The Flame: See the Light (1970)

 |   |  2 min read

The Flame: See the Light (1970)

Even during their lifespan there were always records which were attributed to the Beatles. The suggestion was that they might put out a single anonymously just to see if it would chart -- or there were the famous bootlegs of "the Beatles with Bob Dylan".

After they broke up in 1970 there were any number of rumours that they had reformed under an assumed name. The most famous was Klaatu in 1976 whose self-titled album appeared on the former Beatles US label Capitol. 

Klaatu might have disappeared if it hadn't been for a Rhode Island DJ playing an album track and people phoning in to ask if it was the Beatles. As with the "Paul is dead" rumour, things took off from there and people scoured the album cover and songs for clues.

The album sold 300,000 copies in eight weeks, doubtless spurred on when an Australian DJ said this was the missing Beatles album entitled Sun, and if you played the track Sub Rosa Subway (a parody of the McCartney album Red Rose Speedway?) backwards and at different speeds and tweaked the sound through filters this message could be heard: "It's us, the Beeeeeatles". 

Mysteriously no names were credited on the album and Capitol said they'd never actually met the band, the tapes were brought in by their manager Frank Davies, who refused to deny it was the Beatles. As he would.

Klaatu -- whose identitles were later reveaaled -- went on to release five albums, and that mysterious debut sprung the minor hit Calling Occupants of Interplanatery Craft for the Carpenters.

But years before Klaatu another band briefly enjoyed this "is it them?" story.

The Flame's See the Light b/w Get Your Mind Made Up had people wondering aloud: it certainly sounded like the Beatles from their Daytripper period and the vocals were a little McCartney-like. Then there was that ending which suggested Hello Goodbye . . .

Again in the absence of much information people speculated.

Listened to today it is clearly not the Beatles, but that didn't matter when rumour fuelled the discussion.

Ironically Flame (who enjoyed no subsequent career) had an interesting story in themselves: they were from South Africa (where they were The Flames) and their drummer was voted the best in the country. They moved to London in '68, were picked up by Beach Boy Carl Wilson who produced their See the Light single and sole album . . . and they broke up.

Two of them -- that drummer and the singer -- joined the Beach Boys' touring band.

The singer was Blondie Chaplin who has for many years been one the Rolling Stones' backing singers . . . and the drummer?

Well, he was Ricky Fataar who has become a well-known session musician, has worked in the production or co-production end with Crowded House, Jenny Morris and others, is in Bonnie Raitt's touring band and -- here is the amusing irony -- was Stig O'Hara (George Harrison) in The Rutles film and on the soundtrack played guitar, sitar, drums and sang.

So not quite a Beatle, but definitely just one step removed. 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with a backstory see From the Vaults

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Elton John: Madman Across the Water (1970)

Elton John: Madman Across the Water (1970)

During the sessions for his excellent country-rock album Tumbleweed Connection (an Essential Elsewhere album, see here), Elton John recorded this nine minute version of the menacing and moody... > Read more

The Inhalers: Nico on a Bike (1990)

The Inhalers: Nico on a Bike (1990)

When Nigel Beckford of Wellington got in touch two years ago about the album by the band Sven Olsen's Brutal Canadian Love Saga, he opened a door into a very strange and wonderful world. That... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Charles Lloyd Quartet: Rado de Nube (ECM/Ode)

Charles Lloyd Quartet: Rado de Nube (ECM/Ode)

The rehabilitation and resurrection of saxophonist Lloyd is outlined elsewhere at Elsewhere (see tag) but in brief it goes like this: he made huge selling album in the late 60s which was embraced... > Read more

TWO TRAINS RUNNIN', a doco by SAM POLLARD

TWO TRAINS RUNNIN', a doco by SAM POLLARD

This extensive 90 minute doco turns back time to America in the early Sixties when segregation was endemic, Northern white folk singers were becoming engaged by obscure and rare country blues by... > Read more