There have been quite a lot of these in the music industry. Some just for comedic intent (the next post will be an example of that), some to try and promote a new artist (Charles and Eddie of "Would I Lie To You" fame is a good example of that, I may talk about that later in the thread) or even to promote a new label, such as this example.
Stiff Records are, INMVHO, one of the most interesting and fun record labels to exist. They were an independent label formed in 1976 by Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera. Stiff were to become known for excellent publicity stunts and unconventional marketing. They took their artists on a semi successful UK tour to promote artists and label, where everyone travelled on the same bus in 1977 (The Stiffs Tour) and a second one in 78 on a private train.
Stiff signed a few already known cult artists, including Nick Lowe, but also quickly found new talent. Their ability to discover new talent was what really made Stiff. In their early days they discovered Elvis Costello, Ian Dury and The Damned. Not bad for a fledgling label. As their early artists moved on to other labels Stiff grew and their new discoveries got even bigger. Madness (who they discovered playing in a pub) being their largest. They also signed the Pogues, The Belle Stars and Kirsty MacColl and were responsible for Tracy Ullman's (already known as a comdey actress) music career.
But their sillier marketing exploits were what made them fun. In 1980 they released "The Wit And Wisdom Of Ronald Reagan", with side A being labelled "The Wit" and side B, "The Wisdom". A note in smallprint on the rear suggested "You may or may not hear something interesting on this record". It was blank on both sides, properly pressed "blank" though. Each side is playable and contains 20 minutes (roughly, I've never timed it although I do own a copy) of silence.
Anyway, back to the point of the thread. In 1977, they released "Maybe" by Jill Read. Maybe is a cover of a track first released in 1957 by The Chantels but covered loads of times including excelent versions by Janis Joplin and The 3 Degrees. According to Stiff's press releases nobody knew who or where Jill Read was, except that she was Welsh and recorded this in 1969 with Dave Edmunds (who was never signed to Stiff, but did production work for them). Stiff claimed they'd "found" the recording and even released adverts in the music press asking for Jill herself to contact them to claim her owed royalties. The thing is though, that Jill Read never existed, and the song was probably recordrd in 1977. One rumour was that the vocals are Dave Edmunds himself, sped up, pitch adjusted and EQ'd to sound like a female voice.
To my mind the Dave Edmunds theory doesn't really stand up, Dave was a mastermind producer and engineer and a fantastic vocalist. If ANYONE could have made a fake, he could, but the voice on this is genuinely good. I just don't believe the technology was available in 1977 to fake it this well. Dave Edmunds himself stayed silent on it until...
I've now done a little more research and found that the truth is now known! Dave Edmunds himself finally came clean in 2015. Jill Read's real name was actually Gillian Read, however, this was recorded in 1977 when she was in her late 20s, she had, however, recorded a couple of soul singles for Pye Records in the 60s as a teenager. She was indeed, Welsh. Seems like the backstory was made up with an element of truth hiding behind the falsehoods!
Listen for yourselves:
For comparison, here's a Tawny Read recording.
Source for the new info: https://translate.google.co.uk/trans...00&prev=search
This also has a couple of other Tawny videos but they're geo-blocked from Cyprus so I can't link to them on YouTube. I don't know if they work in the UK or not.