Paul McCartney (1)

There are countless conspiracy theories out there covering everything from historical events to supernatural “sightings”, but we think this one about Paul McCartney takes the cake. For the past few decades, a relatively small but vocal group of people have posited that the legendary former Beatles member actually passed away at the height of the band’s popularity in a 1966 car accident and was replaced with a lookalike.

Now, as bizarre at it may sound, there’s some rather convincing clues in this strange urban legend. The theory first arose in September 1969, when a group of US students published an article in a university newspaper revealing “clues” left by the band, who they believed felt bad for deceiving their loyal fans about McCartney’s death. One such clue was a hidden lyric found when playing the song “Revolution 9” backwards, in which the words “turn me on, dead man” can reportedly be heard.

In another one of the band’s hits, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” theorists claim hearing John Lennon utter the words “I buried Paul.” However, Lennon later clarified that he was in fact saying, “cranberry sauce.”

Perhaps the most contentious clue is the iconic cover of Abbey Road, in which McCartney is famously pictured as the only Beatle walking barefoot and out of step with his bandmates. Furthermore, some analysts believe the cover symbolises a funeral procession, with Lennon dressed in white like a heavenly figure, Ringo Starr dressed in black like an undertaker and George Harrison dressed in denim like a gravedigger.

The rumours became so widespread that the Beatles’ publicist, Derek Taylor, was forced to issue a statement just a month after the article was published, confirming he had been inundated with phone calls regarding the theory, which he denied was true.

McCartney himself has long since quashed the rumours, appearing very much alive on the cover of Life magazine in 1969. “Perhaps the rumour started because I haven't been much in the press lately,” he said. “I have done enough press for a lifetime, and I don't have anything to say these days. I am happy to be with my family and I will work when I work. I was switched on for ten years and I never switched off. Now I am switching off whenever I can. I would rather be a little less famous these days.”

Despite his continual denials, some are still convinced that the theory is true. Tell us in the comments below, what’s your take?

Related links:

15 photos of musicians before they were famous

Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s secret feud

8 facts about The Beatles most people don’t know

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