Paul Is Dead... Not!
Paul Is Dead... Not!
How a Nation of Hysterical TeenagersJoyce A. Rogers
and Respectable Journalists
Was Duped Into Thinking Paul McCartney Was Dead,
Copyright © 1996, 1998, 2002, 2008, 2012 Joyce A. Rogers. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or redistributed by any means in any form without express written permission from the author. First published in The Epitaph, Volume 2, Number 1, January-March, 1996; reprinted in Implosion No. 6, and Paranoia: The Conspiracy Reader, Issue 15, Winter, 1996 / 1997. New material added 1998, 2002, and 2008.Warning!
If you want to maintain your suspension of disbelief,
skip all the background info by clicking here
— and DO NOT read the footnotes!
(To read the footnotes, simply hover your cursor over any "FNx".
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Prologue | Clues | Epilogue | Teen Tale
Books About the Paul Is Dead Hoax
In 1969, rumors of the death of Paul McCartney were, like those of Mark Twain's demise, greatly exaggerated. Where the "Paul Is Dead" rumor began, no one knows for sure, but suddenly every Beatles fans was looking for clues that would reveal the "truth" about the obvious coverup.
That idea that Paul had been dead for three years surfaced just prior to the release of Abbey Road in late September, 1969. Two Midwestern college newspapers (Iowa's Drake University Times-Delphic and Northern Illinois University's Northern Star) printed the first indications that a conspiracy to cover up the death of the boyish Liverpudlian was afoot.
A radio jock by the name of Russell Gibb picked up on the story and decided to have some fun with it on Detroit's WKNR-FM, citing the two college newspaper articles and inventing new "clues" for his listeners — whom he invited to call in with clues of their own. One of the most commonly cited clues was offered by one of these listeners, who claimed that a secret message could be heard by playing Revolution No. 9 from the White Album) backward (a.k.a. "backmasking"). Another was the false revelation of the walrus as a Greek symbol of death. Another was the existence of Paul's mysterious "double," the fictitious "William Campbell."
The release of Abbey Road and its apparent visual clues to the mystery fanned the fire, and soon mainstream broadcast and print media were reporting the joke as fact. The rumor grew so large, so quickly, that in late October, McCartney himself made a public denial, as did all of the Fab Four at a press conference the following spring. When asked in a 1970 Rolling Stone interview if any of the clues — visual symbolism, secret backwards messages, and the like — were supposed to have some hidden meaning, John Lennon replied, "No. That was bullshit, the whole thing was made up."FN1
In reality, the only truth was that, for a short time, the Beatles enjoyed even more attention than ever. There's no evidence that the Beatles themselves were behind the hoax (each denied this, vehemently); more likely, it was the result of the typical mass hysteria that comes with mass fandom.
But the boys were jokers, and it's not unreasonable to suppose they might have thought they were having a little fun with their fans — but not necessarily at their fans' expense.
And today? Are there people who still believe that Paul McCartney is dead? Of course there are. There are people who believe that Elvis is alive, and that JFK and James Dean are being kept alive as vegetables in some secret hospital, and that Walt Disney is cryonically frozen, and...
...and, as Criswell intones forbiddingly in Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space, "Can you prove it didn't happen?"
It's safe to assume that most of the people who bought into the hoax in 1969 are reasonably confident today that Paul is alive — but that the clues to his faked death were very real, and deliberately planted by the Beatles themselves, possibly as an in-joke for alert fans. Nothing wrong there; we all want to feel like we're in the know, and what better way to feel clever than to think you're in on the in-joke with the world's biggest pop icons?
And now, the evidence...
Paul died in an automobile accident, and his death was covered up. However, the Beatles left countless clues to the truth of Paul's demise, in their songs and on their album covers.FN2How It Happened:
While out driving around five o'clock one Wednesday morning in November, 1966, Paul let his attention drift to a good-looking meter maid, and, failing to notice that the trafic signal had changed, got into a horrible accident, which destroyed his handsome young face and smashed his teeth right out of his head, rendering identification by dental records impossible. Before he could escape the wreckage, the car burst into flames. A crowd gathered to witness the fiery spectacle, and a few onlookers thought the young man, however disfigured, looked familiar. A subsequent newspaper story was pulled before it hit the streets, beginning the coverup.FN3The Coverup:
A Paul McCartney lookalike contest was held so that a replacement for Paul could be used to stave off speculation about his absence for as long as possible. It was announced that there was no contest winner. But in reality, there was: One William Campbell, who was paid a huge sum to assume the role of the New Paul, posing for photos with the other three Beatles.
The Clues: Albums
A photo of a moustachioed William Campbell — the fake Paul — appears in the lower left-hand corner of the poster that came with the White Album. The moustache covers a scar on Campbell's upper lip, which can be seen in other photos. Paul did not have such a scar. In the closeup of "Paul" (four photos, one of each of the boys, also came with the album), William Campbell sports heavy stubble to hide the telltale scar.FN4
The images in the poster included in the original White Album vinyl LP reveals a number of eerie clues, including:
• A pair of vaporous, spectral hands reach out to Paul from behind as he dances;
• A photo of "Paul" in spectacles and a moustache, which is really that of William Campbell before undergoing cosmetic surgery to look more like Paul;
• "Paul" lying back in a bathtub, seemingly dead, with soapsuds "bleeding" from his head.
I'm So Tired
I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink...
...I'm so tired I don't know what to do
I'm so tired my mind is set on you...
...You know I can't sleep, I can't stop my brain
You know it's three weeks, I'm going insane
You know I'd give you everything I've got
For a little peace of mind...
I'm so tired, I'm feeling so upset...
Obviously, Paul is sorely missed.
Played backward, the phrase "...call you, but I know what you would do..." is really "I wish, I wish I was not a Beatle."
And when the unintelligible words at the end of the song are played backward, you'll hear: "Paul is dead, man. Miss him, miss him, miss him!
Blackbird singing in the dead of night...
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see...
Sunken eyes = dead man's eyes
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free
Into the light of the dark black night...
Now the doctor came in stinking of gin
And proceeded to lie on the table
He said Rocky you met your match
And Rocky said, Doc it's only a scratch
And I'll be better
I'll be better Doc as soon as I am able...
Don't Pass Me By
I listen for your footsteps
Coming up the drive
Listen for your footsteps
But they don't arrive...
I'm sorry that I doubted you
I was so unfair
You were in a car crash
And you lost your hair
Paul's hair was burned off in the crash. See also Revolution No. 9. (below).
Why Don't We Do It in the Road?
Why don't we do it in the road?
Yes I'm lonely wanna die
Yes I'm lonely wanna die
If I ain't dead already...
In the morning wanna die...
The eagle picks my eye
The worm he licks my bone...
Black cloud crossed my mind
Blue mist round my soul...
Mother Nature's Son
Find me in my field of grass
Mother Nature's son
Field of grass = cemetery
Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey
We know what William Campbell (the "monkey") has to hide.
The deeper you go the higher you fly
The higher you fly the deeper you go
Reference to being down in the grave and up in Heaven at the same time.
Long, Long, Long
How could I ever have lost you...
Now I can see you, be you...
Now William can be Paul.
...How can I ever misplace you?
Misplace = replace
Revolution No. 1
You say you got a real solution...
...to the problem of Paul's death.
Well you know
We'd all love to see the plan
The plan = William Campbell
You ask me for a contribution
Contribution = cooperation in the coverup
Well you know
We're doing what we can
Cry Baby Cry
At twelve o'clock a meeting round the table
For a seance in the dark
With voices out of nowhere...
Did the Beatles try to contact Paul's spirit?
Revolution No. 9
The lyrics to this song are not reproduced in the liner notes. It sounds like a bunch of random words against a background of the endlessly repetition of the rods "...number nine... ...number nine..." But if you listen closely, you'll hear:
John: George, I'm sorry.... Will you forgive me?
George Martin: Mmm... Yes...
John is apologizing to longtime producer George Martin for slipping clues about Paul's death into Beatles albums.FN5
My fingers are broken and so is my hair
The car caught fire and Paul lost his hair, which is reiterated in Don't Pass Me By (below).
...his voice was low and his eye was high and his eyes were closed...
I'm not in the mood for wearing clothing...
There's no need for clothing when you're dead.
...maybe even dead...
...you become naked...
The messages hidden in Revolution No. 9, when played backward, are startling and disturbing. Among them:
The continuous "...number nine... ...number nine..." when played backwards is actually "Turn me on, dead man." It is heard numerous times throughout the song; this is the clearest rendition:
The crowd of onlookers at the scene of the accident screams — and someone commands: "Grow up!"
The sound of crackling fire, and an alarmed voice: "Paul is doomed!" followed by another, very somber voice: "There were two — there's none now. His stomach was in two that day."
Most frightening is the sound of the car crash itself, and subsequent explosion, followed by Paul screaming "Get me out! Get me out!" (repeated four times more, "later" in the song) — and then the voice of one or more onlookers: "Everyone... his head not there... Be safe, then die... There, his hat, his hat... His body! His body!"
At the very end of the song, the crowd at the scene of the accident shouts at medical workers: "Take him out! Take him out! Take him out...!" (This is heard again, albeit very faintly, five more times, at about 2:51 in the song, when played backwards in its entirety.)
Also, there are nine letters (Revolution No. 9) in McCartney.
Now it's time to say good night
Good night Sleep tight
Now the sun turns out his light
Good night Sleep tight
Dream sweet dreams for me
Dream sweet dreams for you
Close your eyes and I'll close mine...
...Good night Good night Everybody
I told you about strawberry fields
You know the place where nothing is real
Well here's another place you can go...
To see how the other half live
Looking through a glass onion
A "glass onion" is an old British term for a type of glass handle used on coffins.FN7 It's also a term for the casket itself — one with a glass pane, so you can literally "see how the other half live."
I told you about the walrus and me-man
You know that we're as close as can be-man
Well here's another clue for you all
The walrus was Paul
The walrus is a symbol of death in certain cultures.FN8 On the cover of the Magical Mystery Tour album, Paul is dressed as a walrus. More importantly, however, John finally admits the truth:
I told you about the fool on the hill
I tell you man he living there still
Paul was the Fool on the Hill. See Magical Mystery Tour.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
At the end of the song, George calls: "Paul... Paul... Paul..."FN9
The album title is in the shape of an upside-down heart, indicating a "false soul" in the group.
Also, the Beatles are actually staring down into a grave.
...that a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure
will she still believe it when's he dead?
I'm Looking Through You
I'm looking through you
Where did you go?
I thought I knew you
What did I know?
You don't look different but you have changed
I'm looking through you
You're not the same
Of course he's not the same; "Paul" is really William Campbell.FN11
You were above me
But not today
The only difference is you're down there
"Down there," of course, is the grave.
In My Life
Some are dead and some are living...
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
Yesterday And TodayFN12
The original album cover pictured the lads in white smocks, covered by bloody chunks of meat and decapitated dolls. The placement of these items on "Paul" indicates the locations of his injuries from the accident; the false teeth resting on Paul's arm show that his teeth were knocked out. Plus, George is holding a doll head to show that he "headed" the plot to cover up Paul's death.
Released just before Paul's death, the image mirrored too closely the reality of his accident, so the surviving Beatles had the album pulled from record-store shelves and pasted over with a new picture, of John, George, and Ringo surrounding "Paul" sitting in a trunk — to symbolize a casket. (Turn the picture 90 degrees counterclockwise, and Paul's body is ready for "the viewing.")FN13 "Paul," of course, is really William Campbell, whose scarred upper lip gives him away.
He's a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land...
Doesn't have a point of view
Knows not where he's going to...
He's as blind as blind can be...
You don't know what you're missing
Nowhere man, can you see me at all?
You're a new and better man...
William Campbell is the New Paul, and better, because, well, he's alive.
He does everything he can, Dr. Robert
The attending surgeon, one Dr. Robert, did everything he could to save Paul.FN14
Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be
There's a shadow hanging over me
Yesterday came suddenly
And Your Bird Can Sing
You can't see me, you can't see me...
You can't hear me, you can't hear me...
On the cover, Paul's head is turned to one side, making him different from the other boys. Plus, a hand is held above Paul's head — a benediction for the dead, and the Indian sign for death.FN16
If you drive a car, Paul...FN17
If you get too cold, Paul...FN18
Now my advice for those who die (tax man)
Declare the pennies on your eyes (tax man)
"Taxman" is code for "taxidermist."FN19 And the placing of pennies on the eyes of a corpse is a very old custom.FN20
Writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear...
Wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved
McKenzie = McCartney
Sky of blue
Sea of green
In our yellow submarine
The "submarine" is really a coffin, and the sea of green is a sea of green grass. See also the Yellow Submarine album, below.
She Said She Said
She said, I know what it's like to be dead
For No One
She says her love is dead...
She says that long ago she knew someone but now he's gone...
She = Jane Asher
Got to Get You Into My Life
I was alone
I took a ride
I didn't know what I would find there
Tomorrow Never Knows
...surrended to the void...
...Paul played the game existence to the end...FN21
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
This is the most revealing album of all.With Sgt. Pepper, the boys have assumed the identity of a new, fictitious (i.e., "false") band, the nonexistent "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The changes in name and in their appearance, and the large funeral depicted on the cover (at which the mourners are all famous people who are either dead, or whose careers are deadFN22) are a clear message that the Beatles we once knew are no longer. Note that younger versions (appearing to be waxworks, or "still life") of all the lads stare mournfully downward, into the grave.
Paul is the only Beatle facing forward, and he appears to be supported, or held upright, by the other Beatles. As on the Revolver cover, an open hand is held above Paul's head. Also, Shiva, the Indian goddess of death and destruction, is pointing at Paul.
Close examination reveals that Paul is wearing a shoulder patch reading OPD. Remember this significant detail, because we will come back to it later.
The doll is that of Shirley Temple, whose transition from child star to politician symbolizes another career death and "reincarnation." There is blood running down her dress,FN23 a bloody driving glove next to her left leg, and she holds in her lap a toy car just like the one in which Paul died. Also note the legend, WELCOME THE ROLLING STONES, across her sweater; this indicates the "abdication" of the Beatles as the world's greatest band, paving the way for their closest rivals, the Stones.
Not far from the doll is a TV set, which is turned off, indicating that Paul's death was censored from the media.
The yellow hyacinth flowers at the grave are in the shape of a bass guitar (left-handed, of course — Paul was the only southpaw in the band), and, if you look at them from a distance, the flowers spell out PAUL. Turn the cover 90 degrees counterclockwise, and the same flowers become a large letter P.
The guitar is resting on a casket, and three sticks atop the bass (to make three "strings" for the guitar) represent the three surviving Beatles.
Using a mirror to reverse the words:
on the drum reveals the message:
1 ONE 1 X = HE DIE
with an arrow pointing at Paul. "One and one and one is three" is a lyric from Come Together (Abbey Road) that means there are only three Beatles now. The X next to the 1 ONE 1 means that Paul has been X'd out.
If this message seems terribly primitive and clunky, it had to be "spelled out" this way, because it is actually a double message:
1 ONE 1 X = 1 1 1 X
November 9 — the date of Paul's death!
While the British write dates the other way around — meaning that November 9 would be written "9-11" — remember that this is meant to be a mirror image... thus, only the truly observant would see that the date of Paul's death would be a mirror image of a mirror image!
(And no, there is no significance to the number "9-11"; there is no reason to think the Beatles could foretell the date of the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001 (or is there?). Likewise, 999 [not 911] is the emergency number in the U.K. — and even if the Beatles meant to send a "special message" to their American fans, 911 was not in wide use as the standard emergency number in the United States when this album was made.)
On the back cover, the other Beatles face forward while "Paul" turns his back. This "Paul" is also too tall to be the real Paul; this strange "rising" above the others indicates his ascension into Heaven.
The other three Beatles are making subtle signs for the letters of the alphabet: George makes an L by bending his thumb, John's hands in his pants make a V, and Ringo's crossed fingers make an E. Obviously, the word is LOVE, but "Paul" is not making an O, so the word — like the group — is incomplete.FN24
The words "Without You" (from the title of Within You and Without You) come out of "Paul's" head. George's thumb is pointing at the lyrics Wednesday morning at five o'clock, the time of Paul's death. And you'll find many more clues by reading the lyrics across the back cover, from left to right, beginning with "Somebody calls you / You answer quite slowly", going on to "Wednesday morning at five o'clock as the day begins", to "Life flows on within you and without you", to "You're on your own / You're in the street".
On the inside cover, "Paul" wears a black arm band bearing the letters OPD, which in Canada means Officially Pronounced Dead.FN25
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
So let me introduce to you the one and only Billy Shears
Billy Shears = Billy's here = William Campbell is here!
Fixing a Hole
Silly Beatle run around...
William Campbell is adjusting to his role as the New Paul.FN26
She's Leaving Home
Wednesday morning at five o'clock as the day begins...
The time of Paul's death.
Standing by a parking meter
When I caught a glimpse of Rita...
Paul was looking at a pretty meter maid when he should have been watching the road.
Good Morning, Good Morning
Heading for home you start to roam then you're in town
Everybody knows there's nothing doing
Everything is closed it's like a ruin
Everyone you see is half asleep
And you're on your own, you're in the street...
People running around it's five o'clock...
Watching the skirts you start to flirt now you're in gear...
Nothing to do to save his life...
Tells the story of the accident.
A Day In the Life
I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well, I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph
He blew his mind out in a car
He didn't notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They'd seen his face before
Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of PaulFN27
Of course, this is a literal description of the accident.
(Side 2, British release only)
Play it backward to hear:
"Will Paul be back as Superman?"FN28
Magical Mystery Tour
On the cover:
When BEATLES (spelled out in stars) is held up to a mirror, the reflection reveals the phone number, 2317438, of a London mortuary. Some people report that the number is actually 23LTA38, and, upon calling it, received such messages as "You're getting closer" and "Paul McCartney is dead."
"Paul" is dressed as a walrus, a symbol of death in some cultures.FN29 In Lewis Carroll's The Walrus and the Carpenter, walruses eat oysters and then die.FN30
On page 3 of the 24-page photo booklet (inside the fold-out album cover), the New Paul (with the telling scar) sits behind a desk upon which rests a prominently-displayed nameplate reading I WAS. On the wall behind Paul are two crossed British flags, positioned as they would be for a military funeral.
Page 9 has a cartoon of Paul labeled "The Fool on the Hill"; the cartoon Paul's head shows a distinct crack through his skull.
On page 13 (picture at right), there is a message on Ringo's bass drum: "Love, The 3 Beatles," making it clear that there are only three "real" Beatles in the picture.
As in a number of other photos, "Paul" is barefoot in this picture (see Abbey Road for the significance of this); his shoes, covered in blood, are neatly placed next to the telling message on the bass drum.
On page 15, Paul is shown playing with a toy car.
Of the photo of the Beatles eating a meal with some other people: If you rotate this picture 90 degrees, you can see that the beret worn by the person closest to the camera is actually the left eye socket of a skull. It is the only picture in the photo book that was not taken from a scene in the film, Magical Mystery Tour.
An open hand above "Paul's" head can be found on page 18, and again on the last page.
Finally, in the photo of the Beatles wearing tuxedos (from the film's Your Mother Should Know number), John, George and Ringo sport red carnations. Paul's is black.FN31
Strawberry Fields Forever
Living is easy with eyes closed...
At the end of the track, John clearly says, "I buried Paul."FN32
Fool on the Hill
Day after day
Alone on a hill
The man with the foolish grin is perfectly still
But nobody ever hears him and the sound he appears to make...
In the photo book, Paul is The Fool on the Hill.
I Am the Walrus
I am the eggman
They are the eggman
I am the walrus
Eggs signify birth or life, and the walrus symbolizes death, thus:
I am alive
They are alive
I am dead
Bury me, bury me... Bury my body...
Paul, you're darn near death...
You say goodbye
I say hello
This is William Campbell's own goodbye to Paul.
All You Need Is Love
No one you can save that can't be saved...
Nothing anyone could do could have saved Paul.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown...
The clues to Paul's death are in plain sight.
Yes, he's deadFN33
What sounds like "She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah" is actually "We loved you, yeah, yeah, yeah..."FN34
Magical Mystery Tour
...dying to take you away
Take you away...
On the cover, the picture behind the Beatles (above the doorway) shows Paul's burial place.
(Released as a single in 1968, Lady Madonna, like Revolution, was re-released on the Hey Jude album in 1970.)
Wednesday morning papers didn't come...
The story of Paul's death was yanked from the Wednesday newspaper at the beginning of the coverup.
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
The cover shows the Beatles crossing the road — as in "crossing the river," or more literally, single-file as in a funeral procession. John, in white, is the preacher. Ringo, in black, is the pallbearer, or mourner — or the undertaker. George, in work clothes, is the gravedigger. "Paul," eyes closed, barefoot, out of step with his mates, is the dead man. (Corpses, of course, are buried without shoes.) "Paul" is also the only one smoking a cigarette (or "coffin nail"), and he is holding it in his right hand — proof that this "Paul" is really William Campbell, as the real Paul was lefthanded.FN36
The license plate on the Volkswagen (a Volkswagen Beetle, mind you) is LMW 28IF. The top three letters — LMW — is an acronym for "Linda McCartney Weeps," and 28IF means that Paul would have been 28 — IF he had lived.FN37 While Paul really would have been 27, the Hindus consider a child one year old at birth,FN38 and the Beatles were into Indian mysticism.
The back cover shows a crack running through the words THE BEATLES, meaning a split in the group. Near the words Abbey Road is a subliminal image of a skull, in the shadow cast on the wall. Also, a woman is walking by — is this Rita?
Here come old flattop
Flattop = no hair. Paul's hair was burned away in the fiery crash.
He got joo-joo eyeball
Undertakers usually replace the eyeballs of the deceased to avoid a "sunken" look.
...he one holy roller
He's in Heaven.
He got hair down to his knee
It's a fact that hair continues to grow after death.
He wear no shoeshine
...because corpses are buried without shoes.
He say, I know you, you know me
One thing I can tell you is you got to be free
Come together right now over me
Paul is speaking to the others, requesting their presence at his grave.
He bag production he got walrus gumboot
The walrus again.
...he one spinal cracker
Paul's back was broken in the crash.
He say, one and one and one is three
There are only three Beatles now.
Got to be good-looking 'cause he's so hard to see
You can't see him because he's dead.
Played backwards, the phrase "Don't want to leave her now" is really "Not a Beatle, no... Not a Beatle, no..."
I'd like to be under the sea
In Yellow Submarine, the green sea is a "sea of grass," or cemetery.
Here Comes the Sun
Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Paul died in November, and spent his first winter alone in the grave.
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right
This is a reference to Heaven and rebirth — or reincarnation. (Remember the Beatles' guru was the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.)
You Never Give Me Your Money
One two three four five six seven
All good children go to Heaven
Mean Mr. Mustard
Sleeps in a hole
Well you should see her in drag dressed in her polythene bag
Polythene bag = body bag. Deliberate use of female subject to indicate use of a double. (A female "in drag" would be dressed as a man).
She Came In Through the Bathroom Window
Didn't anybody tell her?
Her = Jane Asher
Didn't anybody see?
Sunday's on the phone to Monday
Tuesday's on the phone to me
She couldn't be on the phone to him Wednesday, because he died that day.
Carry That Weight
Boy, you're going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time
"That weight" being the weight of the earth on top of Paul's coffin.
And in the middle of the celebration
I break down
"Celebration" (of life) = funeral
On the cover, another open hand appears above Paul's head. The yellow submarine appears to be underground — not underwater.
Only a Northern Song
When you're listening late at night
You may think the band is not quite right
You may think the band's a little dark and out of key
You're correct, there's nobody there
You think you know me but you haven't got a clue
This is a message from William Campbell.
All You Need Is Love
See Magical Mystery Tour.
The surviving Beatles had to "act naturally" in order to pull off the coverup. On the 45rpm sleeve, Paul is the only Beatle not looking at the camera. The B-side is Yesterday (see Yesterday And Today).
Baby's in Black
She thinks of him and so she dresses in black
And though he'll never come back, she's dressed in black
Oh dear, what can I do?
She = Jane Asher
You Know My Name, Look Up the Number
(B-side of Let It Be)
During the song, a phone number is spoken. When the number was called, the message "Beware of Abbey Road" was heard.
A Hard Day's NightFN40
During "Can't Buy Me Love," that's director Richard Lester running down the street with the other three Beatles, not Paul.FN41
During All You Need Is Love, John sings Yes, he's dead, while on the screen the word KNOW turns into the word NOW.
Thanks for joining me on this trip down Death-Hoax Memory Lane. I just love death hoaxes, for two reasons: First, they're highly imaginative. Second, I never ceased to be amazed by the hysteria that sometimes accompanies conspiracy theories. (Not all conspiracy theories can or should be dismissed, of course, and some should be deliberated endlessly until the truth is found. For instance, I'm a reasonable person, but I've been known to lie awake piecing together the JFK assassination.)
I'd like to document more of these myths... like the John Lennon Death Clues. What's that? You say you've never heard of the John Lennon Death Clues? Well, let's go back to page 6 of the photo book in the Magical Mystery Tour album. There's a picture of John next to a sign that says: "The best way to go is by M&D Co." The initials MDC, of course, refer to John's assassin, Mark David Chapman.
When I was in high school, the rumor making the rounds concerned a group I'll bet you've forgotten all about: The Ohio Players. Their 1975 hit song was "Rollercoaster" (a.k.a. "Love Rollercoaster"), in which a faint but distinct scream can be heard during an instrumental bridge (right after it sounds like the singer goes, "Ow"):
The facts: On the cover of the album Honey, a nude model is sitting atop a sheet of glass, holding a ladle of honey above her head, dripping the gooey stuff all over her body.
The rumor: The sheet of glass turned out to be a sheet of Plexiglas®, to which the model was horribly allergic. Plus, the honey reacted chemically with the Plexiglas to form a sort of instant glue that bonded the model to the spot — and when finally yanked free, her skin was ripped apart. So... While the Ohio Players were recording "Rollercoaster," the model — whose career had been ruined because of her terrible scars — burst into the recording studio, screaming about how she was going to sue everybody. The group's manager panicked, and either stabbed her or strangled her to death right there in the control booth — and her tortured scream of death ended up on the record.
Yeah, and Elvis is my plumber.
I hate to admit it, but the Ohio Players story scared the heck out of me when I was 14... and it accomplished something else, too: It made two of my friends and me chip in to buy the album. More than thirty years later, when I hear "Rollercoaster," a funny little shiver slithers up my spine. I mean, I don't believe the incident ever really occurred — but I do remember how eerie the whole story was to us kids.
Books About the Paul Is Dead Hoax
Turn Me On, Dead Man: The Beatles and the "Paul Is Dead" Hoax In the fall of 1969, the story seemed to come out of nowhere. Was Beatle Paul McCartney dead? This was no ordinary death rumor. It was believed that McCartney had died years earlier and been replaced by a lookalike. What's more, the surviving Beatles were thought to have planted "clues" to his death on their record albums. "Paul-Is-Dead" mania swept the United States as people attempted to solve the riddle of Paul's alleged demise. How did all of this happen? ...
The Walrus Was Paul: The Great Beatle Death Clues It was the late 1960s, the Beatles hadn't toured since 1966, and some truly bizarre indications began appearing, pointing to the unthinkable: Paul McCartney had been killed in a car accident and replaced by a look-alike. The Walrus Was Paul unearths every single clue from one of rock 'n' roll's most enduring puzzles and takes you on a magical mystery tour of baffling, yet fascinating, hints for solving this mystery.
A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song A lavishly illustrated, rollicking account of the real people and events that inspired the Beatles' lyrics.
Who was "just seventeen" and made Paul's heart go "boom"? Was there really an Eleanor Rigby? Where's Penny Lane? In A Hard Day's Write, music journalist Steve Turner shatters many well-worn myths and adds a new dimension to the Fab Four's rich legacy by investigating for the first time the ordinary people and events immortalized in the Beatles' music and now occupying a special niche in popular culture's collective imagination. ... © Amazon.com. Used with permission.
Copyright © 1996, 1998, 2002, 2008, 2012 Joyce A. Rogers. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or redistributed by any means in any form without express written permission from the author.