paul mccartney car crash

paul mccartney car crash

Paul Mccartney Car Crash

Beatle Paul McCartney gave one of the most bizarre interviews of his life on this day in 1969 when he appeared on the BBC to deny rumours that he had died three years earlier. The ‘Paul is Dead’ myth, which claimed the musician had been killed in a car crash in 1966 and been replaced in the band by a lookalike, first surfaced in a university newspaper in the United States in September, before being picked up by a number of radio stations. The rumour-mongers claimed that clues left by the Beatles in their songs and on their album covers revealed the truth. In fact, they claimed that the photograph gracing the sleeve of the band’s latest LP Abbey Road (below) provided the biggest hints yet. The image was claimed to show a funeral procession, with John Lennon dressed all in white as a priest, Ringo Starr in a black suit as undertaker; McCartney (the ‘corpse’) barefoot, eyes closed and out of step with the others; and the denim-clad George Harrison as gravedigger. Furthermore, a Volkswagen Beetle car in the background has the number plate LMW 28IF. 28IF was interpreted as referring to McCartney’s age, if he had lived. However, at the time of the album’s release he would actually have been 27. The bass player had issued a statement from his Scottish farm in an attempt to quash the story. “Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” he said, paraphrasing Mark Twain. “However, if I was dead, I’m sure I’d be the last to know.” The statement did little to quell the intrigue, so McCartney had to invite the BBC’s Chris Drake to interview him on the farm. He blamed the rumour on the lower profile he had adopted since getting married to Linda Eastman and becoming a father for the first time. The rumour eventually faded, but not before several songs recorded as ‘tributes’ to McCartney were released and became minor hits – and Capitol Records reported a big surge in the sales of Beatles records. The ‘Paul is Dead’ rumours – Did you know? Initial false reports of McCartney’s death circulated in the UK in 1967, perhaps as a result of two occurrences; in the first, the musician crashed his moped, resulting in a chipped front tooth and a small scar on his top lip, which he had disguised by growing a moustache. The second incident was when McCartney’s Mini Cooper was written off in an accident on the M1 in January 1967 – but it was being driven at the time by Mohammed Hadjij, assistant to art gallery owner Robert Fraser, a close friend of the Beatle. The rumour grew courtesy of an article written by student Tim Harper which appeared in the Times-Delphic, the newspaper of the Drake University in Iowa. It gained momentum on October 12 after an on-air call to Russ Gibb, a Michigan DJ, in which the caller stated McCartney was dead, and claimed clues could be found on Beatle albums – sending fans rushing to their record decks to check. One of the stories claimed that the man who had replaced Paul in the band was one William Shears Campbell – the ‘Billy Shears’ who is introduced to listeners at the start of With a Little Help From My Friends on the Sgt Pepper album. So-called clues also included Lennon mumbling “cranberry sauce” at the end of Strawberry Fields Forever, misheard as “I buried Paul”, and similarly his murmuring in I’m So Tired, interpreted as “Paul is dead, man, miss him, miss him”. By the end of October, McCartney tribute records released included The Ballad of Paul by the Mystery Tour, Brother Paul by Billy Shears and the All Americans, and So Long Paul by Werbley Finster (a disguised José Feliciano), while Terry Knight’s Saint Paul was re-released. McCartney parodied the rumours with the title and cover of his 1993 album Paul Is Live. The artwork was based on the Abbey Road cover photograph; instead of the 28IF number plate, a car shows 51 IS instead.
paul mccartney car crash 1

Paul Mccartney Car Crash

In an exclusive interview with the Hollywood Inquirer, Mr. Starr explained that the “real” Paul McCartney had died in a car crash on November 9 1966, after an argument during a Beatles’ recording session. To spare the public from grief, the Beatles replaced him with a man named William Shears Campbell, who was the winner of a McCartney look-alike contest and who happened to have the same kind of jovial personality as Paul.
paul mccartney car crash 2

Paul Mccartney Car Crash

Hundreds of supposed clues to McCartney’s death have been reported by fans and followers of the legend. These include messages perceived when listening to a song being played backwards and symbolic interpretations of both lyrics and album cover imagery. One oft-cited example is the suggestion that the words “I buried Paul” are spoken by McCartney’s bandmate John Lennon in the final section of the song “Strawberry Fields Forever”. Lennon later explained that the words were actually “cranberry sauce”. Another is the interpretation of the Abbey Road album cover as symbolising a funeral procession, where Lennon, dressed in white, symbolises the heavenly figure. Ringo Starr, dressed in black, symbolises the undertaker, George Harrison, in denim, symbolises the gravedigger, and McCartney, barefoot and out of step with the others, symbolises the corpse.
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Paul Mccartney Car Crash

A rumour circulated in London that Paul McCartney had been killed in a car crash after a January 1967 traffic accident involving his car. The rumour was acknowledged and rebutted in the February issue of The Beatles Book fanzine, but it is not known whether the rumour of 1969 is related to it. In October 1969, the Beatles had just released their Abbey Road album and were in the process of disbanding. McCartney’s public engagements were few and he was spending time at his Scottish retreat with his new wife Linda to contemplate his forthcoming solo career.
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Paul Mccartney Car Crash

Actually, as a kid, I can remember a news bulletin – I can’t remember the date that said Paul McCartney had died in a car accident and that he had been beheaded. It was a short announcement on news on the radio and over the next few days the news was changed to say that Paul hadn’t died but had been injured. Can anyone shed light on that? That was a news story some years before I read about there being a theory that he had died in a car crash. So I would think Paul was at least in a car accident of some sort that was reported. Posted by Teresa in Hamilton on Thu Apr 09, 2015 at 07:58 AM
paul mccartney car crash 5

Paul Mccartney Car Crash

Actually, as a kid, I can remember a news bulletin – I can’t remember the date that said Paul McCartney had died in a car accident and that he had been beheaded. It was a short announcement on news on the radio and over the next few days the news was changed to say that Paul hadn’t died but had been injured. Can anyone shed light on that? That was a news story some years before I read about there being a theory that he had died in a car crash. So I would think Paul was at least in a car accident of some sort that was reported.
paul mccartney car crash 6

Paul Mccartney Car Crash

The last batch of clues were planted on the album cover to “Abbey Road,” which was designed by Paul. McCartney came up with the idea to stage his own funeral. George, in the role of the grave digger, dressed in work clothes. Ringo, the funeral director, wore a black suit. John, the angel, wore white. Paul was barefoot, as it is the custom in several cultures to bury people without their shoes. In a subtle touch, the left-handed McCartney held a cigarette in his right hand. This was to imply that the Paul who had been with the group since mid-1966 was a right-handed imposter.
paul mccartney car crash 7

Paul Mccartney Car Crash

The cover was full of clues: the crashing car; Paul’s bass made of flowers; Paul having his back to the camera on the back cover; the hand over Paul’s head; and the infamous “O.P.D.” patch on Paul’s uniform, which was McCartney’s favorite Pepper clue. “We had to work hard on that one. Someone told John that in America the letters OPD stood for ‘Officially Pronounced Dead.’ I remembered I had this patch with the letters “OPP,” which I got in Canada. I think it stands for Ontario Police Precinct or something like that. So I got the idea to put the patch on my uniform’s sleeve and shoot the picture so that the lower part of the second ‘P’ would not be visible, thus making it look like ‘OPD.’ I was quite pleased with the way it came out.”
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Later songs also had clues. Paul admitted that “She’s Leaving Home” contained the time the car wreck supposedly occurred-“Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins.” The line “Meeting a man from the motor trade” tied in the motor vehicle. And, of course, “A Day In The Life” was about a car crash. According to Paul, “The drug references were just a smoke-screen to deflect attention away from the car crash, you know. ‘He blew his mind out in a car’ could mean his head was crushed or he was doing drugs. Take your pick.”

Published on Jun 27, 2017 | Under Car | By michael ellis
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