It's very unlikely that a dead guy would continue to record albums, tour around the world multiple times, and get married to Heather Mills, but it's just crazy enough that...it might be true!
I see that CreComm instructor Duncan McMonagle recently had his summer students (School in the summertime? No class!) explore the idea of urban legends and how they can get past the most astute editor, which I believe has more than a little something to do with the old journalism adage (stated ironically here, for your reading pleasure):
"Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story!"My favorite urban legend is one that still has a surprising amount of traction. It's the one that goes like this: the Beatles' Paul McCartney died in a car accident in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike, soundalike actor/singer.
I first heard about this urban legend when I was a Beatles-obsessed kid. Paul was my favorite Beatle, so I worried that it was true and spent hours and hours reviewing "the evidence" - little clues that were supposedly placed by the other Beatles in their albums' songs and artwork.
How ridiculous that anyone could believe...then again, it could be...it's true, and here's the evidence to prove it!
Paul is dead! The evidence:
1. The lyrics:
- Come Together: "One and one and one is three..." What about Paul?!
- Strawberry Fields Forever: At the end of the fadeout, ever so softly, we hear John say, "I...buried...Paul..." Or is that "I'm very bored?" Or "Cranberry sauce?" The first one!!!
- Don't Pass Me By: "You were in a car crash."
- A Day in the Life: "He blew his mind out in a car. He didn't notice that the lights had changed."
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps: Is that George wailing, "Paul, Paul...?"
- Glass Onion: "And here's another clue for you all/the walrus was Paul."
- She Said She Said: "I know what it's like to be dead."
- Magical Mystery Tour: "Is dying to take you away."
2. The backward messages
Play these songs backward - or follow the links to YouTube to hear other people do it - to hear about how Satan killed Paul McCartney in a car accident:
- Revolution #9: "Paul is dead!" followed by the car crash that killed him and "Turn me on, dead man."
- Between the end of I'm So Tired and the beginning of Blackbird: "Paul is dead, miss him, miss him."
3. The album photographs and artwork
- Yesterday and Today - The cover - the photo at the top of this post - clearly shows Paul looking out of a casket. But why is he so happy?
- Revolver - Paul stares sadly off to the side of the album, like he doesn't belong.
- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Paul is "marked for death" by the hand being held over his head.
At the bottom of the picture, Paul's bass is surrounded with yellow flowers, sitting atop...a grave?!
Paul is the only member of the Beatles holding a black instrument.
In the younger representation of the Beatles, Paul consoles Ringo, because that's the era in which Paul died.
Paul's back is to the camera.
The words "without you" in the song title appear above his head.
- The White Album
Paul also sports a new scar on his lip - though it's tough to see online.
- Magical Mystery Tour
Turn the album upside down to reveal a "hidden phone number" in stars, where you can phone to find out details of Paul's death. If only we had an area code...and knew how to dial an upside-down "A."
In the album's photo booklet, Paul's "double" sits at a desk with a sign that reads, "I was you."
In the same booklet, another hand marks Paul for death.
In the video for Your Mother Should Know, Paul is the only Beatle wearing a black carnation.
- Abbey Road
Paul, "the corpse," has bare feet, closed eyes, and is smoking a cigarette.
Volkswagen license plate: 28IF. Paul would be 28 IF he had lived.
On the back cover, a shadowy skull and bullet holes. The holes connected form a "three" - one for each of the remaining Beatles. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Beatles, for it tolls for three!
Duncan: can I please have credit for this assignment?