One of the bizarre controversies that have trailed The Beatles was a rumor that broke out in 1966 that one of the band members — specifically Paul McCartney — was dead and replaced with a body double in all of their appearances. Another interesting side to the story was that the band intentionally dropped clues about the event in their music and album covers, while simultaneously denying the rumors.
However, Mary McCartney, daughter of the legendary Beatles singer, recently told Good Day New York of the mystery behind the constant death rumors about her father and how it affected her.
Paul McCartney’s Death Rumor
Mary revealed that the “Paul is dead” hints were part of a PR strategy that dated back to the summer of 1966, and that manager Brian Epstein formulated the plan to sell the Beatles’ albums that no longer contained love songs.
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“When I told him our future albums would be dominated by songs about interesting people and places, his heart sank. He didn’t think people would buy such albums and came up with this great idea to push sales in the event he was right and we were wrong,” Paul explained. “The idea was that we would plant clues in our songs and album covers that one of us had died in a car wreck. If after a few albums, our records weren’t selling well, we’d leak out word about the clues and let our fans and the press take over.”
He continued, “People would buy the albums to see and hear the clues. We thought, ‘Wow, that’s an incredible idea!’ We realized it would be great fun to have all those clues sitting there undiscovered until people started going nuts looking for them all.”
Mary McCartney clears the air on ‘clues’ that fueled the controversy
Coincidentally, the concert album Paul is Live was released almost 27 years to the day after the ‘Paul Is Dead’ conspiracy theorists believe him to have passed 😱
Read more about the chilling story here: https://t.co/q5WXvGsptG #OnThisDay pic.twitter.com/2Tl566AT0y
— The Beatles Story (@beatlesstory) November 8, 2022
Mary claimed that the biggest theory involved the cover of the Abbey Road album, which had Paul being out of line with other bandmates and walking barefooted.
The theory noted that the white Volkswagen Beetle parked on the street, which had a license plate reading “28IF,” was a hint suggesting Paul would have been 28 if he had survived the accident. Also, the four Beatles looked more like they were in a funeral procession, with George as the gravedigger, Paul as the deceased, Ringo as the congregation, and John as the priest.
Debunking the evidence, Mary revealed what her father told her about the event. “Dad’s like, ‘It was a sunny day.’ He had sandals on and he just flipped off his sandals when they walked across, because it was hot. But then, John Lennon’s wearing a white suit. Think they were like, ‘Oh, this means Paul is dead.'”
Paul McCartney admits that he almost went crazy when the rumors did not stop
The 80-year-old revealed in an interview on his webpage PaulMccartney.com that people made contact with him to ascertain if he was dead or alive and that after hearing from him, the news of his death continued to enjoy publicity.
“I know all the rumors… because I was being asked about them!” he said. “There would literally be someone ringing up to ask, ‘Are you dead?’ I said, ‘Well, no. I’m answering this phone call!’ And the reply would be, ‘Well, I can’t be sure it’s you,'” Paul detailed. “So, then you actually do get a bit paranoid about yourself. And you think, ‘How am I going to prove to them or to anyone that this is me?!’”