Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Meet the Cheatles
November 22, 2012 4:43 PM   Subscribe

In February 1964, when the Beatles played the Ed Sullivan Show, record executives in America were faced with the question of how to get a piece of the Beatlemania action. The result was an explosion of knockoff Beatles records, promising things like “The Beetle Beat”, “Beat-A-Mania” and “The Original Liverpool Sound”, credited (often in type far smaller than the famous song titles) to bands with names like The Bearcuts, The Manchesters, The Moptops and the Liverpool Kids, and featuring cover models with varyingly plausible approximations of the Beatles' haircuts, as detailed by WFMU's Gaylord Fields (SLVimeo).
posted by acb (34 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is great! I seem to remember Gaylord did a show on WFMU that was all fake Beatles music. It was awful. I couldn't listen to it. But I love Gaylord, and I dig his genuine enthusiasm about this stuff.
posted by Mothlight at 4:51 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is hilarious. I lost it at the Chipmunks. Great find, acb.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:00 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Of course "The Beatles"--as a name--was itself a pretty cheap knockoff of Buddy Holly's "The Crickets."
posted by yoink at 5:09 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember these groups! :(
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:13 PM on November 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Much funnier than I had any right to expect it to be. Thanks.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:14 PM on November 22, 2012


I have a record at home that has an artist's name and picture on the front, and contains one or two genuine songs, but the rest of the tracks are royalty-free instrumental versions. There was a record label that put out a whole series of records like this. I'll have to find it.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:33 PM on November 22, 2012


But I love Gaylord, and I dig his genuine enthusiasm about this stuff.

I can believe that. He came to London recently and DJed at the Chickfactor 20th anniversary show here, and played an amazing set. (He was going to give this talk as well, but it was cancelled due to technical problems.)
posted by acb at 5:45 PM on November 22, 2012


It's not like we were exempt from this either. All I want for Xmas is a Beatle.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:46 PM on November 22, 2012


One of those fake bands also had listed on the album cover "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "I'm Henry VII, I Am". It obviously wasn't the Stones, but could have been a proto-Herman's Hermits. Although I doubt it.
posted by DU at 6:01 PM on November 22, 2012


If they did a song about Henry the Seventh, then that does indeed sound dodgy.
posted by acb at 6:13 PM on November 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


My brother had a copy of a generic 70's compilation, '16 Greatest Hits', which included a reasonably nice cover of 'I Need You' by America..
posted by ovvl at 6:14 PM on November 22, 2012


Related: Budget Record Labels.
posted by mykescipark at 6:27 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Speaking of fake Beatles, remember Klaatu?
posted by ovvl at 6:28 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of course "The Beatles"--as a name--was itself a pretty cheap knockoff of Buddy Holly's "The Crickets."

Supposedly "The Crickets" was itself a knockoff of "The Spiders" (and they scoffed at the idea of "The Beetles").
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 7:07 PM on November 22, 2012


All songs played by The Original Artists!
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:30 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


His indignation is palpable.
posted by carter at 8:17 PM on November 22, 2012


The Knickerbockers' "Lies" is one of the best fake-Beatles songs.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:46 PM on November 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I found it. The label is "Guest Star Records":

Louis Armstrong
I'm Beginning to See the Light
It Don't Mean a Thing
with the Duke Ellington Orchestra

also featuring
JIMMY SHORE
his Voice and Trumpet
in the "HELLO LOUIE" style
[10 song titles]


It isn't instrumental, either. It's Jimmy Shore doing a really shitty impression of Louis Armstrong.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 8:55 PM on November 22, 2012


Thank you - so hilarious. I also have the album with the 4 women, The Beatle Buddies - I found it at a book sale.
posted by AnnElk at 8:57 PM on November 22, 2012


I LOVEED this. Thanks. I say that as the owner of the Beatles Chipmunks album that i actually enjoyed when I purchased it. Yes, I am that old.
posted by cccorlew at 9:25 PM on November 22, 2012


For some bizarre reason, my parents had a copy of "Bobby Vee Sings The New Sound From England" in their record collection, which otherwise consisted of Herb Alpert and the like. Unironical young me played the hell out of that record.
posted by happyroach at 10:10 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is pretty awesome. I was pretty obsessed with the Beatles in middle school and I remember having some photo history book about them that cataloged a lot of these (also Sgt. Pepper parody covers.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:58 PM on November 22, 2012


This is excellent.
posted by latkes at 10:59 PM on November 22, 2012


The US market was totally insatiable.

I used to buy any Beatles record I might see in a junk shop and once ended up with a double album that contained nothing but interviews with teenage Beatle fans outside a concert.
posted by colie at 11:22 PM on November 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


The video was brilliant by the way... what was it with the US market and the vast amount of echo on everything in those days?

Is it the case that Capitol Records even added masses of echo onto the US releases of the real Beatles songs?
posted by colie at 12:26 AM on November 23, 2012


Is it the case that Capitol Records even added masses of echo onto the US releases of the real Beatles songs?

Yes, yes they did.
posted by catwash at 12:41 AM on November 23, 2012


Does anyone else remember The Bootles? Girls group answer to
the Beatles. I remember there being a bit of a gender battle in my sixth
grade classroom...Beatles vs Bootles. I made my stand with the Beatles,
but had a secret crush on the Bootles.
posted by quazichimp at 1:23 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


'Dear lord,' I recently found myself thinking, 'I'm in my mid 30's, it's 2012, and I'm finally beginning to really like the Beatles.'
posted by item at 1:58 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the Dave Dexter info, catwash - I see that prior to wrecking the Beatles' records, he did at least produce an album called 'German Beer-Drinking Music', so he wasn't all bad.
posted by colie at 2:15 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Edited by MeFi's Own™.

My favorite in the series: Worst Toys Ever.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:15 AM on November 23, 2012


Their first album was made in 20 minutes. Their second took even longer.
posted by usonian at 5:24 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gaylord Fields forever
posted by Renoroc at 5:25 AM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Previously.
posted by broken wheelchair at 9:04 AM on November 23, 2012


Zappa said in an interview that he could never have gotten the Mothers of Invention signed in the music business of even the 1970's, but the companies were just throwing contracts at anyone who could play guitar for a while, after the Beatles success, and he got in then.
posted by thelonius at 10:18 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older "Before playing he explained the story behind the ...  |  Is his face always like that? ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments