i am sat listening to a couple of Beatles albums (Rubber Soul and now Revolver, if you really want to know) so a conversation from a little while ago came to mind. it was about that whole "Paul McCartney is dead" thing, which i thought the whole world knew of and had pretty much accepted was an elaborate hoax by the band. well, a hoax by the band or something they relished playing along with.
to my surprise, a number of people today (both "the kids" and those of us old enough to remember a time when a Beatle reunion was possible, for all four were still alive) are unaware of this interesting episode. well, to be honest, there are thousands of pages dedicated to it all on the net. however, to give any of you a head start on it and a brief look at how the Beatles played with the idea, here's a run down.
the allegation is that Paul McCartney, for no given reason, stormed out of the recording sessions for Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band during the first week of November 1966 and promptly died in a car crash. the remaining Beatles took the apparently immediate decision to replace him with a lookalike (called William Shears, no less) and carry on as if nothing had happened.
exactly how did this information "leak" in those days before people had computers at home, let alone the internet? well, by numerous books and magazines published on the subject, of course.
as you can see on that cover, there are apparently "death clues" about all of this. most, if not all, feature on Beatles songs and album covers. as this site is, strictly speaking, something you look at rather than listen to, i can't discuss much on the hidden messages in songs, but i can certainly show some of the "clues" on the album covers.
first up and obviously as it was the album he died during the recording of the band were keen to tell the truth straight away with the artwork for Sgt Pepper.
the clues here are obvious and not so obvious. the yellow wreath in the shape of Paul's bass falls into the obvious category, but there are other clues. if you look closely, you will see Paul is the only one facing straight on forward, suggesting it's not him, but a cardboard cut out. further, you will note that there is a raised, open hand above his head. this, in certain cultures and works of art, is considered to be a sign of the person being dead.
if you can be bothered, get a copy of the album cover and a mirror. hold the mirror up to the drum and the words "Lonely Hearts" apparently look like they are saying "He Dead" and seem to be pointing towards Paul.
the hand being raised above the head to signal death pops up at least once more, in cartoon form, for the cover of the Yellow Submarine soundtrack album.
the fact that John Lennon seems to be making a "heavy metal devil sign" long before that chap out of Dio apparently created it has been the subject of a good deal of speculation too.
now then, possibly my second favourite "clue". have a good luck at the cover for the EP released as a soundtrack for the poorly recieved Magical Mystery Tour film. i dare say it would have been better recieved had they not edited the scenes with the stripper, but moving on....
please ignore the obvious there. the clue here has nothing to do with one Beatle dressed in black with hands down whilst the other three are in (sort of white) with their hands held up. look instead at the rather unusal way the name Beatles is written out, and indeed how "The" is missing from the front.
the rest of this is only what i have heard, so please take it as such. if you turn the album cover upside down....
the word "Beatles" all of a sudden seems to be the number 5371438! i am told that if one dialled this number in America with a specific dialling code they got a recorded message. what was that message? "Paul is dead" over and over again.
i cannot vouch or state that the above is true, but i kind of hope so!
now then, finally, the masterpiece of "Paul is dead" clues. ladies and gentlemen, the celebrated Abbey Road album cover.
the band knew this was the last album, and thus presumably, if this was all a hoax, really pushed the boat out. i mean, just look at it. not seeing it? ok.....
look at the four Beatles. notice one of them is barefoot, out of step with the rest and clean shaved? John is dressed as one would for a funeral in Asia, Ringo is dressed as one would for a more European funeral and George looks like he's ready to dig a grave. others have speculated that John is the minister, Paul is the pall bearer and George is the mourner in a "symbolic" image. Paul's also in grey, as in between black and white, as in between two worlds.
that's not even the best part about the picture. you can't really see it here, but google away for a larger image and look at the number plate on the Beetle car you can see. some of the plate reads 28 IF. many have noted that, if he were alive at the time this picture was taken, Paul McCartney would have been 28 years old.
Paul McCartney, or if you will William "Billy" Shears, was certainly aware of that last point, hence the Beetle number plate reading as it does on the cover of the Paul is Live album.
that picture is not too clear, but i can tell you it does state what age he is at the time of this particular concert recording being released!
the big question is not so much did Paul die, but rather did The Beatles play along with this and deliberately put clues in records and album covers to play along? it's entirely possible that we are only seeing the things mentioned above simply because we are looking for them and want to see them, if that makes sense.
i have no idea if they did or not. the band certainly have never given a definitive yes or no on the subject, and i doubt that they ever would. i kind of hope that they did, though, as that speaks of amazing interaction with the fans in the most subtle of ways, something now just not possible with the in your face channels of the internet and social networks on which certain artists appear.
and no, not for a moment do i think that Paul McCartney died and was replaced with a lookalike. the sad end to all of this, though, is that it could well be that Paul is the last Beatle alive one day.
if this post has taken your fancy and you go off to research this theory / hoax a bit more, do have fun, but do remember to have a healthy pinch of salt at the ready!!!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!