On February 9, 1964, Beatlemania officially took hold in the USA, marked by the Fab Four's triumphant appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. On February 10, record executives nationwide simultaneously sprang up from their beds itching for a piece of that action. The relatively scrupulous ones signed up any four blokes with an English accent and longish locks. The more ethically suspect execs taught some local kids how to talk like Limeys and instructed them to start combing their hair over their foreheads.
And then there were the budget-label moguls: Why bother signing a band at all when you can just cajole some cronies to record shoddily sung and hastily arranged versions of "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand," cook up a few unoriginal originals (or, easier still, just pad the disc with a few non-Beatles-sounding moldy rockers lying around somewhere), slap it in a sleeve brazenly sporting prominent moptop wigs and some permutation of the word Beat or Beetle in "Japanese Bomb Pearl Harbor"-size type, and watch the dumber kids or their myopic gift-giving grannies snatch 'em off the shelves! And thus began Mocktop Mania!
With that in mind, we introduce our first False Fabs Fight, in which we pit one of these Beatsploitation records against another. Today's Bogus Beatle Battle is a face-off between an imitator of the biggest group of the era (the Beatles, of course) and an imitator of the second-biggest group of that time. No, not the Rolling Stones, who wouldn't become huge stateside for another year or so. And not the Dave Clark Five, either, who never quite gave the Fab Four a run for their money. (There exist no Stones or DC5 lookalike album releases, after all.) Rather, it's the only other band worthy of this superstar level of record deception — Alvin and the Chipmunks!
That leads us to our combatants: The Liverpools vs. the Four Chipmunks (later known as the Wyncote Squirrels, thanks to David Seville's lawyer). With both albums being issued by the Wyncote budget division of Philadelphia's pop powerhouse Cameo-Parkway Records, we have a fair method by which to compare and contrast our two adversaries. (It also helps that both "groups" use the same backing tracks, of course.) All the non-Beatles songs on each album are not only the very same titles, they're also pretty good approximations of the Merseybeat sound, as these fly-by-night discs go — some just have sped-up trick vocals.
So, who comes out on top: fake Beatles, or fake Chipmunks doing fake Beatles? Without any further buildup, let the battle commence! (Liverpools tracks are in mono; Four Chipmunks are in stereo, which, it is hoped, gives no clear advantage to one side or another.)
Round 2: Who has the advantage when it comes to a novelty tune? You decide:
Liverpools: Hey, Quiet Down There (MP3)
Four Chipmunks aka Wyncote Squirrels: Hey, Quiet Down There (MP3)
Round 3: Sensitive and heartfelt beat ballad? Here we go:
Liverpools: Did You Ever Get My Letter (MP3)
Four Chipmunks aka Wyncote Squirrels: Did You Ever Get My Letter (MP3)