Sub-Rosa Subway

"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 peaked at No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977.

"Sub-Rosa Subway"
Single by Klaatu
from the album 3:47 EST
A-side"Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft"
ReleasedAugust 1976
RecordedJanuary – March 1973 (single version)
April 1975 (album version)
LabelDaffodil, Capitol
Producer(s)Terry Brown

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.[2] 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." [3]

The harpsichord sound on the song was created by recording a tack piano with the tape recorder running at half-normal speed.[4]


Chart (1977) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [5] 62
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 [5] 57
U.S. Record World Singles Chart [5] 73


Album version
Single version
  • John Woloschuk - lead vocals, keyboards, bass guitar, maracas, bongos
  • Dee Long - electric guitar, synthesizer, telegraphy[4]


  1. ^ Gary Graff (1996). MusicHound rock: The Essential Album Guide. p. 392.
  2. ^ The Sub-Rosa Subway Morse Code Message-Waynus of Uranus
  3. ^ The Morning Sun-7th Edition
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2015). The Comparison Book. Menonomee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-89820-213-7.

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