""Paul is Dead" is an urban legend alleging that Paul McCartney of the British rock band The Beatles died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-alike and sound-alike. McCartney is alive and well as of 2007.
Evidence for McCartney's death consists of "clues" found among the Beatles' many recordings, most of which are treated as if they were deliberately placed by The Beatles or others. These include statements allegedly heard when a song is played backwards, symbolism found in obscure lyrics, and ambiguous imagery on album covers. A few of them are well known, such as the fact that McCartney is the only barefoot Beatle and is out of step with the others on the cover of Abbey Road, but others are far more obscure, such as the allegation that bisecting the words printed on the drum on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band cover shows a coded message. Another alleged clue on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is that there is a hand over Paul's head and the flowers at the bottom are shaped like Paul's guitar with vines for strings.
It is often unclear whether proponents spread this story as a joke or as a real conspiracy theory. The rumour has been the topic of much sociological examination because its development, growth, and rebuttal took place very publicly, due to the Beatles' enormous popularity and propensity for hidden messages and double meanings in their songs, as well as in their album titles and artwork.
Some have claimed that the rumour was a hoax perpetrated by The Beatles themselves, either as a joke or to stimulate record sales (the initial call placed to Russ Gibb coincided with the release of Abbey Road). This was denied numerous times by all four band members."
"The rumours surrounding McCartney began in earnest on October 12, 1969, when someone telephoned Russ Gibb (a radio DJ on WKNR-FM in Dearborn, Michigan serving the Detroit market). Identifying himself as "Tom" (allegedly Tom Zarski of Eastern Michigan University), the caller announced that McCartney was dead. He also asked Gibb to play "Revolution 9" backwards. Gibb thought he heard "Turn me on, dead man." Gibb also produced (with John Small and Dan Carlisle) The Beatle Plot, an hour-long radio show on the rumour. The show aired on WKNR-FM in late 1969 and has been repeated in the years since on Detroit radio.
Fred Labour and John Gray, juniors at the University of Michigan, published a review of Abbey Road called "McCartney Dead; New Evidence Brought to Light", itemizing various "clues" of McCartney's death on Beatles album covers, in the October 14, 1969 issue of the Michigan Daily. Terry Knight, a former Detroit DJ and then singer on Capitol Records, had visited the Beatles in London for the August 1968 "White Album" session during which Ringo Starr walked out. Although Terry's song, "Saint Paul", was written about the impending breakup of The Beatles, it was picked up by radio stations in autumn 1969 as a tribute to "the late" Paul McCartney.
The rumour gained momentum when Roby Yonge, an overnight disc jockey on the Top 40 station WABC in New York, discussed it "incoherently" on October 21, 1969. Yonge was immediately fired for making the broadcast. WABC, a 50,000-watt clear channel station, could be heard clearly in 38 states, and as far as Africa's Atlantic coast. Soon, national and international media picked up on the story and a new "Beatle craze" took off.
The rumour is the subject of several books, including American journalist Andru J. Reeve's 1994 book Turn Me On, Dead Man (ISBN 1-4184-8294-3)and English author Benjamin Fitzpatrick's 1997 book, 'Rumours from John, George, Ringo and Me'."
"The most common tale is that on Wednesday, 9 November 1966 at 5 am, McCartney, while working on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, stormed out of a recording session after an argument with the other Beatles and rode off in his Austin-Healey, which he subsequently crashed.
The story was largely pieced together by fans from the lyrics of several Beatles songs. The most common narrative includes the following pieces of evidence: "He didn't notice that the lights had changed" ("A Day in the Life") because he was busy watching the pretty girl on the pavement (the eponymous meter maid of "Lovely Rita") after narrowly missing her dressed in blue (she's said to be the blur on the back of Abbey Road) jaywalking ("Blue Jay Way"). He then crashed into a lamp-post (a car crash sound is heard in "Revolution 9"). He was pronounced dead on a "Wednesday morning at 5 o'clock as the day begins" ("She's Leaving Home"), and nobody found out this because the news was withheld: "Wednesday morning papers didn't come" ("Lady Madonna"). A funeral procession was held days later (as supposedly implied in the Abbey Road album cover).
According to believers, McCartney was replaced with the winner of a McCartney look-alike contest. The name of this look-alike has been recorded as William Shears Campbell, Billy Shears (the name of the fictitious leader of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), William Sheppard (based on the inspiration for song "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill"), or some combination of the names.
There is no evidence of any sort of car crash in which McCartney was involved, although during the first week of January 1967, McCartney's custom-made Mini Cooper was wrecked by a friend on the M1 Motorway outside London. McCartney was involved in a moped crash on December 26, 1965, which resulted in a chipped tooth and the scar on his lip that can be seen on promotional videos for the "Paperback Writer"/"Rain" single, made shortly after the crash, in May 1966. According to McCartney, his desire to hide the scar on his lip was the impetus to grow a moustache; at about the same time the other three Beatles grew moustaches as well—in time for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
EDIT: You can also see at one point, a decapitated Paul's head on a stick being carried in the video for Blue Jay Way
If you don't want to read that, here's a quick summary:
People say Paul McCartney of the Beatles allegedly died November 9, 1966 and they were trying to cover it up. They say that album covers, songs, song lyrics all help contribute to these rumors. Some include the Abbey Road cover. In which Paul is the only Beatle that is off step, and not wearing shoes. He's holding a cigarrete in his right (he's left handed) hand. The biggest support for this is when you 'backmask' (play in reverse) the song "Revolution 9" on the White Album, it says "Turn me on dead man" when they say "Number nine" in the song.
So, what is your opinion on this? Do you think Paul McCartney is dead or it really is a hoax. Do you think they did it for attention and more fans? Or do you not care either way.