Learn all the facts surrounding the "Paul is Dead" incident of 1969. Was it merely a rumor or a planned hoax? Find out the songs and album covers that support the theory. Note: In the picture at right, Paul is the only one wearing a black carnation; the other three Beatles' have red.
Oh Look Out! Songs and Albums of The Beatles
By John T. Marck
The "Paul Is Dead" Rumors
"Well, Here's A Clue For You All..."
So, was the "Paul Is Dead" incident a hoax, or perhaps a marketing ploy, or merely just a coincidence? - we may never know for sure. It all stated, as best as we can determine, like this.
Allegedly, on Wednesday, November 9, 1966, at five O'clock, Paul was driving home when he took his eyes off the road to glance at a very attractive meter maid. As he approached an intersection, he didn't know the traffic light had changed to red. He passed thru the intersection, against the red light and crashed into another vehicle. It gets better! Then as a result of this horrific crash, Paul was disfigured, and because he teeth were knocked out, no dental records could be used to identify him. Then because there was a fire in the crash, his hair was burned. What makes this widely known story ever more fascinating, is that the other three Beatles knew this person was Paul. But, don't spend much time trying to analyze this as to the car's identification, or other normal procedures - it isn't worth the time. Just believe for the moment that the rumor got stated, and by whom we do not know, but that Paul died in this crash. It is also said that the newspapers were stopped from reporting the accident, and no police report was completed.
Then as the story goes, a Paul McCartney look-alike contest was held, and the winner was a man named William Campbell, although this was never announced. The story goes on that Campbell received plastic surgery to made him look as close as possible to the real Paul, but had a scar on his lip, etc. Most of these rumors surfaced in 1969, when it was discovered that there were many supposed clues as to Paul's death in their music, especially when some areas were played backwards. The quest for more and more clues continue today.
There are people who say they have found clues to Paul's death in their "Butcher Album" which is actually the album "Yesterday and Today," as well as "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver." However, since these albums were all released prior to November 9, 1966, that is not likely. What many people have done is to take words and phrases from their songs and turn them into other meanings. Anyone can find a different meaning to almost any phrase if you try. This is one of the reasons I wrote my column on The Beatles, to explain exactly what each song really means.
However, I will admit there are some strange things in their various songs and album covers that make you wonder. As Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was the first album released after the so-called car crash where Paul was killed, it does get interesting. So now, here are some of the things and clues that I am aware of in the continuing saga of the "Paul Is Dead" rumor. When you read these, some make perfect sense, yet others are really stretching the theory. But it has been fun searching for all these clues over the years, and wondering, what if? Is it all just a coincidence or was it planned by The Beatles? A marketing ploy maybe -but then why? How about the fact that when the rumor really took hold in 1969, this was just prior to McCartney releasing his first solo album with the breakup of The Beatles imminent? As I said earlier, who really knows. This may go down in history with "Who Killed President Kennedy," and who is Elton John really talking about in his song, "Someone Saved My Life Tonight." We may never know. There are many more than noted here, but I have only included the most reasonable ones. Some ideas are really stretching this theory too far... And now, Here's A Clue For You All...
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band:
On the Front Cover:
1.) All the people are looking at a freshly dug grave.
2.) Paul is holding the musical instrument cor anglais, and it is black, symbolizing death, and the only Beatle holding a black instrument. Where Paul is holding it with his left hand (being left-handed) he is displaying three fingers, meaning only three Beatles left?
3.) This was the first album on Apple Records and the first album that the group wrote their name as "Beatles," rather than "The Beatles." This is inferred to mean that they are no longer a whole as in "The," but now since there are only three, it is just "Beatles."
4.) The yellow hyacinth in the shape of a left-handed guitar only has three strings.
5.) The doll in the red, black and white stripes has a car model on her lap next to her right hand. This model with red interior is supposed to mean the car in which Paul was killed and the red interior is blood.
6.) The other three Beatles' are standing sideways behind the drum, except Paul who is standing forward.
7.) On the drum is written in the center "Lonely Hearts." Using a mirror, place it perpendicular to the center of the drum. Splitting the words "Lonely Hearts" in half, the combined writing reads - 1 ONE 1 X HE DIE. This means that the "1 One 1" equal three, or that Paul is gone, and the "X" is meant to cross out Paul. Between the words "HE" and "DIE" is an arrow that points directly to Paul.
8.) The hand raised over Paul's head, is to mean "death."
The Back Cover:
1.) Paul is facing the back, which can mean that he is an imposter, or that he is dead.
2.) George's right-hand index finger is pointing directly to the words "five o'clock," the supposed time of the car crash.
3.) That the song lyrics "Within You, Without You," are printed over Paul's body.
1.) Lovely Rita: "When I caught a glimpse of Rita," and "I took her home, I nearly made it."
2.) A Day In The Life: " 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..."
3.) Good Morning, Good Morning: "Nothing to do to save his life." "People running around it's five o'clock."
4.) She's Leaving Home: "Wednesday morning at five o'clock."
5.) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: The reference to Billy Shears is supposed to be that of William (Billy) Campbell, the look-alike.
Magical Mystery Tour
The Front Cover:
1.) Paul is alleged to be the one in the "black" walrus suit.
2.) In the booklet, Ringo's drums read "Love the 3 Beatles."
3.) In the picture where The Beatles' are wearing white tails, Paul is the only one with a black carnation, the other three have red.
4.) When you hold the album cover to a mirror, the word "Beatles" is a phone number, which is 2317438. It has been said that if you had called this number back then, a recording came on saying, "you're getting closer." Of course there is no area code etc., so I doubt this one too.
1.) I Am The Walrus: At the end of the song, where the spoken words from the play King Lear are placed, you here "O, untimely death!" and of course as we know, "The Walrus Was Paul."
2.) Strawberry Fields Forever: When John Lennon says in the end of the song the words "Cranberry Sauce," it was long believed to be he saying "I Buried Paul." However, it was electronically manipulated to sound like he was saying "I Buried Paul" but he actually isn't. 3.) All You Need Is Love: At the end, Lennon says, "Yes, he's dead."
The Front and Back Covers
1.) Lennon's hand raised over Paul's head, indicating "death."
The Beatles (The White Album)
1.) Glass Onion: The term used for a coffin with a glass top.
2.) 'Don't Pass Me By: "You were in a car crash...."
3.) Revolution 9: The words, "Number nine, number nine," repeated many times are supposed to say when played backwards, "dead man, turn me on dead man." The reference to the number 9 is supposed to be that of McCartney having nine letters.
The Front Cover:
1.) The common meaning of the Beatles' dress - Lennon in white for a priest, Ringo as the undertaker, George as the grave digger, and of course Paul, in his bare feet, holding a cigarette in his right hand (being lefty) all means death.
2,) The police vehicle parked to the right in the photograph is a morgue wagon.
3.) The Volkswagen parked on the left side of the street has a tag that reads, "LMW 28IF. This has been construed to mean "LMW - Linda McCartney Weeps" and the "28IF" means that Paul would have been 28 years old IF he had lived.
So there you have it, some of the so-called clues to his mystery, hoax or whatever you want to label it. Are these clues likely to mean anything close to what they are supposed to mean? I seriously doubt it. Are they coincidences - very likely the only answer? I don't believe for a second that anything happened to the real Paul McCartney. But, I will tell you this, that on Wednesday, November 9, 1966, Paul did have an accident. On this morning, he was riding a motorcycle on his way to his Aunt Bett's house, and did have an accident, which resulted in him clipping his tooth and cutting his lip. He was later displeased with the doctor who cared for him because he received a scar to his lip as a result. Knowing how the press reports incorrect information all the time, they very easily could have incorrectly reported that Paul died in this accident, which could have started it all.
Although it is unclear as to why this hoax or rumor was started, or exactly by whom, I will say it has been a source of entertainment over the years. Anyone can look at a song, and if you are looking for clues to a death, can misconstrue any number of words and phrases to lend toward a belief. I believe that when the rumor surfaced, hundreds of people began searching for clues. With each new Beatles' album, people were always trying to figure out what The Beatles' were trying to say. As ridiculous as some of these meanings here are, there are also many other absurd incorrect meanings to their other songs.
If you'd like to learn the history of the various Beatles' albums and what their songs' mean, please take a look at my other articles on this site.
Copyright © 2000-2022 by John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author, or the registered copyright holders. Except as otherwise stated above, all information contained in this article, EXCEPT song titles, lyrics, and photographs, © John T. Marck.
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