Part 1 – Introduction
Over the years, I have been sent numerous messages concerning the death of Paul McCartney in 1966 and his alleged replacement, William Campbell, brought in to keep the death a secret and The Beatles’ legend alive. Some people ask me if I believe this and some simply skip that part and just tell me that it’s true. A third type take on the mission of convincing me that it is true, as if it is some sort of religion. In some respects, it would seem that’s exactly what it is.
This week on #askNat I am discussing the Paul Is Dead hoax, theory, conundrum or whatever you want to call it. For those of you aficionados on the subject, you may not agree with my interpretations of certain clues or rationale that point to Beatle-Paul’s demise, but that’s okay because whether you go my way or yours, it’s all grasping at straws anyway, and no one idea is really any more correct than another. The bottom line, at least in my reality-based world, is that at the time of this writing (Feb. 2015), Paul is alive and well, and has been since June 18th, 1942.
Why then are there so many so-called “death-clues” sprinkled throughout the music and artwork in releases by The Beatles in the sixties? Did The Beatles deliberately leave these symbolic signs around so that their fans could pick up on the death message as some sort of twisted joke? That theory is admittedly a bit more plausible than one of Paul’s actual death. After all, with a little help from some mind-altering substances, it was their humor, genius, and boredom with commonplace that kept interesting extras showing up in their music. Whether it be the guitar feedback intro of “I Feel Fine,” or the first use of backwards vocals in “Rain,” or the backwards guitars in “I’m Only Sleeping,” or the use of ADT (Automatic/Artificial Double Tracking), or printing the lyrics on the album cover, or whatever – The Beatles were expanding the sophistication of rock music, one innovation at a time. Why then would you put it past them to have a little fun by dropping secret messages into the music? But then again, it’s still a little bit of a stretch.
In October 1969, within a few weeks after the release of The Beatles’ famous Abbey Road album, the rumor began to take hold. Someone named Tom called into a live radio program in Detroit, MI and spoke over the air with DJ Russell Gibb about a car crash that had killed Paul back in 1966. He went on about how The Beatles’ albums are full of hidden messages or “clues” about his death. One of the program’s listeners, a student named Fred La Bour, wrote an article for his university’s paper about it with the title Paul McCartney Is Dead. It brought to light many of his findings that were hidden within The Beatles’ own music catalog. From there, the rumor went haywire, with headlines appearing in many major newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post and even the London Times.
Part 2 – What allegedly happened?
As the rumor spread, the actual story of what happened was pieced together using the death-clues found on several Beatles releases. Although there are some variations to my account of the events (given below), the gist of it went something like this:
In the late evening of Tuesday, November 8th, 1966, Paul leaves a recording session at EMI after a possible spat with the other Beatles. He kills time for a few hours somewhere and then picks up his friend Rita. She begins to distracts him in the car as he approaches a red light. Paul, possibly under the influence of some drinks or other substances, realizes the light too late and loses control of the car. While trying to avoid another vehicle, he runs headlong into a tree. Rita and Paul die instantly, with Paul being gruesomely decapitated by a piece of glass that exploded as a result of the impact. The site of the accident was somewhere on Abbey Road and the time was around 5am on Wednesday, November 9th.
Not wanting to face the end of The Beatles while at the top of their careers, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr decide to carry on and secretly replace Paul with a double. Their manager Brian Epstein is in on the scheme, as is Paul’s girlfriend Jane Asher, but otherwise it is kept as secret as possible. For the double, The Beatles choose an ex-policeman named William Campbell to be the new Paul. He is remarkably similar, but slightly taller and bears a few scars on his lips and cheeks. The scars may also have been a result of plastic surgery used to improve his likeness of Paul. The Beatles decide at this point that it would be a good idea to stop touring. Doing so would lessen the risk of someone noticing that this Paul is not the real Paul and thereby letting the secret out. Soon afterwards, The Beatles become guilty and regretful over the deceit and for the sake of communicating the truth to their most devoted fans, discreetly begin slipping secret messages into their albums about Paul’s death.
So while I realize that most reading are now thinking Wow! What a load of manure!, you have to admit that it does open up an interesting excuse for a game not so different than a children’s “what’s wrong with this picture” puzzle or an easter egg hunt. In this case though, the game is called “find the death-clues.” These death-clues are, after all, what are pieced together to reveal the story given above. What follows is a discussion of the clues themselves. Feel free to break out your own records and follow along as I give a clue-by-clue run down.
Part 3 – The Death-Clues/Abbey Road
Since this was the album release that started the rumor off, I’ll start with it.
The musical clues are heard in the album’s opening track, “Come Together.” The theory here is that each verse contains a sort of perverse description of each Beatle. For example, the first verse contains the phrase “he one holy roller,” referring to George Harrison, considered to be the most spiritually-minded or religious Beatle. The last verse is the Paul verse, where John begins by singing “He Roller Coaster” (possibly a reference to (fake) Paul’s “Helter Skelter” song). In this verse John sings “One and one and one is three” and this is taken as a clue that there are only three “real” Beatles, since Paul is really an imposter. Is this a stretch? The clues are often subtle and this isn’t the only one that involves the number “3,” as you’ll see if you read further. The following line in the Paul verse is “Got to be good looking cause he’s so hard to see.” Is this another clue here? Paul has often been referred to as the good looking, or “cute” Beatle. If John sings that he is now “so hard to see,” could that be because he has been dead for three years and it’s hard to remember how he once looked? Finally, the chorus of the song, where John sings “Come Together, over me,” can also be seen as some sort of reference, since a common time when you come together over someone is at their funeral.
The album is chocked full of visual clues. Most of these are already pretty well known. The photo on the front of the album contains the most. The Beatles are seen crossing Abbey Road at the crosswalk. Paul is seen with a cigarette in his right hand, although he is left-handed. Could this mean he is an imposter? While the other Beatles have their left foot forward and are perfectly in step with each other, Paul is exactly opposite with his right foot forward. You may say, so what! How does that indicate he’s dead or an imposter? Well, it really doesn’t by itself. However, you’ll notice a pattern as we continue, and that is how Paul is continuously the Beatle in the photo that has something conspicuously different about him in comparison to the others. Collectively these difference form the message that he is not one of them. I’ll point out more as we go along. In fact, I should establish a name for these types of clues from here on out. Let’s call them exception clues.
I have another exception clue to mention now. While all of The Beatles are wearing shoes, Paul is walking across the hot summer pavement (the photo was taken in August) with bare feet. Not only is this an exception clue, but it defies logic and just seems weird. Why would he go to such lengths to be different in the photo unless there was a reason? When confronted about it later, he claimed it was hot that day, but if that were the case, would the bottoms of his feet not have been a bit scorched? There must have been another reason. The reason for the clue-minded believers is that not only was Paul intentionally depicted as different from the others, but is also representing a corpse, which, as everyone knows, is not buried with shoes on. Paul is also dressed in a suit, as a corpse would traditionally be at his own funeral.
Following the dress code line of thinking, let’s look at the other Beatles. John Lennon is wearing all white, which is said to be symbolic of the minister presiding over the funeral. George Harrison is dressed fully in denim and said to be the gravedigger. Ringo Star is suited up as what the “Paul-bearer” would wear. You may laugh at the idea of a funeral being depicted here, but as I’ll point out soon, Abbey Road isn’t the only Beatles album with a cover that depicts a funeral.
Another exception clue: All of The Beatles have beards in the photo except for our “always-out-of-place” Paul.
There is a white Volkswagen “Beetle” parked on the side of the road in the background of the photo with license plate number LMW 28IF. Since Paul was aged 27 at the time the photo was taken, the clue-minded have surmised that the 28IF is symbolic of him being in his 28th year IF he had lived. I’ve heard that the LMW stands for Linda McCartney widowed, or maybe Linda McCartney weeps. This is a little tough to swallow though since Linda and Paul did not meet until 1967. So theoretically, Linda never met the “real” Paul. I don’t see how that would make her widowed or prone to weep.
On the back of the album, there is a photo of a street sign that reads BEATLES, and under it, ABBEY ROAD. The “S” in Beatles has a crack in it, which is symbolic of a flaw within the band. There is a series of dots before the word BEATLES that when connected form a “3” – yes, another of the “3 Beatles” clues meaning there are only 3 (real) Beatles. There is an unidentified girl in a blue dress seen walking out of the picture. Some say this was Paul’s former fiancee, Jane Asher, who had come to the accident scene and was now departing after being paid to keep the secret of Paul’s death. A skull is depicted in the light and shadow at an angle to the right of the BEATLES sign.
Part 4 – The Death-Clues/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
After word got out about the Abbey Road clues, the inquisitive clue-seekers quickly examined the previous Beatles albums to piece together the story. I’ll discuss Sgt. Pepper now since it was supposedly the first album released after Paul’s fatal mishap. From there, I’ll work my way back up through the others.
The musical clues heard on the Pepper album include a line in the song “Lovely Rita” which states “Took her home, I nearly made it!” I guess if Paul “nearly” made it – he didn’t actually make it home at all. Another obvious musical clue is in the song “A Day In The Life,” where an entire verse is used to describe Paul’s accident: “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, etc.” Finally, some say that “Billy Shears” mentioned in “With A Little Help From My Friends” is an alias for William Campbell, Paul’s alleged double.
As with Abbey Road, the visual clues on the Sgt. Pepper album are numerous. The scene on the front cover show a crowd of people standing at a grave site – apparently another funeral is taking place. But whose funeral is it? It would have to be one or more of The Beatles, as the red flowers over the grave spell out BEATLES. There is some yellow flowers over the grave as well, formed into the shape of a guitar. It’s a left-handed instrument, which identifies the only left handed Beatle, Paul McCartney. The stems on the guitar depict its strings and there are 3 of them. This means it’s likely a bass with a missing string (Paul is The Beatles’ bassist) and indicative once again of 3 Beatles (this is the third of the “3” Beatles clues and there are still more).
The Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper uniforms stand over the grave, holding their instruments, all of which are brass or silver, save for Paul, who is carrying a deathly black Cor Anglais (another exception clue). Paul also has the hand of comic Issy Bonn raised directly over his head from behind. There is a superstition that relates a hand over a head in a photo as an indication of impending death to the one whose head is under the hand, or in the case of repeated occurrences, that someone may really already be dead (i.e. a ghost). I will point out a few repeated occurrences of this clue later in the text.
There is also the curious phenomena of the bass drum. If one holds a mirror across the center of the drum horizontally, thus bisecting the words LONELY HEARTS, a message appears that reads “ONE HE DIE” with a diamond shape pointing upward and straight at Paul. The date of November 9th is also cryptically revealed in the drum as “I ONE IX.”
A model of a car that resembles the Aston Martin Paul was driving rests on a doll’s leg on the far right of the front cover photo.
In the summer of 1967, The Beatles agreed to buy a set of Greek Islands, where they planned to live and work with family and friends. The main island, often referred to as Leso (or Leslo) is officially unnamed. Looking closer at the cover shot of the Sgt. Pepper album, you can make out a letter in the red flowers that follows the “S” in BEATLES. The letter is a somewhat smaller “o.” This causes the flower letters over the grave to spell out BE AT LESO, a clue of John’s intention to bury Paul on that island.
Here is another couple of clues – one of which also involves the letter “o.” On the back of the album jacket, the lyrics to all of the songs appear over a red background with a picture of The Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper garb at the bottom. There is another exception clue here though because, unlike the other Beatles, Paul is completely unrecognizable as he has his back to the camera. So is this really Paul? The Beatles appear to be spelling the word “Love” in the photo. From left to right there is George with his finger pointing up so that his hand and finger together make an “L” shape. Next is supposedly Paul, whose hands cannot be seen with his back to the camera. However a circular button centered in the back part of his uniform belt is lined up so that it could be the “O.” Next is John, who by tucking his hands into the front of his pants is forming a “V.” Ringo clasps his hands together in front of him so that his fingers form the letter “E.” While Paul is the only Beatle without an “O” in his name, he is the “O” Beatle in this photo. If you look at the back of the Abbey Road jacket you’ll see that the “S” in BEATLES isn’t the only letter with a crack in it (as mentioned earlier), but the “O” in ABBEY ROAD also contains a crack in the lower right corner. Does the cracked up “O” mean a cracked up Paul?
With the lyrics superimposed over the photo of The Beatles, we see George pointing, thus making his “L.” If we look at the lyric he is pointing too, we see it is a line from the song “She’s Leaving Home.” The line is “Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins.” This, as stated earlier, was the day and time of Paul’s death (a look at a November 1966 calendar will show that November 9th was a Wednesday).
The album opens up in a gatefold with a large picture of the uniformed Beatles inside and in front of a yellow background. The patch on Paul’s left arm reads O.P.D., which is London police jargon for “Officially Pronounced Dead.” Unlike the other Beatles, Paul’s knees are visible in the photo. Is this another exception clue?
Part 5 – The Death-Clues/Magical Mystery Tour
Now that everyone is firmly convinced that Paul McCartney was killed and replaced with an imposter, I realize that there is no need to carry on this list of bizarre clues of his demise. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness and to win over all of you naysayers, I will continue.
The musical clues on Magical Mystery Tour are quite numerous. In “I Am The Walrus” we hear Shakespearean actors from a radio broadcast reciting lines from King Lear during the fade-out. The lines include an enactment of what was also said at the site of that horrible auto accident with Paul. We hear “what, is he dead!,” “Oh, untimely death!” and other shocked voices on the scene. The ghostly voice of Paul can be heard whispering “Bury me!” and “Bury my body!” As if that isn’t morbid enough, there’s more. According to Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn, the chant at the end of the song where the males sing “Oompah, Oompah, stick it in your jumper” and the females sing “Everybody’s got one” was actually entirely random, with both men and women joining in on each of the two lyrics. When played backwards from the fade-out, the chanting vocals sound remarkably like “Paul Is Dead, Ha, Ha…, Paul Is Dead,Ha Ha…” Ambulance and police siren sounds can also be heard. The repeated line “goo goo ga joob” was actually the final words of Humpty Dumpty (the eggman) before his tragically fatal accident. This is in accordance with James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, which John said was one of the inspirations behind the song. John’s other “Walrus” line, “Stupid Bloody Tuesday,” refers to the Tuesday evening Paul left EMI prior to his tragic accident on Wednesday morning at five o’clock.
If you listen to the original stereo mix of “Magical Mystery Tour” (the title song) at 0:50, a skidding/screeching type noise, representing Paul’s alleged crash, is heard.
Just before the final seconds of “Strawberry Fields Forever” we hear John mutter “I buried Paul” (though this was later revealed to be the similarly syllablized “cranberry sauce”).
The visual clues with Magical Mystery Tour are even more plentiful. On the front cover we see The Beatles in animal costumes with John as a walrus, Paul as a hippo, George as a rabbit and Ringo as a bird. Who is dressed as what becomes apparent by flipping through the photo booklet packaged with the EP or album and seeing them with their instruments. As with the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul once again has a hand over his head (this time it’s George’s).
Above the four masked heads, yellow stars form the word BEATLES. I heard a really kooky story once about how someone on the radio was able to decipher a telephone number with these yellow stars by holding the album cover upside down and standing in front of a mirror. Somehow this person surmised that the time to call the number would be on Wednesday morning at five o’clock (previously mentioned as the time of Paul’s death and “She’s Leaving Home” lyric). When the number was called, someone that sounded like an old man answered and the caller asked who he was. The old man voice replied “old PMC, is that enough?” The caller explained that he called to get information about The Beatles and specifically about Paul McCartney. The voice told him to call again on Friday morning (two days later) at nine o’clock. Now you may remember that the other time besides Wednesday morning at five o’clock mentioned in the song “She’s Leaving Home” is Friday morning at nine o’clock. Our caller explained what he did on his radio show and all about his creepy conversation with “old PMC.” When Friday morning at nine o’clock arrived, he made the call while on the air, so that everyone listening could tune in and hear what would happen. Oddly enough, when he made the call, the number had been mysteriously disconnected.
More Walrus clues: Despite what costumes The Beatles were wearing, John sings in his White Album song “Glass Onion” that “the walrus was Paul.” A walrus is purportedly a symbol of death in some Scandinavian countries, while the word “walrus” originated from the Greek, for “corpse.” While it is plainly John singing “I Am The Walrus,” could it symbolically be Paul singing “I am the corpse?” Another indication that the walrus was not John, and therefore Paul, occurs in the titles list of the songs for Magical Mystery Tour that is seen in the booklet packaged with the EP and album. The title of “I Am The Walrus” has a parenthetical note following it which plainly reads “No You’re not! said Little Nicola.” Does this mean that Little Nicola, a young child actress from the Magical Mystery Tour film, knew that the real walrus (i.e. corpse) was Paul? To insure this clue isn’t missed, Little Nicola also tells John he’s not the walrus within the comic-strip.
The photo/comic strip booklet that comes with the Magical Mystery Tour album and EP has three additional photos of Paul with a hand over his head. Another photo shows him without his shoes. As with the Abbey Road jacket photo, this is not only an exception clue (since the other Beatles do have their shoes on), but also an indication that he is a corpse (since shoes are removed before you are buried). Paul’s shoes do appear a couple feet to his left in the photo, near Ringo’s bass drum. Some suspicious blood-like red smears are seen on the left shoe. Another picture of shoeless Paul appears earlier in the book and also includes the other Beatles (with their shoes on, of course).
Speaking of Ringo’s bass drum – In the same photo that shows Paul without his shoes, we see the bass drum with an orange-red drum head that says “LOVE” across it. Under LOVE it says “The Beatles.” Between the words “LOVE” and “Beatles” is a small squiggly “3.” Read as a whole, the bass drum reads “Love The 3 Beatles.” Once again, as we saw on both Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, we have an indication of “3 Beatles.” One is therefore an imposter.
Another photo in the book shows Paul in military uniform sitting at a desk. Directly in front of him is a sign referring to him as someone from the past. The sign reads simply I WAS. Behind Paul in the same photo are two British flags. They are crossed in the proper position for a military funeral.
Another exception clue: One of the photos in the booklet show The Beatles in white suits in front of a long, winding staircase (this was from the “Your Mother Should Know scene in the Magical Mystery Tour film). The Beatles all have carnations pinned to their lapel. John, George and Ringo have traditional red carnations and, of course, Paul’s is black. When asked about this later, Paul explained that they were out of red, so he grabbed a black one. Yes, Paul, a likely story.
Part 6 – The Death-Clues/The White Album
The musical clues include the lyrics to Ringo Starr’s “Don’t Pass Me By,” where he sings “You were in a car crash and you lost your hair.” I guess no explanation is needed for that one. At the end of “I’m So Tired” we hear John singing some mumbled gibberish that when played in reverse says “Paul is a dead man. Miss him! Miss him! Miss him!” In the track “Glass Onion,” John sings “here’s another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul” (this was already mentioned in the section on Magical Mystery Tour above). Also in “Glass Onion,” John sings “Looking through the bent back tulips, to see how the other half lives.” Could this be a reference to Paul looking up through the flowers at his grave site to check up on the living? Paul’s “Blackbird” may be considered symbolic due to blackbirds often poetically taken as a sign of impending death or doom.
The most well-known musical death-clue of all is one found in “Revolution 9.” This one, in fact, is so well-known that I’m reasonably certain that 99% or more of those reading this are already well aware of it. Again, for the sake of being complete, I’ll describe it anyway. One of the tape looped recordings on the track is that of a sound engineer testing his voice by saying “this is EMI test series number nine.” The phrase was shortened to simply a “number nine…” and made to repeat several times in succession. This re-occurring “number nine” appears frequently throughout the course of the track among other tape loops that contain sound effects, random parts of discussions and other noises that often conjure up images of destruction, burning, violence and death (i.e. explosions, fire, a baby crying, etc.). When the engineer’s repeating voice is played backwards, “number nine, number nine…” becomes unmistakably “turn me on dead man, turn me on dead man…” Many argue that this could not really be a clue, since the engineers voice was likely recorded before any sort of alleged accident by Paul and not recorded by any within the Beatles’ camp anyway. This argument doesn’t hold water though because anything can be tweaked to have a message when reversed or inserted into the music with the right techniques. The Beatles, remember, had already discovered the backmasking technique years before with the track “Rain.” Besides, the fact that John chose to include it, regardless of the amount of tampering necessary, is reason enough to qualify it as a real clue. Towards the end of “Revolution 9” there is a chanting crowd that seems to say “Paul’s not dead, Paul’s not dead….” Some say this message is indicative of The Beatles fearing that they’ve already given too much away and now need to reverse the public opinion. Okay, whatever.
Now for the visual White Album clues: There is a black and white portrait for each Beatle seen in a row in the inner-gatefold of the jacket. These are also included, in color, as separate photo inserts along with a poster, in the double-LP’s packaging. There is an exception clue apparent here since the photo of Paul is much more zoomed-in than the photos of the other Beatles. Some think that the reason it is a closer shot is to draw attention to the scars around his upper lip. Were these scars indicative of any necessary plastic surgery that William Campbell needed in order to facilitate his new identity as Paul?
The poster that comes with the White Album has lyrics on one side and an interesting photo collage on the other. One of the photos in the collage show Paul laying in a bathtub with his head back and eyes closed. The way the waters cover his neck have caused some to believe that this is symbolic of the way his head was separated from his body during the tragic accident. I guess you really have to use your imagination for that one. There is also a shot near the bottom right of the collage showing Paul dancing while standing in front of a pole. There are some eerie looking skeleton-like hands directly behind his lower back that are reaching out to grab him. I guess that’s a good one for you grim reaper fans. There is also what looks like a passport photo of Paul in the lower left section of the collage. Somehow he looks different though. Is it the thick horn-rimmed glasses or slicked down hair? Could this really be William Campbell before undergoing his plastic surgery?
Part 7 – The Death-Clues/Yellow Submarine
The Beatles were not as heavily involved with the Yellow Submarine album since it only contained four previously unreleased Beatles tracks that were largely considered throwaways from other albums. Though The Beatles only appear in Heinz Edelman’s own cartoon form on the album’s cover art, there is still a visual clue. Directly over cartoon-Paul’s head is a hand (John’s). A portion of the same illustration is seen on the back of the jacket, also showing the hand over Paul’s head. This hand-over-head clue appeared in the Sgt. Pepper artwork and numerous times in the Magical Mystery Tour artwork. If it was ever dismissed as coincidental, well, here it is again. As mentioned earlier, there is a superstition that relates a hand over a head in a photo as an indication of impending death to the one whose head is under the hand, or in the case of repeated occurrences, that someone may really already be dead (i.e. a ghost).
I have now covered a large collection of these purported “death-clues” that occurred between the time of the alleged accident up to the Abbey Road album, when the idea of the clues themselves was first introduced. It didn’t stop there though. Now that much of the public was aware of this bizarre little theory, the next album was eagerly awaited to see if more clues would be revealed. That next album, in America anyway, was Hey Jude.
Part 8 – The Death-Clues/Hey Jude & Let It Be
Hey Jude was released in North America in February 1970 and designed specifically as a compilation for the American market. Also titled on first pressings as The Beatles Again, the album contained Beatles songs between 1964 and 1969 that had not previously been released on a Capitol album. Since the project was largely one of Beatles acting manager Allen Klein instead of The Beatles themselves (who you might as well say had already broken up), there is not really any input from the group to speak of. And yet, there is still a visual clue on the front cover. It’s simply an exception clue. As with their previous album Abbey Road, Paul is seen as the only Beatle without a beard.
Let It Be, released worldwide in May 1970, was considered the final Beatles album. Paul had announced his departure from the band with the release of his McCartney album the preceding month. As with Hey Jude, the only death clues I will note here are ones that appear on the front cover. Arranged in a 2 x 2 matrix, four portraits are shown, one for each of the Beatles. A quick study of these reveals three exception clues: The camera angle for each portrait of John, George and Ringo is such that they are all looking to the left. Paul, on the other hand, is looking forward (i.e. straight out at the camera). Secondly, the background of each of the others is white, while Paul’s is blood-red. Finally, while the previous two albums (Abbey Road and Hey Jude) showed Paul as the only beardless Beatle, he is now the only one with a beard. It’s amazing how he was the exception in this category for three albums in a row. Coincidence?
Part 9 – Would-Be Clues
It’s also interesting to point out how some other items can almost be classified as clues, yet they don’t fit the timing of a November 9th, 1966 death. I did mention before though that there are variations to the story and the timing may have been earlier, or later. Since I don’t believe Paul is dead anyway, I’m not going to bother discussing any of the millions of variations to the story. And yet, you may consider some of these “would-be clues” interesting.
The North American album Yesterday…And Today (June 1966) had a cover shot that shows The Beatles standing around a large trunk (see right photo above). Paul, unlike the others, is sitting inside the trunk. It almost looks as if Ringo is pushing the lid closed. Even though it’s quite obvious, I’ll point out that the trunk could be symbolic of a coffin. Perhaps the jacket should be viewed after turned on it’s spine side to get the full effect.
The first copies of the Yesterday…And Today album had an alternate cover (the famous “Butcher Cover” showing the Beatles with bloody meat and decapitated baby dolls – see left photo above). While a decapitated baby doll could be considered symbolic of Paul’s gruesome fate, there is another point to make here. John Lennon owned a copy of this album and sketched a picture on the back side of the jacket. A photo of this sketch (seen immediately below) shows a boy holding a shovel as he stands over an area of ground that appears to have just been filled back in with dirt. The boys eyes appear to have tears in them.
The Revolver LP cover artwork by Klaus Voormann (August 1966) shows a would-be exception clue. While John, George and Ringo are looking out of the photo so that both of their eyes are visible, Paul is depicted in profile as a one-eyed Jack and looking to the left. Once again, he is the “out-of-place” Beatle. I’m surprised he didn’t have a beard this time, but I guess it was too early for that.
On Paul’s Rubber Soul track, “I’m Looking Through You” (1965), he sings “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.” That one is a no-contest description of an imposter.
There are other lyrical would-be clues such as in “Yesterday” (1965) when Paul sings “I’m not half the man I used to be, there’s a shadow hanging over me.” If he’s not half the man he used to be, is it because he is an imposter? If there’s a shadow hanging over him, is that because he is laying in an open grave during a funeral ceremony? I guess that is similar to the “Come Together” clue described earlier.
On the cover of either the U.S. or U.K Help! album (1965) we see another would-be exception clue. John, George and Ringo are all wearing hats. Paul is not.
Part 10 – Aftermath
Even though I’ve given a nice overview and description of hundreds of these “death-clues” above, I make no claim than the list is complete. It’s a rough sampling at best. Still, I think there’s more than enough cited to give those interested an idea of how crazy the clue-searching endeavor became. There are three camps of thought concerning the Paul-is-dead theory. There are those that think of it as all coincidental and any death implication was imagined and “hogwash.” Then there are those who think that, while Paul is really alive, at least some of what was found was actually deliberately placed and that it was The Beatles’ own clever way of either having fun messing with our heads, or selling more records. Finally, there are those that actually believe that Paul is really dead. Some of these believers say his death came just as I’ve described above. Some have their own variation of the story.
Those that believe Paul is actually dead, refer to their “fake” Paul as “Faul.” There is a percentage of these people that still seek indications that prove Faul is not Paul. I don’t mean by continuing to study The Beatles music or album covers either, but by actually getting forensic about it and comparing recent pictures of Paul with older ones and analyzing ear size, height, teeth, eyebrows and other physical attributes. When we consider the camera angles/distance, lighting, the reality of people changing as they age, and millions of other variables that tend to affect a photo image, it’s not hard to understand that this is no efficient means of coming up with any kind of concrete evidence about how “real” or “fake” Paul/Faul is, or is not.
I’ll wrap up with this October 21st, 1969 radio announcement by WABC dee-jay Roby Yonge concerning Paul’s death (this was previously featured on TheBeatlesRarity here).
Roby Yonge - Paul is dead
That’s all I have on this topic. Thanks everyone for reading. If you’ve further info to add or more clues to list you may do so in the comments section below.
Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions! Keep #askNat going by sending your questions to me in any of the following ways:
1) There is a contact form that you fill out right on the website where you can give your name, location, email address and submit your question. The form is right here and is the same form used to submit requests for BROWs (Beatles Rarity Of The Weeks).
2) If you are a Facebook user, you can submit your question right on TheBeatlesRarity FB page at www.facebook.com/beatlesrarity. If you think about it, try to remember to flag your question with “#askNat”.
3) Similarly, if you are a Google+ user, you can submit your question on TheBeatlesRarity Google+ page at www.gplus.to/beatlesrarity. Google+ supports hashtag searchability so it will be helpful if you preface your question with “#askNat” here too.
4) For you Twitter users, www.twitter.com/beatlesrarity gets you to the right place. Post your question and be sure to add “#askNat” somewhere in the tweet.
Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:
1) The Walrus Was Paul: The Great Beatle Death Clues – a very comprehensive book (published in 1998) giving even more depth than my synopsis above about the purported “death clues” by R. Gary Patterson.
2) The Beatles (The Original Studio Recordings) – 2009 16-disc box set of all Beatles stereo albums up through Let It Be. VD or vinyl options available.
3) The Beatles in Mono (The Complete Mono Recordings) – 2009 13-disc box set of all Beatles mono albums up through the White Album. VD or vinyl options available.