Sub-Rosa Subway

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"Sub-Rosa Subway"
Single by Klaatu
from the album 3:47 EST
Released August 1976
Recorded January 26, 1973 (single version)
April 1976 (album version)
Genre Power pop, psychedelic pop, progressive rock, baroque pop[1]
Length 4:37
Label Daffodil, Capitol
Writer(s) John Woloschuk, Dino Tome
Producer(s) Terry Brown

"Sub-Rosa Subway" is a song written by the Canadian rock band Klaatu, from their album 3:47 EST, describing the efforts of Alfred Ely Beach to create the original New York Subway. His work is described as secretive (hence sub rosa). The song made it to #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977.

The song is best known for sparking the rumour that the band was The Beatles in disguise. The vocals and instrumentals are in a Beatlesque style with chord progressions similar to the Beatles' "Blackbird" and "It's All Too Much", as an homage to the band.[citation needed]

Two minutes and fifty seconds into the song, a long message in Morse code plays in the background. John Woloschuk, in an article in the fan magazine The Morning Sun, finally provided a translation of the code:

"From Alfred, heed thy sharpened ear — A message we do bring — Starship appears upon our sphere — Through London's sky come spring."[citation needed]

The harpsichord sound on the song was created by recording a tack piano with the tape recorder running at half-normal speed.[2]


Album version
Single version
  • John Woloschuk - lead vocals, keyboards, bass guitar, maracas, bongos
  • Dee Long - electric guitar, synthesizer, telegraphy



  1. ^ Gary Graff (1996). MusicHound rock: The Essential Album Guide. p. 392. 
  2. ^
  3. ^

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