[The 60's-70's Vault] Phantom's Divine Comedy

Phantom's Divine Comedy cover

Capitol Records is known for having released quite a lot of famous albums both critically and commercially acclaimed. In 1974, an album by the name "Phantom's Divine Comedy Part I" hit the market and those who bought it were scratching their head in puzzlement. A year before, the single Calm Before The Storm was released, to little if any impact. The singer’s voice, under the name Phantom, was very reminiscent of Jim Morrison, who has already passed away in 1971. To be more precise, there are certain songs on that collection that the listener gets confused because he sounds exactly like the Lizard King, while on others Phantom's voice seems different.

Phantom's Divine Comedy

What added to the mystery, was that the band members were under the names W and Y for the bassists, X for the drummer and Z for the pianist and organist. The singer also played the guitar and some piano parts. It has been reported that all of them were in a band from Detroit called Walpurgis, formed in 1971. As far as the album is concerned, many observers supposed it was The Doors themselves, secretely recorded when Morrison was still alive or, as some fans loved to believe, he was indeed alive and well and kept on pursuing his artistic dream outside the limelight. At the time, there were no answers given and conspiracy theories were all around the musical circles!

The album itself is full of magic and mystery. Titles like Tales From A Wizard, Black Magic / White Magic, Devil's Child and Welcome To Hell reveal its (oc)cult status. The music leans towards the melodic side of psychedelia, heavier at times, with prominent piano and keyboards presence, accompanied with a nasty yet beautiful guitar tone. In addition, the sound is clear and the tight performance reveals a band in orgasmic mode. Phantom was responsible for all music and lyrics on this fine outcome.

In 1990, an album supposedly recorded in 1973 surfaced, but there was no information about it, other than it was just called The Lost Album. With a polished sound and with different, harsh vocals, some believed that it was recorded after 1974 but was ditched due to the poor sales of the debut.

Much later, Gary Gawinek, the album’s producer revealed, Phantom was actually a man whose stage name was Arthur Pendragon (possible real(!) names Ted Pearson or Tom Carson), coming from Michigan state. Sadly, it has been rumored that he died in 1999, on the month of the 25th anniversary of his infamous Divine Comedy.

"You reach your hand to hold me but I have no hand to guide."
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By Pijo

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