Sub-Rosa Subway

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"Sub-Rosa Subway"
Single by Klaatu
from the album 3:47 EST
Released August 1976
Recorded January – March 1973 (single version)
April 1975 (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 Beach Pneumatic Transit, the New York City Subway's precursor. 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.

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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