Most Fake Beatles songs are properly attributed to non-Beatle sources. However, there are a few that belong to one particular subset of the genre at hand but with a murkier provenance — namely, Beatles outfakes. These are tracks that, for one reason or another, are either mistaken for rare or missing actual Fab Four songs or else are presented as such, mostly by bootleggers, either carelessly or deliberately. In the first post of our series, we presented one such outfake, "Have You Heard the Word," by the Fut, which the Beatleggers would have you believe is the genuine article.
The list of Beatles outfakes range from the plausibly Beatlesque "Have You Heard the Word" to tunes that fooled only the most Beatles-starved or most credulous listeners ("L.S. Bumble Bee," by Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, for example). There is, however, one song that has been circulating among collectors for more than 30 years that still stirs up "is it or isn't it" debates — "Peace of Mind" (aka "The Candle Burns").
The most common origin myth for "Peace of Mind" posits that it was a demo recorded by John Lennon ca. 1967-68, whose lead vocals are supported on harmonies by Paul and George and instrumentally by some guitar picking, perhaps a bass, and a backward tape-loop vocal intro. As the story goes, the song was then discovered in the trash at Apple Records in 1970 — and then fell into the hands of hardy bootleggers, where it has since appeared on a number of Beatle boots in the '70s and '80s, including 20x4 and Strawberry Fields Forever (the bootlegging part is verifiable, at least).
Though a number of Beatleologists accept this version of events, welcoming "Peace/Candle" as a lost Beatles artifact of their psychedelic era, many more say its poor musical quality and meandering lyrics instead negate its veracity. In fact, others have claimed it as a lost Syd Barrett track, which has afforded it placement on Pink Floyd bootlegs as well! A third theory offers that it was the handiwork of the Apple-signed band Trash. If none of these parties is actually responsible, no one else has indeed spoken up to take credit for the song.
Listen and decide yourself: Bogus Beatles or the Real Deal? (As for where your esteemed columnist stands on the issue, cf. the title of this series.)