Attention! This is a REBEAT magazine Special Report…Paul McCartney is DEAD! That’s right, Paul McCartney is DEAD! He died in a car crash in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike named William Campbell to keep the Beatles in business. The clues are all over the album covers and songs recorded from 1967 on. Oh, the humanity!
Obviously, I’m joking. I mean, it’s the year 2014—no one still believes the “Paul Is Dead” hoax anymore, right?
So I thought.
One recent night, curiosity got the best of me, and I started down the “Paul Is Dead” (or “PID”) Internet rabbit hole. I stumbled upon a music forum where conspiracy theorists were knocking themselves out, still trying to discredit Paul McCartney’s existence beyond 1966—this time not by playing album tracks backwards, but with the help of modern digital editing software. They analyze photos of the pre-1967 Paul with today’s Paul, scrutinizing the shape of his profile, ears, and nose, arguing that they couldn’t possibly belong to the same person.
The PID-believers even refer to the “newer” Paul as “Faux Paul,” or sometimes “Faul.” There are sites dedicated to the hoax that encourage readers to submit new clues that haven’t been mentioned before. I saw comments on YouTube claiming that Paul had brown eyes, while “Faul” has much lighter eyes that are green or blue. I read that John and George were caught in a documentary referring to someone named “Beatle Bill.” And all across professionally-written music sites and blogs, I saw comments left by the conspiracy theorists vehemently insisting that Paul McCartney is dead and that the rest of us are just a bunch of imbeciles and oh, by the way, denial is not just a river in Egypt.
C’mon, guys. Really?
Apparently, old conspiracies die hard (no pun intended), if at all. It’s been 45 years since the “Paul Is Dead” urban legend was born, when, in 1969, a well-meaning listener called into a Detroit radio station and told DJ Russ Gibb about the rumor and its clues. I’m not going to list them—many are common knowledge among music fans—but the album cover that started it all is Abbey Road, which supposedly depicts a funeral procession.
One of the most comprehensive clue compilations I’ve read is found in an article written by Joel Glazier that was published in a 1979 issue of the Beatles fanzine Strawberry Fields Forever (founded by the late, great Joe Pope). In the editor’s introduction, Pope urges his readers to approach the article with an open mind; by the end of it, my eyes were glazing over, especially when the piece took a dark turn into Charles Manson, Satanism and The Rolling Stones’ involvement in helping to cover up Paul’s death.
I’ll say it again: C’mon guys, really?
They just can’t let it be (pun intended this time). The great wide world of the interwebs has given more fodder for the Paul Is Dead conspiracy theorists to play with. But no matter. Because Paul is alive, y’all! I’ve seen him in interviews, I’ve seen him perform, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the same Paul McCartney that has been alive and well since 1942. Don’t believe me? OK well, then REBEAT magazine is out to prove you wrong. Here are my top factoids of proof that Paul McCartney is still alive and kicking:
9.) He’s Literally a Nowhere Man
I’m sure if we looked hard enough all over the planet, we could find a man who looks exactly like Paul (and, for argument’s sake, the same exact height), or we could find one who sings just like Paul, or we could find one that has the same Liverpool accent, vocal nuances and wit. But in order to pull the rug over discerning Beatles fans’ eyes, the band had to find someone who possessed ALL of these qualities. Perfection just cannot be duplicated. Even the best Beatles tribute bands can’t find a member to play Paul that could fool this Beatles fan, let alone millions all over the planet.
8.) He’s Still Writing Silly Love Songs
Oh, yeah, “Faux Paul” would have to dazzle as a songwriter, too, unless he’s had some assistance from someone on the inside. Unlikely—Paul’s been churning out delightful earworms in pretty much the same style since the late-1950s. That kind of natural-born talent would be impossible to duplicate, especially for someone with a non-musical background that supposedly won a Beatles lookalike contest.
7.) The Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes
I have an old book on Paul (that was published before the invention of Photoshop) that includes color photographs—many taken in the 1970s and 1980s after he supposedly kicked the bucket. His puppy dog peepers are just as brown as ever, so take that, hoax-believers!
6.) The Left Hand Doesn’t Know What the Right One is Doing
It seems that the hoax believers never address the fact that their “Faul” is left-handed and plays guitar with his left hand, just like Paul. Only 10% of the world’s population is left-handed and trust me, if you reach your mid-20s right handed, it’s extremely difficult to learn to play an instrument the opposite way. The conspiracy theorists want you to believe that “Faul” not only looks and speaks exactly like Paul, but that he’s left-handed, too. Gee, what luck.
5.) Jane Asher Would Have Known the Difference
“Gee, Paul…there’s something…I don’t know…different about you. You look…you know…bigger these days and what was up with that little trick of yours during our shagging session last night? You never did THAT to me before. Not that I’m complaining.”
Trust me, gentlemen—you never would have tricked Jane Asher with a fake Paul. We women always know when something is up. (Linda Eastman wouldn’t be fooled, either, although she started dating Paul in 1968, post-mortum.)
By the way, in early-November 1966 (when the car crash that supposedly killed Paul took place) Paul and Jane were on vacation in Africa.
4.) Paul Dismissed the Paul is Dead Rumor As Rubbish
In 1969, Life magazine interviewed Paul McCartney, who was living in Scotland with Linda and their two children, about the Paul Is Dead rumors. The Beatles had already broken up, but it was still a secret to the world. He said:
“It is all bloody stupid. I picked up that OPD badge in Canada. It was a police badge. Perhaps it means Ontario Police Department or something. I was wearing a black flower because they ran out of red ones. It is John, not me, dressed in black on the cover and inside of Magical Mystery Tour. On Abbey Road we were wearing our ordinary clothes. I was walking barefoot because it was a hot day. The Volkswagen just happened to be parked there.
“Perhaps the rumor started because I haven’t been much in the press lately. I have done enough press for a lifetime, and I don’t have anything to say these days. I am happy to be with my family and I will work when I work. I was switched on for ten years and I never switched off. Now, I am switching off whenever I can. I would rather be a little less famous these days.
“The people who are making up these rumors should look to themselves a little more. There is not enough time in life. They should worry about themselves instead of worrying whether I am dead or not.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
3.) There’s No Such Person as “Beatle Bill” or “Beatle Ed,” So Quit It Already!
Many PID conspiracy theorists love to point out how George Harrison and John Lennon refer to the characters “Beatle Bill” and “Beatle Ed” on the Gimme Some Truth documentary. I’ve watched the clip in question and it’s glaringly obvious that these references were just John’s — and George’s — signature, sarcastic humor shining through as usual, poking fun at the media’s references to the band members (“Beatle Paul,” “Beatle John,” etc.) When George says, “I see Beatle Bill is making a pig of himself,” he’s obviously referring to Phil Spector, who is stuffing his face at the dinner table he’s sharing with the other musicians and Yoko Ono. If you don’t believe me, watch the following clip—the conversation in question starts at the 4:45 mark.
2.) Even Lennon Knew the Hoax Was Just a Joke
Speaking of John, he addressed the Paul Is Dead hoax in “How Do You Sleep?”: “Those freaks was right when they said you was dead…the one mistake you make was in your head.”
Ha ha. John Lennon called you conspiracy theorists freaks!
1.) Who Else Would Be Dumb Foolish Enough to Marry Heather Mills?
OK, that was harsh (sorry, Mr. McCartney.) But you have to admit it’s a perfectly logical question. Luckily, he’s forgiven, especially since he married the very amazing Ms. Nancy Shevell after recognizing his misstep.
So, rest easier tonight, Beatle-lovers. Our beloved Paul still lives and breathes.