Back in 1976, a collection of desperate fans figured that they had caught out The Beatles issuing new music under a secret new guise. The band was named Klaatu and when they released their debut record 3:47 EST the cover offered no names to credit, and a sound akin to The Beatles had they stayed together and entered prog-rock. The problem with this theory regarding The Beatle-esque psychedelia on the mysterious Klaatu record is that none of the band members were either Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison or Ringo Starr.
Nevertheless, the whole Klaatu fan theory debacle did reveal one thing for certain—the legacy of The Beatles was never going to fade, their heirloom was always set to be fevered. As one fan remarked when news broke of their breakup on April 10th, 1970: “Nobody will ever replace The Beatles. It’s just one Beatles group. We grew up with them. They started when they were younger and we were younger, and they belong to us in a way.”
That fateful statement – “They belong to us in a way” – was part of the problem. Bob Dylan experienced it when he was introduced at the Newport Folk Festival and soon defied the notion when he went electric. An announcer introduced him by saying, “take him, you know him, he’s yours.” Dylan electrically rallies against this notion, later saying: “What a crazy thing to say! Screw that. As far as I knew, I didn’t belong to anybody then or now.”
This notion of fans pining for their heroes was also open for exploitation when the ‘Fab Four’ broke up and that has resulted in one long-enduring theory. A year after The Beatles split was made official, a young teenager named Martin Lewis created a hoax ‘Fab Four’ bootleg featuring the non-existent songs ‘Colliding Circles’, ‘Left is Right (And Right is Wrong)’, ‘Deck Chair’ and ‘Pink Litmus Paper Shirt’. He sent this high jinks off to magazines who quickly figured out what was afoot and the laughing matter was over before it even got off the ground.
However, some fans believe that Lewis actually had discovered some hidden Beatles tracks from a secret album and the press never ran with it for legal reasons after the ‘Fab Four’ caught wind of things. The logic behind the theory was that the group held back a record to cash in on their legacy should their estates fall on hard times, and they needed emergency funding. While the theory made gain some credence because the fake song names are admittedly brilliant, there isn’t a scrap of evidence beyond Lewis’ creative wit to support it.
Subsequently, Lewis admitted it was purely a prank. Also, the studio work that the band embarked upon is so well documented that there is no way anything other than a few dogeared, half-finished demos could’ve gone amiss. Nevertheless, there is no harm in fans dreaming that should the estates of the band members somehow sadly fall to folly, then ‘Pink Litmus Paper Shirt’ might be a hidden ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’.