"Paul Is Dead" revisited

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by nashreed, Feb 21, 2004.

  1. nashreed

    nashreed New Member Thread Starter

    Tulsa, OK
    First, a shocking revelation: Before today, my wife had never listened to the Beatles' "White Album". :bigeek:
    She knows some of the better known songs, but was sure she had never heard it played straight through.

    For fun, I pointed out the "gibberish" at the end of "I'm So Tired", which in turn got us to talking about the whole "Paul Is Dead" saga. I know all of the "clues" (was fascinated by them as a kid) and the meat and potatoes of the story (William Campbell, the car crash in '66, etc.). But she wanted to know more; more than I even knew (she's like a pit bull when it comes to inquiring conversations).
    Of course, the Beatles themselves have always maintained innocence over the whole matter ("cranberry sauce", etc.) and, obviously nobody believes Paul really died. Yet, there are some questions that linger...

    Somebody called a radio station and had come up with these "clues" going all the way back to '66, but why?
    I'm not that deeply into the hundreds of Beatles books that probably go into the hoax, but it seems that the ones I've seen just recite the clues/facts and that's it. Are there people who believe that someone in the Beatles camp started the rumours, and called the radio stations? My wife suggested it was someone in John's camp (because of the fighting/breakup around that time).
    And though they never admitted it, how many of the "clues" were actually planted by the group, or done on purpose? Some of them seem too good to be a weird coincedence or accident (I mean, what was the purpose of the "gibberish" after "I'm So Tired" anyway?). What exactly was John referring to in "Glass Onion" ("Here's another clue for you all...) if not some hoax or impending rumours over something?

    Even though this topic has been covered a little on the board before, it's an interesting conumdrum. I certainly don't expect definitive answers; but surely shewd Beatle minds here have fun theories and/or firm facts one way or another.


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  2. musicfan37

    musicfan37 Forum Resident

    I know one thing. The "Paul is dead" hoax probably sold a lot of albums from seekers trying to learn about the demise of poor Paul. And Capitol/Apple probably didn't want to spoil a good thing by saying something to ruin those sales.
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  3. daveman

    daveman Forum All Star

    What!?? You mean it was hoax? :confused:
  4. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    John later said in interviews that he was amused by the way people were hyper-analyzing Beatles records, listening to them backwards for hidden messages, etc (which had already started several years before the Paul is Dead rumors). So he put that line in there as a deliberate red herring clue to confuse the seekers of hidden meanings.
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  5. Mike Dow

    Mike Dow I kind of like the music

    Bangor, Maine

    This is the "clue" that freaked me out when I was a kid. I remember playing that little spoken interlude backwards and hearing "Paul is a dead man..miss him MISS HIM!"---I had chills, goosebumps, the whole nine yards. I am still unconvinced that John was completely innocent in the "clue dropping" department. I do believe that you hear what you want to hear but this particular clue is a little too clear and obvious. There is no question in my mind that they were just having a little fun at their obsessive fans' expense.

    What are some of the "clues" that gave you the willies?
  6. chris w.

    chris w. New Member

    The Sgt Pepper stuff gave me the willies. The Shiva doll with arms pointing up to both 'Pauls'; the vague 'Paul?' flower-guitar; Paul - or Mal Evans as it was - with his back to the camera; the Ontario Police Dept badge, OPD, supposedly 'Officially Pronounced Dead'. But I was 16 at the time and had only just discovered the Beatles for myself. I should have known better.

    Has anyone here actually held up the cover of MMT to a mirror and then phoned 'the telephone number' to contact Paul from beyond? I bet there are a few...!!!
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  7. Drawer L

    Drawer L New Member

    Long Island
    I've always thought that it was some kind of inside joke that went a little too far.There's too many for it to be a coincidence...
    On the other hand,I knew someone who was convinced they did it because of the Monkees.-1)they were the first group to rival them in sales;2)first Beatles release after the Monkees hit was Strawberry Fields with the "I buried Paul" at the end;3)the next Beatles album was Sgt.Pepper-with a cover loaded with "clues" 4)the story broke in the fall of '69,by which time the Monkees were out of the picture,sales-wise.The 3 previous Beatle albums all recharted.

    Also-I knew someone else who worked for the MDA telethon.The Hard Rock Cafe had given a large donation.This person went to see Issac Tiggert(?),who owned the Hard Rocks & more importantly was married to Maureen Starkey,Ringo's-ex.She was there & they somehow started talking about the whole Paul Is Dead thing & she said something like "yeah,WE had a lot of fun doing that"....
    And there was also the theory,in the Batman comic,what if Paul was alive & the other three had died,wouldn't it make sense for Paul to throw everybody off track & point to himself????
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  8. Urban Spaceman

    Urban Spaceman Forum Resident

    I wouldn't be surprised if they decided to run with the whole gag once it was brought to their attention. After all, isn't there a little backwards message at the end of "Free as a Bird"? It isn't a "Paul clue", but I took it as a nod to that piece of their history. (Jeff Lynne also peppered many ELO albums with backwards messages in the grooves!)

    ------- Chris
  9. Vinylbob

    Vinylbob Well-Known Member

    Ambler, PA
  10. JonUrban

    JonUrban SHF Member #497

    The Beatles were not in to marketing, and this would have taken a long range plan.
  11. Mister Kite

    Mister Kite Well-Known Member

    Columbia, MO
    I was in college at the time and we met nightly in my dorm room to listen to tracks and compile clues. It culminated in a group of us making the call...

    IIRC it actually took 3 or 4 tries. Let me see if I get this right.

    We placed a collect call to Mister Kite (so that's why I chose my handle! :D) from Billy Shears at the appointed time (Wednesday morning at 5:00 AM - per the pointing finger on the back of the Sgt Peppers cover.) The "trick" of course was to place the call at the right time so that the connection would go through at the proper moment (which in 1969 using a hall pay-phone was no small feat!) The first time, we were told the call could not be placed as dialed. We re-grouped and determined that we 'miss-read' the phone number (trying to decipher numbers out of all those stars, ya know... :winkgrin:.) The next time around we got an "all circuits busy" message. Now we thought we were really on to something! We waited yet another week and tried again. This time, the call went through at the appointed time but the party on the other end refused to accept the charges. Undaunted, we reconvened to my room and after reviewing the body of evidence one more time, someone suggested that we forgot to account for "daylight savings time."

    Doh! "That's it!" We thought.

    Now for the creepy part... We waited yet another week to try again. This time everything went according to plan. When the operator placed the call, the party on the other end asked "who?" two or three times and then suddenly accepted the charges. I could not hear it clearly since there were 10 or 12 of us crowded around a pay-phone handset, but once the charges were accepted, a message came on saying something along the lines of... "Congratulations. You've gotten farther than most people. Keep watching and listening."


    I know this sounds unbelievable, and if I didn't personally witness it, I sure as hell wouldn't believe it. But, I was there... and it did... and I definitely heard something. Just having someone accept the charges was weird enough for me!

    I think in hindsight what may have been going on here is that as momentum and speculation built around the "Paul is dead" mystery and album sales continued to soar, some label folks or people inside the Beatles organization decided to play along with joke and help perpetuate the hoax. Just my opinion mind you.

    If nothing else, it sure makes for superlative urban myth material... So, take the above with the proper grain of salt! :winkgrin: :laugh:

  12. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Lodi, New Jersey
    I've never done it (help up the cover or called the number), but I remember the story a little differently. The legend as I heard it was that if you call that British phone # that shows up from the stars when looking at it in the mirror on any "Wednesday morning at 5 o'clock as the day begins", you will be transported to a magical Beatle island (or something like that) never to be heard from again! :eek: :laugh:

    I have done this: take a butter knife and lay the smooth edge (so as not to damage the cover) against the bass drum on the cover of Sgt. Pepper exactly half way horizontally across the words "LONELY HEARTS". Look at the top half from the actual cover & the bottom half from the reflection in the knife together as one whole image, to see the new "message".
  13. nashreed

    nashreed New Member Thread Starter

    Tulsa, OK
    Awesome story, Mister Kite! What exactly is the phone # (I can never tell what the "T" and "L" are supposed to be)? How did the "area code" factor in, or did you need one for the UK?

    If there really was a part of the Beatles camp feeding and keeping the rumour alive, it's amazing that there is no proof or facts that have surfaced by now. Why haven't, for example, the majorly in-depth Beatle issues of "Mojo" magazine uncovered anything (I mean, I never knew that Traffic had been filmed for the "MMT" movie- where do they get this stuff??) Surely someone knows something that can talk about it after all this time- it's funny and interesting now, y'know?

    One "clue" that always FREAKED me out (that I never see mentioned) is the photo in the "White Album" poster of Paul facing sideways, in kind of a mid-clap, with these skeletal "ghost" hands behind him- like trying to reach him (and his head in the bathtub is what he looked like after decapitation :)...).

  14. ascot

    ascot Forum Resident

    I have a radio special on tape that says if you hold the MMT LP up to a mirror, the stars that spell out the name "Beatles" will reveal a phone number. I don't remember what the numbers were. It goes on to explain that you need to call on Wednesday morning at 5AM.

    The announcer goes on to point out that US telephone numbers have seven-digit numbers but in England, telephone numbers only have six digits. I don't know myself if this is true or not. But then he says, "We cannot explain the seventh number."

    No one ever explained the lack of area code either. I suppose if you tried this today the phone number would be 1-900-BEATLES, 1-900-NUMBER9, or 1-900-DEADMAN. :D
  15. ascot

    ascot Forum Resident

    IMO, the best clue is the Sgt. Pepper drumskin. :thumbsup:
  16. daveman

    daveman Forum All Star

    Yes! That is one "clue" I really don't understand. What in the WORLD is that? It definitely looks freaky. Something ain't right there...
  17. ascot

    ascot Forum Resident

    Not really. It's just bends in the original photograph.
  18. daveman

    daveman Forum All Star

    What do you mean? I'm not sure I understand what you're saying.
  19. ascot

    ascot Forum Resident

    I just think the "skeletal hands" in the picture are creases in the original photo. Yes, the effect is eerie in the poster.
  20. Director

    Director Well-Known Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    I've never held a butter knife up to the drumskin on Pepper...but my favorite clue is in the patch of flowers on that cover. Same thing...hold a butter knife on the lower half of it and you get the message...
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  21. Adam9

    Adam9 Formerly jbohdan

    Toronto, Canada
    Actually the badge was from the Ontario Provincial Police - OPP. The "P" only looked like a "D" because it was folded.

    Another "Paul is alive" clue :D .
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  22. Rick B.

    Rick B. Active Member

    I was a teenager through the "Paul Is Dead" times. One thing that I said at the time was that Paul looked different from Sgt Pepper on that he did when they first came out - and I especially said that his front teeth looked somehow changed.

    Imagine my surprise when it was revealed only a few years ago that he had had a motorbike accident in 1966 and had to have cap put on a chipped front tooth! Apparently, they did not want the story to get out for some silly reason. I stand affirmed!

    Here's a great link with dozens of Paul Is Dead clues:

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  23. Drawer L

    Drawer L New Member

    Long Island
    Actually,Paul's brother Mike,told the story about this in his book "THE MACS",which came out in the early '80s(1984,the latest.)Mike added the detail that Paul was stoned....
  24. Tetrack

    Tetrack Active Member

    Scotland, UK.
  25. Scott in DC

    Scott in DC Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    Calling all Beatles experts on this forum!

    I have always been interested in the Paul is dead" hoax. Were the Beatles totally uninvolved in the creation and perpetuation of this hoax (such as is suggested in the Wikipedia link below) or were the Beatles themselves trying to fuel the mystery with "clues" like Paul facing backwards on the Sgt. Pepper's album?



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