Monday, November 20, 2006

Turn Me On, Dead Man

I had an idea to write about the "Paul is Dead" rumors from the late 1960's.

Unfortunately, I read about it and concluded that it is far and away the dumbest conspiracy theory of all.

Usually, when I write about this counter-culture stuff (crap), I like to frame the beliefs in such a manner that they seem somewhat plausible.

I don't think I can do that here.

So, I'll just list the evidence.

If you hold the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover up to a mirror, the end "Lonely Hearts" part of the sign reads "He Die" and allegedly points to Paul.

On the back cover of Sgt. Pepper's Paul faces backwards, while the rest of the band members face forwards and George Harrison is pointing to the lyric "Wednesday morning at five o'clock" from the song A Day in the Life, which is supposedly the time when McCartney, leaving the studio after an argument with the band, crashed his car.

The Sgt. Pepper's cover is supposed to be a funeral for McCartney. There are lots of little "clues" that I don't feel like naming because they are so dumb.

There is actual backward masking on Sgt. Pepper's. After the final track "A Day in the Life," a brief, unintelligible blur of sound plays. It is included on the CD version as well. According the McCartney when played backwards it says "We'll fuck you like a superman." (The Beatles were on a lot of drugs.)

(It should be pointed out here that, for some, the McCartney is Dead belief was very real. In the late 60's and early 70's, it acquired a lot of momentum and was talked about excessively on the radio and written about in magazines. The Beatles themselves have referenced it a number of times. McCartney released an album entitled Paul is Live in 1993 and John Lennon talked at length about the rumor in interviews after the band split. In his song, "How Do You Sleep", which is about McCartney, he sings "Those freaks was right when they said you was dead.")

Now, getting back to how dumb it is... In the middle spread of the Magical Mystery Tour album, there is a picture of Paul barefoot. His shoes are next to Ringo's bass drum which says "Love the 3 Beatles." (The shoes thing would come up again on the Abbey Road cover.) Also, in an image reproduced from the Magical Mystery Tour film, Paul wears a black carnation on his white suit while the other Beatles wear red. (I know, so what, I know...look I'm out of ideas.)

Did You Know - In the Magical Mystery Tour film, Vivian Stanshall from the Bonzo Dog Band plays a song called "Death Cab for Cutie" which is about a fatal car accident. This added fuel to the rumor that McCartney had died in a car crash (I think we can all agree Paul was the cute one) and provided the name of the current "Death Cab for Cutie" of Orange County fame.

There is some talk of backward masking on
Magical Mystery Tour, but none that seems very credible. Some people think Lennon yells "I buried Paul" during "Strawberry Fields Forever", which led to the great Simpson's joke of Homer yelling "I buried Flanders" during the opening credits of the "D'oh-in the Wind" episode.

The White Album is the Beatles work that has caused the most controversy.
(And not just in this area. Compared with Charles Manson hearing
apocalyptic sermons about an upcoming race war in the songs "Helter Skelter" and "Revolution 9", the Paul is Dead idea seems rather tame.)

There is without question backward masking on the song "I'm So Tired". The backwards gibberish is easily apparent at the end of the song if you just listen to it normally. Supposedly played in reverse it says "Paul is dead, man. Miss him, miss him, miss him."

The song "Revolution 9" is rife with backward masking or at least theories of it. The repetition "number 9, number 9" throughout the song becomes "turn me on, dead man" played backwards. (That one is the most popular "clue".) " become naked" backwards is "Satan look at me." (This one is accepted as true, although it has nothing to do with Paul being dead.) There are also sounds of a car crash, a voice yelling "Get me out, Get me out" and other instances of chatter that are sometimes identified as references to Paul's death. (The most repeated one seems to be John Lennon saying ""...Yoko, you better go to see he's dead...")

The Beatles were on a lot of drugs.

Another Did You Know - McCartney and producer George Martin fought to keep "Revolution 9" off the album but John and Yoko won out. Maybe if McCartney had been successful we wouldn't know who Charles Manson is?

The cover of Abbey Road is supposed to be a funeral procession with John as the priest, Ringo as the passable drummer along for the ride, Paul as the dead guy, and George as the gravedigger. Again, McCartney wears no shoes and holds a cigarette in his RIGHT hand even though the REAL Paul was LEFT handed. (I mean, granted, you wouldn't be able to SEE the cigarette if it were in his left hand, but that reasoning is much too logical.) McCartney is out of step with the other three. The license plate on the car on the left reads 281f, which has been interpreted as 28 If, as in, Paul would be 28 if he had lived. The car that is driving down the road in the background is in line to have hit McCartney.

What's amazing to me is that the Beatles were only in their late 20's when they recorded Abbey Road.

During the ad campaign for Abbey Road, the Beatles released a poster with four candles in a holder. Three were lit and one was recently extinguished. It was a humorous allusion to the Paul is Dead rumor by the Beatles themselves, leading some to speculate that the entire cover of the album was the same.

Finally, on the Let It Be cover, John, Ringo, and George are facing left with white backgrounds and Paul is facing forward with red. Obviously this means he died.

Oh, I forgot to mention...

McCartney was supposedly replaced by some dude named Billy Shepard.

Here is a website with the full story and lots of photographic "evidence":


At 2:56 PM, Blogger SMangat said...

that was a tour de force:
does the paul doppleganger admit to beating that cripple that he married?

At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very cool post

At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great write-up!


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