It’s a simple fact of life: everyone knows a Beatles fan. However, most people are not lucky enough to know someone who believes that the real Paul McCartney is actually dead. Luckily for you, you know me, and I believe all sorts of crazy shit. Like Bigfoot. He’s real. And The Loch Ness Monster. He’s really real. And aliens are real, and we never went to the moon and Abraham Lincoln killed JFK. Yep, I’m that guy.
A couple of weeks ago I definitively proved, beyond a shadow of full of doubt that Elvis Presley is not only (not) alive, but helped to launch the career of Macauly Culkin. And now it’s time to tackle ten totally not true but possibly very possible bits of completely for entertainment purposes only “evidence” that show that Sir Paul McCartney is in fact definitely not, but probably is in fact (maybe) dead. Or not as alive as he once was. Or something like that.
10. The Story
There are two parts of this story – what the story claims happened, and how the story came to be in the first place. We’ll deal with the second story later because, at the moment, it’s the first that’s more interesting. And it’s actually pretty simple. Supposedly, at around 5:00 AM on the morning of November 9, 1966, during a recording session for Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul McCartney got pissed at The Beatles and stormed out of the studio, got into his Austin Healy sports car, and drove off into the night. Well, actually, he drove off into something and got himself decapitated. Fearing a loss in popularity, as McCartney was seen as the most popular member of the Beatles, the remaining members of the band, and their management, decided to use their influence in the media to cover up the story. A replacement for McCartney was brought in – a winner of a Paul McCartney look a like contest named either William Campbell or William Shepherd. And the rest is, well, history. Sort of.
9. The Evidence: Album Covers
Why The Beatles, after pulling off the greatest switcharoo since Pope Joan would feel the need to leave clues about their shady deed is beyond me, but that’s how the story goes, and we’re going with it so buckle up. Allegedly (but totally not allegedly, like totally definitely, but only maybe) the band left a whole bunch of clues to Paul’s demise hidden in the artwork that adorned some of their most important records. Like this one – Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, the album they were working on when McCartney supposedly met his maker.
There are numerous clues here, and I’m just gonna mention a few of them. The most important is the open hand above McCartney’s head – that’s a sign for a dead person. There’s been debate about whether that’s true or not, mainly because it’s always been talked about as some Eastern religion thing, but I see it as a form of salute, like a dead soldier being saluted by his mates. And all of the famous people gathered around, that does kinda have a funeral feel to it,doesn’t it?
This motif is a reoccurring one, just look at the cover of Yellow Submarine That’s John holding an open hand over Paul’s head. Remember the mantra of every conspiracy theorist, once is a coincidence, twice is absolute, undeniable proof. And let’s do this one in musical form!
Perhaps the most famous of all album cover clues is the cover of Magical Mystery Tour. When you hold the cover in front of a mirror you see this:
537-1438. Supposedly this is a phone number to either the mortuary that handled McCartney’s body after his death, or to a line that will give you more information on his death. Go ahead and try it. When I called someone named Alec Hidell answered and rambled a lot about King Arthur and the Illuminati until I fell asleep.
And then there’s the Let it Be cover, where all of the Beatles are set against a white background. Except Paul – his background is, well, blood red, as if he’s hemorrhaging blood. From his head. The head that was decapitated.
The most important of all album cover clues come from the iconic Abbey Road cover. In this cover the band is pictured walking across the street in front of EMI Studios. Paul is Dead theorists view this photo as a mock funeral procession – John Lennon (dressed in white) leading the way as the preacher, Ringo Starr (dressed in black) as the pallbearer, McCartney (in a suit) as the corpse, and George Harrison (dressed in street clothes) as the gravedigger. Witnessing the funeral are the spectators in the background, as well as a police van.
In this photo Paul is shoeless, which is supposedly a symbol for a corpse as the dead are often buried without shoes. He is also holding a cigarette in his right hand, though McCartney is left handed. Additionally, Paul’s eyes are closed, like he’s dead. You have to admit, that’s a little odd. And the Volkswagen in the back – the license plate reads “LMW – 28IF” which stands for “Linda McCartney Weeps 28 IF” he had lived. Paul would have been 28 in the year following the records’ release, if he was alive. And then there’s the cracked “S” in “Beatles” on the back cover, and the image of the grim reaper, and a shitload of other clues… but you can look for that on your own.
8. The Lyrics
Even people who do not believe that Paul McCartney is dead have to admit that songs by The Beatles contain an awful lot of references to car crashes, and things happening at 5:00 on Wednesday morning (the time Paul supposedly died). “She’s Leaving Home” begins with the lyrics “Wednesday morning at five o’clock, while “Lady Madonna” tells of “Wednesday morning papers” that didn’t come (referencing how no one heard of Paul’s passing). “A Day in the Life” tells of a man who “Blew his mind out in a car” while “a crowd of people stood and stared”, recognizing that though “they’d seen his face before”, no one was sure of his identity. Because he didn’t have a head, you see. This passage supposedly details the death of Guinness heir Tara Browne, but works very well as a description of what happened to Paul (i.e. – they couldn’t recognize him because he didn’t have a head). Another car crash is described in the Ringo Starr vocalized “Don’t Pass Me By”, in which Ringo sings “You were in a car crash / And you lost your head”.
Then there’s “Only A Northern Song” , from the Yellow Submarine soundtrack, in which George Harrison claims “When you’re listening late at night / You might think the band’s not quite right” and “If you think the harmony is a little dark and out of key / You’re correct”. This is because Paul isn’t there, which Harrison virtually admits to when he closes the song with the lines “There’s nobody there / And I told you there’s no one there.”
And then there are the numerous times where a member of The Beatles says or sings or mumbles something that sounds an awful lot like “Paul is dead”. Such as John muttering “cranberry sauce” at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever”, but it actually sounds like “I buried Paul”. Or the end of “All You Need is Love” when John sings “We loved you yeah, yeah, yeah”, he supposedly also says “yesterday” but it sounds exactly like he says “Yes, he’s dead”, which occurs at 3:12 in the video.
7. The Backmasking
Now we get into the scary stuff. I’ll admit I’m not audio expert, and I have no idea whether this stuff is by accident or intentional, but it’s pretty convincing. If you’re not already familiar with the term, backmasking refers to the stuff you hear when you play a track backwards. Heavy metal bands often get accused of using to convice their fans to kill themselves, but The Beatles supposedly used it to hint at Paul’s demise. Take, for instance, the mumbling at the end of “I’m So Tired”. When played in reverse is sounds like John says “Paul is a dead now, miss him, miss him”.
And then there is the curious case of “Revolution #9” from The Beatles (The White Album), in which, when played backwards, the phrase “turn me on dead man” repeatedly pops up.
There are plenty of others – this video sums them up nicely and explores some of the clues we’ll get into next week on volume two. The “Blue Jay Way” one is really creepy.
Stay tuned for more exciting updates – I’ll be back with part two in a week or so! Can’t wait? Check out the Plastic Macca blog for the best Paul is Dead work on the internet!