on. It's a really good tune and someone must have been spinning it in Toronto back in the day, but I don't have a clue who.
 

 

August 6, 2021 1:27 pm  #5


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

And then there was that weird Stars on 45 mix that attempted to disco-fy the Beatles. (If that's a word.) At least they weren't pretending about who they tried to sound like. 

     Thread Starter
 

August 6, 2021 1:43 pm  #6


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

Roman wrote:

I once interviewed Liverpool after they morphed into a band called Aerial that did original material. It's kind of coincidental that you mentioned them because I hadn't thought about them in years until the other day when I was listening to an old mix tape and the Aerial song "Easy Love" came on. It's a really good tune and someone must have been spinning it in Toronto back in the day, but I don't have a clue who.

Yes, I debated about mentioning that they were talented enough that they ended up changing their sound and consequently their name to reflect that. Easy Love didn't chart on CHUM, but I remember them playing it. I wouldn't be surprised if CFTR did so as well. 

 

August 6, 2021 5:53 pm  #7


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

I always thought that Stuck In The Middle with You by Steeler's Wheel sounded very Beatlesque.

 

August 6, 2021 9:34 pm  #8


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

The Raspberries had a Beatlesque sound on Go All The Way and I Wanna Be With You (maybe other records as well, but those are the only two that I know by them).

And then there was Julian Lennon. When I first heard Valotte on a radio at work, I didn't hear who had done it -- and I thought that it was an old John Lennon song that had just been released. The fact that this had actually happened earlier in the year with the Milk and Honey album was ironic, and certainly made it easy for me to think that this was the case. 

 

August 7, 2021 7:51 am  #9


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

I always thought Gilbert O'Sullivan sounded like Paul McCartney and Billy Swan sounded like Ringo.

 

August 7, 2021 9:27 am  #10


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

Emitt Rhodes sounded like McCartney solo. I thought the Who on The Kids Are Alright were very Beatlesque. From my new wave era days, Squeeze sounded very Beatlesque. 

 

August 7, 2021 9:37 am  #11


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

Tears For Fears deliberately channelled the Beatles on Sowing The Seeds Of Love. And I just thought of a special case: George Harrison's retro Beatles-style song, When We Was Fab, which included Ringo on drums and backing vocals. 

 

August 9, 2021 12:13 pm  #12


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

Lorne wrote:

Roman wrote:

I once interviewed Liverpool after they morphed into a band called Aerial that did original material. It's kind of coincidental that you mentioned them because I hadn't thought about them in years until the other day when I was listening to an old mix tape and the Aerial song "Easy Love" came on. It's a really good tune and someone must have been spinning it in Toronto back in the day, but I don't have a clue who.

Yes, I debated about mentioning that they were talented enough that they ended up changing their sound and consequently their name to reflect that. Easy Love didn't chart on CHUM, but I remember them playing it. I wouldn't be surprised if CFTR did so as well. 

And since the internet seems to be bereft of information on Liverpool and Aerial, as a public service initiative here's the interview I did with them in 1980. Whether it's legible is a different matter. One faux pas that I now note is my failure to mention the Liverpool chart entry Dolly, which you alluded to.
https://i.postimg.cc/0NxPJhtK/Aerial.jpg

 

Last edited by Roman (August 9, 2021 12:15 pm)

 

August 9, 2021 12:52 pm  #13


Re: Groups That Supposedly Sounded Like The Beatles

Thanks, Roman ... that was interesting to read. Here's another site with some info about the group(s).
https://brianmiessner.com/bio

 

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