Editor’s Note: This article appeared as part of our April’s Fools issue.
Hey there, Perv fans. Pervis Leftarm here, back with his weekly depository of musical minutiae, Leftarm’s Lockbox.
Loyal Lockboxers will remember that last week I delved into the history of that lost gem from 1982, “Pac-Man Fever.” This week, I thought I’d take a different offramp into classic rock nostalgia: Instead of the one-hit wonder, I’d explore a no-hit wonder.
Yours truly was pawing through the racks at Santa Barbara’s number-one spot for under-the-radar music finds – the Borders on State Street- when I came upon one long-lost group’s failed attempt at commercial success. This album, the self-titled 1968 double-disc debut by a little-known group called the Beetles, proves Pervis’ first law of music: Lousy album cover equals lousy album. I mean jeez! – the whole front cover was just white.
Judging by the accents of the lads that make up the Beetles, I’d guess they were from Boston, and gosh darnit, they should have stayed there. Not one track of this nameless, white album left a dent in the mind of Mr. Pervis Leftarm. The first track, “Back in the USSR,” is a transparent rip-off of the surf-rock sound of the Beach Boys, and it only gets worse from there. I think I figured out why your guitar gently weeps, boys. It’s because you’re terrible.
In answer to the track “I’m So Tired,” I can only say that I would be tired too if I poured so much energy into making such awful, awful music. The Boston chaps fail to muster even a modicum of talent. Lead singer John Lennon certainly lacks any vocal talent, while backup members George Harrison, Saul McCartney and Luciano Mastrioni make every song seem “Long Long Long.” “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” indeed – and get hit by a car!
As far as this music maven knows, this is the Beetles’ first, last and only foray into the music world. I’d say that was a blessing if it weren’t for the single shining spot on the entire two-disc set: “Revolution 9,” a bold venture into a promising new genre of music. If only these Beetles had continued the streak that “Revolution 9” established, they might have one day left a mark in music history. If you’re hankering for some true rock from the same era, this critic recommends sticking with true stars like the Monkees.
Catch Leftarm’s Lockbox next week, where I’ll catalogue the work of the greatest female singer alive, Olivia Newton-John.