It’s 1969. Rolling Stone magazine alludes to a mysterious super-group called the Masked Marauders comprised of John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. The group is reportedly set to release an album, although sub rosa, produced by Al Kooper (himself hot off the success of Super Session). Sounds good, no?  Too good, as it turned out to be a hoax dreamed up by a young Greil Marcus. But the LP, released by Warner Brothers, still sells upwards of 100,000 copies. Four decades later, legacy intact, the Marauders album/hoax is firmly entrenched in rock & roll lore.

I’ve been thinking about the Marauders hoax a bit lately in light of all the “mystery artist” memes—in the guise of promotional emails, viral videos, etc—going around the past couple of months. Do they work? I have no idea, but people sure seemed to like the “leaked” Daft Punk track a few months ago…before it was outed as a fake. And the Marauders? The “band” was comprised of a group of professional studio session musicians.

Read the Snopes excerpt on the Marauders incident, below, and check out the Mick Jagger aping on “I Can’t Get No Nookie” and the cover of the Cellos “Rang Tang Ding Dong (I Am The Japanese Sandman).” I told you there was a reason I was posting the original.

“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 18 October 1969 issue of Rolling Stone.  The name “Masked Marauders” was supposedly a flimsy deception employed by Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and others, all of whom had gotten together and recorded a “supergroup” album (allegedly produced by Al Kooper) that could not be released under their real names because they  were all under contract to different record companies.  Even though the “review” contained plenty of clues to indicate it was nothing more than a bit of humorous fun (e.g., the session was said to have been recorded “in a small town near the site of the original Hudson Bay Colony in Canada” and featured Paul McCartney singing “Mammy,” Mick Jagger warbling “I Can’t Get No Nookie,” and Bob Dylan imitating Donovan), more than a few readers didn’t get the put-on and went looking for the album at their local record stores.” Continue reading at Snopes…

MP3: The Masked Marauders :: I Can’t Get No Nookie
MP3: The Masked Marauders :: Rang Tang Ding Dong (I Am The Japanese Sandman)
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+ Download The Masked Marauders DRM free via eMusic’s 35 free MP3 no risk trial offer
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8 Responses to “The Masked Marauders”

  1. The Masked Marauders had us all going back then. I was ‘lucky’ enough to score a promo 45 of ‘I Can’t Get No Nookie’ b/w ‘Cowpie’ (different mixes, too) before I went and bought the LP, only to realize I’d been scammed like everyone else when soon enough the word was out that the Friendliness and Goodliness Skiffle Band (Vanguard Records artists out of San Francisco) were the guilty party paid to produce the ruse. Of course when you listened to the whole thing the first time you got it on the last track, ‘Late Last Night at The Cow Palace’ where they ‘came clean’ and revealed the joke. The F&GSB’s only LP on Vanguard got NO blowback (or even much interest) after that (it seemed average at the time, post Kweskin etc). It was a GREAT scam. I played ‘Nookie’ and ‘Cowpie’ for years as a club DJ in a very cool club. I was the only one who cared.

    As foir the other side of the topic, I would point to Clinton Heylin’s exhaustive study “Bootleg: The Secret History Of The Other Recording Industry” (St. Martin’s Press, 1994) which posits that even Shakespeare had to deal with ‘bootleg’ reproductions of his quatros, sonnets, etc. In fgact NONE of the existing (and VERY valuable)quatros of Shakespeares plays are legitmate or approved by the author. As for recordings, there are bootlegs of Opera that were recorded almost as soon as there was a way of recording them, dating back to the turn of the LAST century. Thomas Edison apparently provided one of his first recorders to one Lionel MApleson who made numerous recordins of the 1901-03 seasons of the NY Metropolitan Opera. By the late 60s ytou could find Opera, JazzRadio Transcriptions,blues anthologies of out-of-print 78s, and ‘original’ soundtracks to movies without official releases. My Dad used to buy bootleg 8 Track compilations of old radio shows all the time through a mail order house.
    I remeber having a VERY raunchy comedy bootleg of Don Rickles induction to the Friar’s Club which was notable mostly for the fact that you got to hear Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson & Jack Benny all say ‘Fuck You’ to Rickles. This was ALL before The Great White Wonder made it’s appearance on the popular music stage.

  2. Duncan, if you have those 8 tracks, and have some way to digitize them, the world needs to hear.

  3. Piles of copies of this album were in the cutout bins at Woolworth’s across the USA for 49 cents. Still, no one bought them.

  4. I bought one!

  5. I bought one, too. Still listen to it from time to time. Often wondered if it were real or not, until it was exposed as a hoax; most of my friends believed it to be real; what made me doubt was Paul and John together. As a one-off, one-night everyone quite high pre-Travelling Wilbury’s even pre-Rolling Thunder party with the tape running it seemed not impossible.

  6. I actually like “I Can’t Get No Nookie” …

  7. i thought it was paul,george,ringo and possibly dylan and the band and or jagger in an upstate ny. recording studio like big pink or bearsville jamming and partying all taking turns immitating eachother.

  8. […] Ever heard of The Masked Marauders?  Nor had I until I read this interesting article on Aquarium Drunkard! […]

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