Beatles legend has it that Paul McCartney secretly died in 1966, at the height of the band’s fame, and that the other three members covered it up by hiring someone who looked and sang like him.
Beatlemaniacs point to numerous clues in the band’s later albums as proof of this. The Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album is, they claim, awash with “Paul is dead” clues such as the lyrics to A Day in the Life, which featured the line “He blew his mind out in a car” and the recorded phrase “Paul is dead, miss him, miss him,” which becomes evident only when the song is played backward. Lennon also mumbled, “I buried Paul” at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever” although he later denied there was any hidden meaning in the lyrics and what he was actually saying was “cranberry sauce”.
Much is also made of The Beatles’ use of imagery after 1966. The original cover of 1966’s Yesterday and Today album featured the Beatles posed amid raw meat and dismembered doll parts – “symbolising McCartney’s gruesome accident” says Time Magazine. The magazine also claims that “if fans placed a mirror in front of the Sgt Pepper album cover, the words Lonely Hearts on the drum logo could be read as “1 ONE 1 X HE DIE 1 ONE 1.”
Most famously, there is the Abbey Road album cover in which John Lennon, dressed in white, leads a “funeral” procession across the street. Ringo follows in black as a mourner with George in jeans representing a grave digger. Paul McCartney walks out of step with the rest of band and barefoot as, some had it, he would have no need of shoes in the afterlife.