Dwight Douglas lived through 1969 - the year the Paul Is Dead rumor hit Beatlemania. So when he started hearing rumors that a new group called Klaatu - named after the robot in the 1951 sci-fl classic "The Day The Earth Stood Still" - was really the Beatles, it was the onset of acute deja vu.
Dwight Douglas is the program director at WWDC-FM, DC-101. Every week promotion men bring him 50 new albums to listen to. He decides what goes out over the airwaves of Washington's fourth most popular station.
Ten months ago he heard the Klaatu album. There were no names on it. No musicians listed. No songwriters. He wasn't impressed, and the record went unplayed on his station.
Meanwhile, the rumors escalated. The providence Journal ran a story headlined, "Is Klaatu The Beatles?" The article pointed out that when Paul McCartney left the stage after a Boston concert last year, he said, "See you when the earth stands still."
The record took off.. As of this week it has sold 300,000 copies, 20,000 in Washington alone, and hit No. 44 on the Billboard chart - with a bullet. WPGC, this city's most popular rock station, added it to the playlist. A local record store put ads on the radio asking, "Is it the Beatles, or is it Klaatu." The phones started lighting up at DC-101:scores of teen-agers asking the station to play "the one that's supposed to be the Beatles."
It stuck in Dwight Douglas craw.
So he climbed in his car last week and drove down to the Commerce Department, where copyrights aare filed. After half a day shuffling through papers, he discovered that the songs on the album had been copyrighted not by mystery men, but by John Woloschuk, Terry Draper, David Long and Dino Tome - four little-known session musicians who work in the Toronto Sounds Studio in Canada where the album had been recorded.
So much for the rumor.
Frank Davies, the Canadian manager of the group, says the matter is not that simple. "They are not the accurate names of the members of the group," he claims. "I'd rather not say whether the songs on the record are copyrighted in the names ss of the actual performers. I will say they are not the Beatles. We were certainly not trying to perpetrate a fraud. The members of the group spent four years on this project and wanted the music to speak for itself."
Toronto Sound Studios yesterday confirmed that the four are indeed session musicians at the studio.
As far as Douglas is concerned, the rumor is squelched, and he's still not playing the record on his stationnn. "There's a lot of other great music," he says. "And quite frankly I'm aware that the reason this record has sold is because of curiosity - not because of musicial merit."
Meanwhile, the general counsel's division of the copyright office points out that it's illegal to make a false statement on a copyright application.
For some fans, the question will doubtless persist: Is Klaatu really John, Terry, David and Dino? Despite Douglas' efforts, they'll probably keep hoping that Klaatu is John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Maybe Tom, Dick and Harry?
But remember - Paul McccCartney is still very much alive.