Thursday, 21 February 2008

Beatle Drag

In 1964 the Beatles invaded America, and music was never the same again. Fact. But in the year before I want to Hold your Hand raced to the top spot of the US charts, the lads struggled to crack the States, releasing a slew of singles and albums on obscure imprints as Capitol, their US distributor, refused to publish their recordings. The idiots. Within weeks of their breakthrough hit and their legendary appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, they had the top five spots in the US singles charts. Beatlemania had arrived.

In the wake of that breakthrough dozens upon dozens of US companies tried to catch in on the demand for all things Beatle, releasing albums and singles by now long-forgotten bands who vaguely looked or sounded like the real thing. Parents giving in to their kid's incessant cries for new Beatles records would come hme with these dreadful records, disappointing their children and filling the recod bins at thrift stores for decades to come.

Pretty much all of these albums are terrible, but some stand head and shoulders above the others - either for their sheer ineptitude or their sheer cheek. Over the coming months I'll share a few of my favourites with you, but for now wallow in the mire created by The Buggs' Original Liverpool Sound. Yeah, right: the group came from from Nebraska and the album was recorded in Minneapolis!

Many of these albums feature just one Beatle song, padding out their half hour with a bunch of soundalike tracks and/or instrumentals. The cheek of this particular prize is that although it features mediocre covers of I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You, the rest of the album consists of Beatle-esque rip offs one of which, Liverpool Drag, is such an obvious steal from I want To Hold Your Hand that it's beyond belief that they were never sued by Northern Songs or Maclen, Lennon and McCartney's publishers.

Here, for your delectation, are the notes from the back cover, complete with spelling mistooks:

"England has invaded America! From the banks of the Mersey River, by Liverpool, England a new sound, a new beat, has gained tremendous popular acceptance. The Mersey Beat! The Liverpool Sound! Remember these names for a new trend in popular music has arrived. The year of Beetlemania. The Mersey Beat features a strong guitar rhythm attack backed with a solid beat producing a driving, stomping, rock and rolling tempo. The Kings of the Mersey Beat to date are The Beatles, followed by Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas and Jerry And The Pacemakers. In this album you will hear the original Liverpool sound recorded on location in England by The Buggs, a fast moving, well paced group that we are sure you will like."

And here we present Liverpool Drag:


  1. Have you heard the Rutles? Only they were intentionally imitating the Beatles!

  2. Hi Paul,

    I love the Rutles, the first film and the original album. the second album, Archaeology, had some good points but I hear the second film is dreadful!

  3. Greetings!
    On top of what everybody has been saying---these guys,(The Buggs)were from OMAHA,NEBRASKA!
    Despite the fact that it states on the LP:
    "Recorded In England".
    During the hey-day of the 60's British Invasion,it seemed everyone fell for this type of Beatle-exploitation.If my memory is is correct,there was another group called The Liverpools, that did the same thing. (They were from Philadelphia!


  5. 7/2/12 wrote:
    There were virtually dozens of bogus American groups in 1964-65 refering to themselves as "Beatle Exploitsation" bands usually issued by low-budget labels (Wyncote,Crown,Coronet, Diplomat,etc.)and selling for 99 cents-$1.99 in local Kresgeees & Woolworth's stores all across the nation, mistaken by parents as the real thing, when in fact they were really pale imitations. One such bogus Beatle band named "The Manchesters" were really later to be a Washington D.C. garage band named The Chartbusters in disguise (they did manage to get into the Top 100 Charts and Canadian Charts with the songs "She's The One" and "Why Dont'cha Love me Anymore" issued by Mutual Records in 1964.)Another fake Beatle band was from Canada, and managed to get one LP issued in the states on the small, independent Tide label, titled "The Canadian Beedles Five Degrees North".Another fake band hailed from Japan, and still managed to get a US record deal in the states as "The Japanese Beetles". All of these low-deal fake British bands were eventually hauled into court in October 1965 by Brian Epstien and EMI Records of Britan on the grounds of false advertising and misleading exploitation of staeling teenagers money on phony and cheap merchandise. Many of these fake Beatle bands faded from sight afterwards, but still ripping off teenagers with misleading credits and phony group names continued. Two years after Wyncote records issued two phony Beatle related albums (as the non-exsistent "Haircuts" and "The Beatle Mania") they issued two fake Monkee albums underneath the title of "Monkee Business" using the "Monkees" name without using permission from Screen Gems-Columbia (who owned the "Monkee" name)for two fake "Monkee" albums, with fake "Monkee" songs ("Saturday's Kid" and "Papa's Blue Jeans")to boot! It's weird that after these albums have been out of print after 45 years, that their collector's prices have steadly gone up from a measly 99 cents (their original retail prices) to over $50 dollars in collectors shops today to find tham in near-mint conditions.(Crown,Wyncote, and Coronet were not known to have grade-A platings for their releases, and sound even worn out when newly removed from their jackets with no inner sleeves that came with the albums originally.)Collectors will gladly shell out a lot for these phony Beatle and phony Monkee albums alone on the sheer rarity of finding them in playable condition.

  6. 7/4/12 wrote:
    The correct title of the second Chartbusters' single was titled "Why(Don'cha be my Girl?)" The group consisted of Vernon Sandusky & Bobby Poe as the leaders of the group. They were also the phony Beatle group The Manchsters (on Diplomat Records) in disguise.


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