Fake/Exploitation records

Today I picked up a peculiar Metallica record called Bay Area Thrashers - The Early Years, which I remember the band trying to stop coming out, etc. What it actually is is their infamous demo with, in true 1960’s ‘fake’ style, crowd noises added to the beginning and ends of the songs. If anyone’s heard The Thirteenth Floor Elevators ‘LIVE’ record, you’ll know it’s pretty much the same thing.

So I was wondering if anyone else has any ‘fake’ records, which might have something written on them such as

or have fake cheering to produce an ‘instant live album’.

By exploitation record, I mean one where it pretends to feature someone famous, but might only include one of their songs, or maybe their song played by someone else. You know the ones which have a photo of Elvis and the name Elvis Presley plastered across the front, with the tiny words ‘The songs of’ before it and ‘performed by Terence Fernshnorter’ after it.

There’s a long tradition of this sort of thing in the record business, and I’m sure there are examples in lots of Dopers’ collections.

King’s X put a song at the end of an album that was a cover of “Manic Depression.” Apparently they admitted that they faked the live ambiance, but I think they did just run it off live in the studio. It’s looser than their normal studio recordings. I know this isn’t a whole record, but it’s a start.

U2’s live album “Under a Blood Red Sky” is from various continents, but that’s a lot more common.

I believe Type O Negative’s Origin of the Feces album is a “fake” live album.

Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar kicks off with a fake live track called “Irresponsible Hate Anthem” which is printed in the liner notes as having been recorded on February 14, 1997. Of course, Antichrist Superstar came out in late 96 so the band wasn’t trying to fool anybody that it was a genuine live recording.

I saw an interview with the members of the shredder guitar trio G3, where they were talking about overdubs they’d done on their “live” album, because the performances weren’t good enough. I believe that’s the lamest thing I’ve ever read or heard of a musician doing. Totally challenges my ability to respect them.

Exploitation albums go way back. One classic was “The Beatles Featuring Tony Sheriden,” where the Beatles were merely Sheriden’s session band. There were one or two covers sung by John Lennon, but that was it. This was during Beatlemania, so lots of fans got ripped off.

When Jimi Hendrix hit it big, they rereleased an album where he had been a sessions musicians as “Jimi Hendrix Plays; Curtis Knight Sings.” Though Hendrix did do some good work with Knight, the earlier versions of this picked cuts at random, including many where Hendrix’s contribution was minimal (the sessions were subsequently rereleased so that Hendrix’s work was actually noticeable).

Sometimes a group would get a big name “guest artist” on a song or two. Python Lee Jackson had Rod Stewart guesting on vocals for one song on their album (“In a Broken Dream”). Ironically, it’s one of Stewart’s best songs.

I think Broadway/Musical showtune collections are particularly bad in this area. Time and again I’ll come across some 3 CD collection of “The Greatest Showtunes Ever Recorded” [sub]As sung by Refis Nebits and the Afganistan Symphony Orcestra[/sub] WTF? I don’t want to listen to some singer I never heard of. I want to hear the original singers doing the original songs!

LOL, that’s exactly right. A friend of mine bought a tape of ‘hits from the movies’ which was the same sort of thing, being theme songs from films (eg Guns and Roses song from Terminator II, or ‘Pretty Woman’) all performed by the same group of nobodies - it didn’t even mention on the tape who they were.

Fake-live records aren’t limited to rock. Duke Ellington’s biggest-selling album, Live at Newport, is actually mostly fake-live. One track was recorded live at the Newport jazz festival, but all the others were recorded in the studio the next day, with audience applause added later.

The remarkable thing is that this litle deception held up for more than forty years – the truth only came out a couple of years back, when the full live concert was remastered/reissued on CD.

Well, I’m not sure if Klaatu fits into this category… but back in the 70s, a bunch of session musicians formed a band called Klaatu, and released a couple of unsuccessful albums. But the only reason they sold ANY records is that they started a whispering campaign, a rumor that they were really the Beatles! Quite a few people bought the fairy tale that the Beatles had re-united secretly, and were recording under this alias.

ONE of Klaatu’s songs, “Calling Occupants of Interpmaetary Craft,” was later a hit for the Carpenters, of all people!

KISS has released fake live tracks. Peter Criss admitted that “Hard Luck Woman” and “Tommorrow And Tonight” from Alive II were done in the studio. When they reunited in 1996 they released a compilation of tracks from their first two live albums, plus four bonus tracks from “the vaults”. They didn’t seem to realize that 20+ years of screaming on stage had taken a toll on their voices as they tried to pass off 1996 studio tracks as live performances from 1975 and 1977.

I’m sure most live albums have the crowd noise at least beefed up a little.

In 1971, CBS Recouds released the album Grace Slick And The Great Society, Collectors’ Item. The real name of the band was The Great Society, but because Grace Slick was the vocalist, they put her name before the band’s because that would sell it.

You’ve got it all wrong. It wasn’t the group that spread the rumor – it was actually a series of articles, the first by a writer from the Providence Journal (sort of like the “Paul is Dead” rumor). The record company didn’t comment on the rumors (to boost sales, evidently). The members of the group had a thing for anonymity – their names weren’t on the album – and stayed out of it. Eventually the backlash killed them.

Which is a shame, since the first album was fairly good (Allmusic gives it four stars), with two first-class songs – “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” and “Sub Rosa Subway.” Later albums weren’t quite at that level, unfortunately. They were well-regarded enough (especially in Canada) to spawn a tribute album.

Klaatu was probably the most mismanaged act since the original Brinsley Schwartz (whose first U.S. appearance was a total PR disaster).

During 1964, there was a wave of records of Beatles songs done by non-Beatles groups. I have an LP of covers by a group called the Bugs, and the naughty record company had a photo of them on the front cover, in black and white so they peeped out of the shadows…as in the famous photo used on one of the first Beatles albums. Bad record company was probably hoping that a dumb teenager would buy the record thinking it was the Fab Four.

For many years, there has been an industry that uses classified ads to suck you into their offer to turn your poems into songs. Usually what happens is that they just put them to any music really quickly and make you pay big bucks for the record, cassette or CD with your song on it. The American Song Poem Music Archives is an interesting site that talks about this. It is at http://www.aspma.com/

(Hijack begins) One thing that annoys me is when stars of the past rerecord their hits of the past 30 or so years later, and then don’t tell on the cover of the CD/Cassette that some/all of the songs are re-recordings. I’ve been fooled by that a few times. Hey, I don’t mind that you’re still trying to make a living, but be honest about it…(Hijack ends)

One of the more egregious examples of this was an album around '67 or so advertised on TV called “Great Songs by The Original Artists.” You guessed it - the bogus GROUP was named The Original Artists and they did bogus covers. The one they did of “Lady Madonna” was especially bad.