Retweet This Conspiracy Theory!

Here we are already marking the 54th Anniversary of the death of Beatle Paul McCartney on November 9th, 1966. Wait a minute … let me restate that! Here we are on the 54th anniversary of the weirdest and probably most famous music HOAX and Conspiracy Theory ever. The death of Beatle Paul McCartney on November 9th 1966! The phenomenon has become a permanent part of Beatle lore.
Here is the (now famous) myth. Paul was alone and speeding down a long and winding road in England one November night in 1966. Because of icy road conditions he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a pole killing Paul instantly. Before the press was able to get a hold of any information about the accident the remaining members of the band covered it up.
Fab Four and Brian Epstein
Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager, was so fearful that Paul’s death would totally sink The Beatles and cause a panic he secretly put together a search for a McCartney look alike. They amazingly found their double with a man named William Shears Campbell. However, eventually the surviving band members were supposedly so wracked with guilt about Paul’s death and the cover up that they began to hint about it. Before long Beatles fans began to claim they had found clues to Paul’s demise throughout their song lyrics and in artwork on Beatle albums.
Russ Gibb, a Detroit disc jockey on WKNR-FM, has been credited with unintentionally originating and unleashing the hoax. On October 12, 1969 one of his listeners requested he play backwards (on the air) a section of “Revolution #9” from the Beatles’ White Album. Gibbs thought he heard: “Turn me on, dead man.” To him it ostensibly referenced the death of Paul two years earlier and his replacement by a lookalike.
Later, on “Strawberry Fields Forever,” Lennon is supposedly heard saying “I buried Paul.” (He actually says “Cranberry Sauce.”) Rumors spread like wildfire and Beatles fans began searching their albums for even more clues.
The scar on Paul’s left upper lip
A giveaway photo, which came with The White Album, has Paul with scars on the left side of his upper lip which evidently happened with a slight mishap during the plastic surgery on William Campbell to make him appear even more like Paul McCartney. (Actually the blemish is from a motorcycle accident Paul had in the spring of 1966. You can see Paul’s knackered lip in the Fab Four’s “Paperback Writer” video.)
Later, the Fab Four basically laughed off the conspiracy theory and acknowledged they probably should not have played along with the paranoia and other aspects of the hoax, but at the time they were just having fun with it and in their view more importantly “making fun of it.” The conspiracy theory had a much stronger foothold in America than in the U.K. The Brits, especially in London, saw Paul with the other Beatles around town making it difficult for the hoax to acquire a solid footing. When Time Magazine did a feature on conspiracy theories they listed the “Paul Is Dead” hoax in the Top-10 at #4.
Of course, the internet wasn’t launched until August 6th, 1991, well over two decades later, so “The Paul Is Dead” conspiracy theory had to rely on comparatively primitive methods to successfully spread the hoax. However, it’s certainly not difficult to visualize what would have happened if “social media” had existed in 1969. To this day it would more than likely still have its loyal fanatical believers with the conspiracy continuing to increase its dogmatic momentum by leaps and bounds. “Help!”

Author: Jay Hamilton

Jay Hamilton is a veteran disc jockey, program director, music director and radio programming consultant. In the Pacific Northwest, he is best remembered for his time at KMPS AM/FM during the '70s and '80s. Jay is now retired and lives on the Olympic Peninsula. Music, of nearly every genre, has always been an important aspect of his life and he frequently contributes opinions, articles and "Collectibles" to Puget Sound Media.
Please review our COMMENT GUIDELINES before posting a comment.

14 thoughts on “Retweet This Conspiracy Theory!

  1. Poor Pauley, here it is an article about his “death” and John and Yoko are still getting all the attention!
    Yoko’s style of avant-garde art (in some circles) was known as absurdism. John met Yoko at her installations where he went to the top of a ladder and on the ceiling was a small note with the word “yes”. ~ When I was at KPOK-Portland my best friend was attending Portland State University working on a masters in art (sculpture), so I found myself at many art openings at galleries around Portland. I recall going to an opening at a gallery with a reputation for avant-garde art. All the “artist” did was take plywood, create new walls around the room, making the room 3ft smaller on all sides. That was the extent of the installation! Didn’t even paint the plywood! That was his “art”!! He came all the way from New York to do this! So, what Yoko did and called “art” (on records or in an art gallery) wasn’t all that weird … I suppose!

  2. Yoko was simply indulging in a form of therapy, popular in that time, called “Primal Scream”…..appropriate for her, as she had spent time in a mental facility, in between her marriages…Also, at the end of Strawberry Fields Forever, John weakly says “I’m very tall”…a reference to his heavy usage of LSD during recording sessions….I mean, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!!!

  3. Jay…your rehashing the history has convinced me that Paul is dead and that the only surviving Beatle is Ringo. Thanks a ton…it is like when I learned that Santa and the Easter bunny were fictituous characters. I still remember that day….a big letdown…it ruined my 18th birthday which was otherwise swell.

  4. I never new that Paul’s alleged double was named William Shears Campbell. Now for the first time I understand the significance of “Let me introduce to you, the one and only Billy Shears” on Sgt. Pepper.

  5. It had a record player with a “neutral” setting, so I ruined some records by spinning them backwards. Great fun for a 10-year old, as was playing Chipmunks albums at 16rpm!

  6. Obviously, over recent history Yoko has shown us that she is quite a decent human being, but a singer … Not so much! I’ve always been amazed with some critics who praise her singing … What’s up with that!?

    1. She is at least two centuries ahead of her time. I know she is not for everyone. I could never understand how anyone can stand Ethel Merman or Judy Garland? Honestly, I did not get into her music till 1974. I did some work in an art gallery and the director turned me on to her music. It is interesting that a lot of 80,s punk rockers started to like her music and had Yoko parties. A new dance version of walking on this ice was no. 1 on the dance charts a few years back. Rembrente was not famous for his work till after he died. Yoko will probably follow suit. People will say “what is wrong with those 20th century people?”

  7. Of course, Paul died many years ago. He blew his mind out in a car. Just as we know the earth is flat, there are things we can learn from Simpsons cartoons and song lyrics.

  8. 11/9/66. A day we should all remember. That is the day John met Yoko at the Indica Gallery in London. Go on you tube and watch Yoko,s video “walking on thin ice” That should have been a top 10 hit. Of all the Beatle rumors that I have heard, that one almost had me going. Someone has an aircheck of Roby Young getting fired from WABC for spreading the rumor.

    1. You’re killing me, Ed! I would rather hear Rosanne Barr fart the National Anthem, than listen to Yoko Ono screech like a wounded hyena.

  9. I was in a high school speech class when a student did a rather lengthy speech on this topic. She was convinced. I guess from fan magazines because we had no internet to spread rumors back then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.