Possibly the greatest and most elaborate hoax in pop music history, the "Paul Is Dead" myth has generated more rumors and speculation for the Beatles than for any other group. It all started on a Sunday afternoon, 1969, in Detroit, MI, when a DJ named Russ Gibb aired a call from a student at Eastern Michigan University named Tom. Tom claimed that when the beginning of the song "Revolution 9" is played backwords, a voice says, "Turn me on, dead man." He also told Gibb that at the very end of "Strawberry Fields Forever", a muffled voice says, "I buried Paul." Gibb played both on the air. The phone lines went crazy.
Since then, fans have "found" hundreds more clues that Paul had indeed died. All clues pointed to a 1966 motorcycle accident following an argument in the recording studio in which, according to the folklore, Paul was decapitated. It was then that the remaining Beatles replaced him with a man named William Campbell who had won in a Paul McCartney lookalike contest.
The Beatles issued a statement in October, 1969 through their press office dismissing the rumor as "a load of old rubbish" adding that "the story has been circulating for about two years — we get letters from all sorts of nuts but Paul is still very much with us."
Paul himself addressed the rumor in a November, 1969 LIFE interview.
"Perhaps the rumour started because I haven't been much in the press lately. 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."
John Lennon's "How Do You Sleep" addresses the rumor with the line "them freaks was right when they said you was dead" and Paul himself spoofed the ordeal with his Paul Is Live album.
This list is an attempt to gather all of the "clues" from the album covers and songs that Paul is dead. Of course, this is all in fun, and many of these so-called clues have been proven false -- Anthology has proven that John is in fact saying "cranberry sauce" at the end of "Strawberry Fields Forever", not "I buried Paul." Nonetheless, some of the clues are strangely fascinating!