Old Wives' Tales
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Claim: Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison once recorded a supergroup album as 'The Masked Marauders.
Origins: All too often an in-joke or obvious tongue-in-cheek reference is taken by the public as a straight story (as we know far too well from the frequent Weekly World News articles sent to us for "verification"). A notorious example of this phenomenon occurred in 1969, when a joke review of a non-existent album featuring some of rock's biggest stars was printed in Rolling Stone magazine and prompted the release of a satirical imitation, which people then mistook for the real thing!
The saga began when rock critic Greil Marcus (under the pseudonym of "T.M. Christian"), prompted by a recent Rolling Stone article about sales of a double bootleg album of unreleased Bob Dylan material ("Great White Wonder," often cited as the first bootleg record) wrote a fictitious review of another "bootleg" album entitled "The Masked Marauders" for the
As demand for the mythical record grew, Marcus and fellow Rolling Stone critic/editor Langdon Winner took the gag a step further by recruiting a group of Berkeley musicians (since claimed to have been the personnel who comprised The Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band) to record a group of songs matching those described in the review (right down to imitating the voices of the famous singers putatively involved); the tape received local radio airplay and was eventually bought by Warner Bros. music, who issued it as an album on their Reprise label. (The LP actually appeared as a Deity/Reprise record, since the faux review had listed it as a Deity release, and a single — I Can't Get No Nookie b/w Cow Pie — was issued as Deity 0870.)
Even though the record bore no pictures of the "Masked Marauders" (the cover merely featured a photograph of a woman) and contained no identifying information about them on its outer sleeve, it's hard to believe that even those who hadn't read the review could have been taken in by the hoax. Mick Jagger complaining "I Can't Get No Nookie"? Bob Dylan warbling the 50's
Mistaken they were, and eventually Rolling Stone itself exposed the whole thing. That the public's gullibility knew no bounds was demonstrated all over again several years later, when the 1976 debut album by a group of Canadian studio players called Klaatu, which similarly lacked any photographs or information about the group itself, was widely rumored to have been a new Beatles album.
An odd postscript to this story would be to note that in 1988, George Harrison formed a Marauders-like band named the Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne, all of whom were identified with pseudonyms using the surname 'Wilbury' on the album sleeve.
Additional Information: Hear a bit of the Marauders and their Mick Jagger sound-alike performing "I Can't Get No Nookie":
Last updated: 15 May 2007
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