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Reference Library: Paul Is Dead: An Historical Perspective

From: dhaber@primenet.com (David Haber)
Subject: PID: An Historical Perspective
Newsgroups: rec.music.beatles
Date: 5 Jan 1995 22:18:50 GMT

These have been in my Beatles clippings files since 1969. I was 14 when I saved these, and have been fascinated by the 'Paul Is Dead' legend ever since.

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[Newspaper article originally printed in New York Newsday, on October 22, 1969]

Relatives Insist Paul Is Alive

New York (UPI)--A Paul McCartney death cult is forming even though his relatives insist the famed Beatle is alive and in good health.

Fears that McCartney had died appeared several months ago when his fans began finding symbols in the lyrics of Beatle songs and on album covers. Radio stations and newspapers have been deluged with calls asking: "Is Paul dead?" Two weeks ago the Michigan Daily at the University of Michigan claimed that McCartney was dead and listed a series of lyrics, coincidences and album covers in an attempt to prove it. Radio station WKNR-FM in Detroit on Sunday broadcast a special on Paul for two hours without a commercial break but concluded that perhaps McCartney isn't dead.

The latest incident developed in New York early yesterday morning when Program Manager Richard Sklar of station WABC yanked Roby Yonge, an all-night disc jockey, off the air when he began discussing the McCartney rumors. "He was discussing them incoherantly," Sklar said. "He wasn't with it and didn't sound like himself."

The death rumor has been denied repeatedly by spokesmen for the Beatles' Apple organization in London.

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[Newspaper article originally printed in New York Newsday, on October 23, 1969]

Paul Makes It Clear: 'I Feel Fine'

London (AP)--"I am alive and well and concerned about the rumors of my death," says Beatle Paul McCartney. "But if I were dead, I would be the last to know."

At least, that's what the Beatles' business organization, Apple, said he said. The millionaire pop musician was on a motoring tour somewhere in England with his wife, two children and a dog and refused to let it be known where he could be found. Apple said yesterday that McCartney telephoned the denial of his demise to London Tuesday night.

"Paul refuses to say anything more than that," said Derek Taylor, Apple's chief spokesman. "Even if he appeared in public just to deny rumors it wouldn't do any good. If people want to believe he's dead, then they'll believe it--the truth is not at all persuasive."

Apple and U.S. news media have been flooded with telephone calls and letters about rumors in the U.S. that McCartney has been dead for years. "They are all ridiculous," Apple said. "It's a lot of nonsense," said fellow Beatle John Lennon. The rumors are too stupid to bother denying, said George Harrison, another member of the famed quartet. Beatle drummer Ringo Starr could not be reached for comment.

The rumors claim the Beatles have been dropping clues since 1966 about McCartney's supposed death. A disk jock for a Detroit radio station claimed to have assembled numerous clues. A record-spinner in New York was pulled off the air for recounting the rumors that brought a flood of telephone calls from fans and jammed the radio station's switchboard. Dallas and Austin, Texas, reported rumors were rampant there, and Mineapolis news media were swamped with fans' queries. Most of the clues supposedly appeared in Beatles album jackets.

The cover of the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" album is supposed to reveal a phone number in London, which, when dialed, answers: "Paul McCartney is dead." The number is 231-7346. No such number exists on the London telephone exchange. Another supposed hint was the license number of a car in the picture on the cover of "Abbey Road", the group's latest album. The license plate was said to bear the characters "28 IF," interpreted by some to mean that if McCartney were alive, he would be 28 years old. McCartney was born June 18, 1942, which makes him 27--not 28--and the license plate is "281 F" with the 1 a figure, not a letter.

Ian MacMillan, the photographer who took the picture for the album, said the car "just happened to be standing there. It had been left by someone on holiday--nobody with any connection with the Beatles--and a policeman tried to move it away for us, but he couldn't." In the same photo, McCartney's feet are bare, which to some is another sign of death. "It was a hot day," said MacMillan, "and he just took his shoes off and left them on the sidewalk. It didn't seem symbolic to me." On the the cover of "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," the Beatles are wearing uniforms, and McCartney has an emblem on the sleeve saying "OPD," which some interpret to mean "officially pronounced dead." The uniforms, complete the badge on McCartney's sleeve, were rented from a costume shop, worn for the picture, and returned.


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