“Paul Is Dead” Clues on Abbey Road

AbbeyRoadAbbey Road, the last album the Beatles recorded together, was released in the fall of 1969 (September 26th in the UK and October 1st in the US). Rumors that Paul McCartney had died in 1966 and had been replaced by a lookalike had been in the air for many months before the release of Abbey Road, but this story had mainly just circulated on college campuses. People in the know claimed that the Beatles had left clues about Paul’s death and replacement on their albums. Abbey Road served to fuel these rumors and fears that Paul McCartney had died became the focus of media attention shortly after the album’s release. On October 12, 1969, Russ Gibb, a DJ for Detroit radio station WKNR, took a call from a listener who identified himself as Tom. The caller was concerned about the rumors of Paul McCarLifetney’s death and he thought “Uncle Russ” might be able to explain what was going on. This was news to the DJ, however, and Russ Gibb kept Tom on the line for an extended period as they discussed many of the “Paul is dead” clues on the air. From that point on the story took on a life of its own and within days it was reported in major newspapers and on network TV news. The story remained in the news for a few weeks until Life magazine tracked down Paul McCartney in Scotland and showed a picture of him with his family on the cover of the November 7, 1969, issue under the heading “Paul is still with us.”

Though it’s difficult to identify the specific detail that triggered the “Paul is dead” hysteria, Abbey Road contributed several new “clues” to the story. The cover, which shows a photograph of the Beatles walking in step across the street away from Abbey Road Studios, resembles a funeral procession. Leading the procession is John wGreatHoaxearing white, symbolizing the clergy. Ringo, dressed in black, is a pallbearer or an the undertaker. George, dressed in work clothes, is the gravedigger. Paul, the corpse, is out of step with the other Beatles, leading with his right foot instead of with his left. Also, Paul’s eyes are closed and he is barefoot. Asserting that because people in many areas of the world are buried barefoot, Paul McCartney Dead: The Great Hoax stated that this was “a strong death symbol.” Also, Paul is smoking a cigarette, also known as a “coffin nail“. He is holding the cigarette in his right hand, even though the real Paul McCartney was left handed.

Behind the Beatles on the left side of the street is a Volkswagen Beetle with a li28IFcense plate reading “28IF”, suggesting the Paul would have been 28 if he were still alive. Actually Paul would have been 27 when Abbey Road was released. For those who thought that this was just too tantalizing to let pass, Paul Is Dead: The Great Hoax explained, “To the believer, 28 IF does symbolically state Paul’s age—since people (especially in the Near East where Paul learned mysticism) believe we are all one year old at birth (counting the nine months of pregnancy). True, in this light, Paul would have been 28 IF he had lived!.” (Emphasis in original) The first three letters on the license place, “LMW,” has been interpreted as “Linda McCartney Weeps”. One prPoliceTruckoblem with this interpretation, however, is that Paul had yet to meet Linda Eastman in 1966 when Paul’s fatal accident supposedly occurred. A police van was parked on the opposite side of the street in the Abbey Road cover photo. Joel Glazier, author of “Paul Is Dead… Miss Him, Miss Him” in the fanzine Strawberry Fields Forever #51 (1978), asserted that the police who came to the scene of Paul’s fatal accident in 1966 were paid off to maintain secrecy. To Joel Glazier the police van parked in the background is a reference to this.

The back cover, which shows a young woman walking by a wall marked with an Abbey Road street sign, was also scrutinized for “Paul is dead” clues, and the images on the back cover have given rise to some of the strangest clues. Embedded in the concrete are a set of tiles spelling out “Beatles” and the “S” at the end of “Beatles” has a crack running through it. In The Walrus Was Paul: The Great Beatle Death Clues of 1969, R. Gary Patterson suggests that this is an allusion to literary “supernatural characters who assumed any shapes desired. This shape appeared perfect at first glance, but upon closer examination, a slight deformity was evident.” He cited the character of Geraldine from “Christabel” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and “Lamia” by John Keats—easily the most literary (and far-fetched) of the “Paul is dead” clues.

To the left of the tiles spelling out “Beatles” are eight dots, which when connected form the numeral “3”, so the back cover actually reads “3 Beatles”. In 1970 Joel Glazier 3Beatlesvisited the wall where this photo was taken and he counted 13 dots. His conclusion was that the Beatles had intentionally cropped the picture to reveal the number of remaining Beatles. Also, he noted that to the right of the tiles is a very odd shadow that looks like a skull.

R. Gary Patterson reports that a number of conspiracy theorists thought that the woman pid_Armwalking by was Jane Asher, Paul’s girlfriend at the time of his fatal accident.Conspiracy theorists believe that she must have been aware of Paul’s death and replacement by a look-alike, so she must have been paid to keep quiet about the whole matter. Joel Glazier, however, asserted that the woman’s image was included on the back cover because it contained a visual reference to Paul McCartney. He suggested that if you look at the elbow of the woman in the photo from a distance, you can see Paul McCartney’s profile, with his nose in the upper right hand corner of the picture and the woman’s elbow forming his mouth.

Those looking for references to Paul’s death listened closely to the lyrics of the songs on Abbey Road. As R. Gary Patterson points out, the tone of “Come Together” suggests that “an underlying tragedy was hidden beneath the lyrics,” and the cryptic imagery of the song lends itself to imaginative interpretation. The opening line of the song “Here come old flattop” might refer to the injuries to the head Paul sustained in his fatal crash. “He wear no shoeshine” may refer to the barefoot Paul in the cover photo for the LP. “Got to be good looking ’cause he’s so hard to see” may refer to the absence of the “cute Beatle.” “Got to be a joker/He just do what he please” might refer to the “great hoax,” Paul’s replacement by a lookalike. And the line “One and one and one is three” might mean that there are now three Beatles instead of four.

The medley that dominates side 2 of the LP offered plenty of fodder for conspiracy theorists, as well. The interlocking set of eight songs from “You Never Give Me Your Money” to “The End” may not have been thematically related but the song fragments fit together well. This form was fairly novel in 1969 and the reputation of this piece has grown over the years. Rolling Stone calls it “the matured Beatles at their best: playful, gentle, acerbic, haunting and bonded by the music.” Inevitable, then, that conspiracy theorists would examine this piece closely. Joel Glazier pointed out that the “Sun King” was the French monarch Louis XIV. In Part III of The Vicomte de Bragelonne or Ten Years Later by Alexander Dumas, “The Man in the Iron Mask” is Louis XIV’s twin brother who, through an elaborate plot, comes to replace the “Sun King”. To Glazier this reference supported the story that Paul had been replaced by a lookalike. Also, Andru Reeve, author of Turn Me On, Dead Man: The Beatles and the “Paul Is Dead” Hoax, points out that the songs in the medley contain a number of references to death. “You Never Give Me Your Money” contains the line “All good children go to Heaven,” “Golden Slumbers” is “the Big Sleep—death,” and the medley concludes with “The End.” He also mentions that “Carry That Weight” could be interpreted as a pallbearer’s task (which is how this song was used in the Bee Gees/Peter Frampton musical adaptation of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), as well as the heavy burden on the remaining Beatles after Paul’s death.

“It is all bloody stupid,” complained Paul McCartney when he was interviewed by Life magazine in the fall of 1969. “On Abbey Road we were wearing our ordinary clothes. I was walking barefoot because it was a hot day. The Volkswagen just happened to be parked there.”  Clearly Paul McCartney was bothered by such strange interpretations of the Abbey Road cover and he has made references to it at various points over the years. In 1993 he released the album Paul Is Live, choosing the title not only because it was a live album, but also as a counter to the “Paul is dead” story. In the cover photo McCartney consciously addressed the “Paul is dead” PaulIsLivemythology that had emerged surrounding the Abbey Road album cover. The cover shows an updated image of him crossing Abbey Road with his dog, Arrow, who was a descendent of Martha, immortalized in the song “Martha My Dear” on the White Album. Paul is balancing on his left foot (rather than leading with his right foot) and holding the dog’s leash in his left hand. Paul’s eyes are open and he’s wearing shoes. Gone is the police van but the the white Volkswagen Beetle remains. Close inspection reveals that the license plate has been changed to read “51 IS”, as Paul was 51 when this album was released in 1993.

In 2009 Paul McCartney was a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman. Dave asked him about the “Paul is dead” hysteria, and McCartney pointed to the Abbey Road cover as the trigger for the rumors.

What happened was we did a cover for a record called Abbey Road and we–[applause] see, even the cover gets applause! The idea was to walk across the crossing and I showed up that day with sandals–flip flops–and so, it was so hot that I kicked them off and walked across barefooted. So this started some rumor that because he was barefooted, he’s dead. I couldn’t see the connection myself…. It was American DJs so you guys are to blame. Not you personally. The thing is, you know, I just laughed it off but it was a little bit strange because people did start looking at me like… is it him or a very good double?

It’s interesting to consider why Abbey Road was the album that triggered the “Paul is dead” hysteria. Perhaps the growing awareness that all was not well with the Beatles contributed to this phenomenon, but this does not completely explain why the “Paul is dead” story took on a life of its own at this particular time. In his book Watch the Skies! A Chronicle of the Flying Saucer Myth, Curtis Peebles suggests that the incident that took place in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 did not have much of an impact on mainstream culture until decades later because the mythology about UFOs was not yet in place to support the story. Only after key elements of UFO mythology had been established did the story spread beyond a small group of conspiracy theorists. Similarly, the “Paul is dead” mythology was not fully in place until 1969 when college students organized the “clues” into a narrative. I would point in particular to Fred LaBour, who created key elements of the story that would later be repeated as true, such as the identity of Paul’s double, WIlliam Campbell. Fred LaBour had listened to Russ Gibb’s radio show on October 12, 1969, before writing a review of Abbey Road for his college newspaper. He structured the review, which appeared in the Michigan Daily two days later, as an obituary built around a number of the “Paul is dead” clues that he had either heard or invented to fill in the gaps. Once this narrative was in place, the “clues” took on new meaning and the story spread rapidly after that.

38 thoughts on ““Paul Is Dead” Clues on Abbey Road

    • While i dont believe a word of the PID, that clue has to be the dumbest and worst clue I’ve seen yet. I mean, come on.

  1. So they found a genius songwriter who wrote looked and played like Paul? Good work! What idiot would have believed this!

    • There are a lot more clues than just the abbey road cover. Check out Sargent peppers and revolver. Also listen to the backwards masking. Watch the interview of george Harrison calling him faul and saying when the secret comes out “faul will be free”. There is no doubt the numerous clues were on purpose.

      • What a genius is “Faul”, isn’t he? In just two months (November 66 thru February 67), he learned how to walk, to talk, to sing, to think and to behave just like Paul used to. He was so successful that not even Jane Asher noticed that he was a double. He also learned to play the bass guitar as a left-handed does. He learned to play all the instruments Paul used to play. And the most important, he had to become a singer-songwriter, as Paul was. Because he had to finish at least two songs that Paul left unfinished: The first one was “When I’m Sixty Four”, which first was written by Paul when he was 16, in the Cavern days, but finished and recorded (by Faul) on December 6th, 1966. This is barely 27 days after Paul’s allegedly death. The second song was “Penny Lane”, which was written (by Paul) on October 1966, and arranged, finished and recorded (by Faul) on February 1967. A kinda superman is Faul, uh?

          • He was a trained player, probably in those bands who have emulated Beatles for years before (and until) 1966. And they used other doubles (for example Melody Maker “Paul” on september 1966 is different from pepper’s studio recording “Paul”).
            Penny Layne was written by Lennon, as he has confessed (Anthologies video) : “I am the only one who has ever been to Penny Layne”.

            I would like to add LMW28IF much probably meant “Living Mccartney Was 28 IF”, the stuff about Linda is clear disinformation (but Faul would have knew Linda before of course!).

    • another thory is that paul and john had alot of songs that wrote but never sang in the vaults
      although thats hard to believe because all those songs would have to be written in the early 60s and then live up in the early 70s

  2. I used tp play backwards the reverse bit between “I’m so tired” and “Blackbird”. It quite clearly said “Paul is a dead man, miss him, miss him, miss him…” And in Revolution 9 you can (among with other things) hear him say “let me out, let me out, let me out, leeeeeet meeeee ooooouuuuuuut”. Played normally you hear him say RapeD (not rape)…

  3. The “today” Faul/Paul 20/30 years ago is the spitting image of current USA President’s “supposed” mother: Stanley Ann Durnam. Her mother was a known CIA Operator when it was called The OSS instead of The CIA.
    The OSS was highly involved in abducting children & people & The CIA still is with a Program called The Finders. ( Weirdos in vans & such riding around looking for children to abduct to put into mind controlled satanic rituals such as killing goats & presenting the heads to other children while jars of feces & urine are all around the place, tortured physically, mentally & sexually with every depravity they can come up with for Pfkjects named MKULTRA, MKNAOMI, MONARCH & probably thousands more so they could human traffic & pass around amongst themselves these little mindbended sex slaves for their twisted mental, mostly satanic paedophilia enjoyments & to create assassins or spies for their pathetic gains. Anyway they work with DNA & Could easily have exchanged Paul.From reports I have read it would only take some DNA & One Year’s Time to anyone who dies naturally , by accident or by murder to have a replacement ready to go.They usually make 14 models & have heard of 28. With each new replacement the aging process can speed up because the DNA is getting weaker. God help them if they don’t get to one famous person in time & have to use monkey DNA…..won’t go the….just look up Presidential monkey DNA due to overdose of cocaine, 1987, I think.I think the Tavistock Institute played a part in Faul’s joing the Beatles if Paul really died, which I think he did have a crash, could have survived, but was made to leave this world in that car that fateful morning. Well if that is the case aren’t all of the Real Beatles Dead Now? Only Faul remains………

  4. Just like George said in an interview: THERE WOULD BE NO PROBLEMS with George & Ringo or Faul if THE TRUE HISTORY WOULD BE TOLD. THEN FAUL COULD BE FULLY FRDE. Guess he likes being Paul too much? May have been fun at first, but it will become a heavier load everyday. The heaviest will be Faul’s actual death date with no one to mourn who he really is…..sad…….

  5. also in the end of strawberry feilds john says very quiet i burried paul but it is supposed to say cranberry sause

  6. Why would he walk on asphalt on such a hot day and not keep the “flipflops” on?Sounds like a quick made up excuse. It can be dangerous to walk on hot asphalt. Blisters…3rd deg burns…
    Also, notice the car, way in the background, is next to Paul’s head then on the album cover “Paul is live” it appears to be a bus? Creeped me out ya did Faul…
    My last point is “LMW” so she had not met Paul in 1966….meaning she would never meet the real Paul bc he died tragically. Is that not enough to make anyone weep? She married a fake…also a reason to cry.

  7. Paul is third on the cover, George is last in line. So that piece of bullshitting is just not even a thing you can insinuate. Poorly written article and i can’t believe people have actually dedicated so much of their lives to the extent that they would write whole books on this bollocks thanks for a good laugh though

    • That is because George is the gravedigger.
      This is a funerary procession : John is the clergyman, Ringo the undertaker, Paul the corpse, George the gravedigger, so the order is correct.

  8. When you listen to the song “You Never Give Your Money”, and get to the lyrics “one sweet dream came true today”,” try listening to it backwards. Sounds a lot like the word “bullsh*t”. Kinda freaky.

  9. If you play Mean Mr Mustard backwards it kind of sound like “drat SOOM rat SIMNEEM”. Which kind of sounds like “soon someone else”. The song was sung by Lennon, which could mean that Lennon would be the next to go.


    • LMW=Lennon/McCartney/Who (or Were)
      28IF=2/’81/F=Feb. 1981 (Fly or Flew or F!)
      In Feb 1981, it was 2 months after John’s murder & i was so distraught, I decided to break out my old tired, childhood practice of mourning the dead by writing a -felt letter to the spirit of the deceased ( & then burning it as an offering -now you can believe this or not but there is proof-just a little more than 2 months later, when I just turned 19, I won a random radio contest postcard drawing, out of L.A. to see the Who in London, England, in March, 1981.
      What then unfolded was -uhhh-hopefully one day, to be revealed…but the Who are currently drumming with Zak Starkey, Ringo’s son. Keith Moon was with Paul (Faul?) the night before Keith died in 1978. & Pete Townshend was BUMMED!!!

      NOTHING in a Beatles album or on the cover, is a ‘mistake’…the band was a work of art by their management & the music a work of art by the band…bands such as the Who & the Beatles were masterworks. They laboriously & thoughtfully crafted art (guided by the management), deliberately & strategically, since every tiny nuance: EVERY fiber & thread & placement of an eyebrow, a shoe or no shoes, to the venues where they played gigs, in the ’60’s , 7 days a week-often 8 days a week-2 shows a day! MEANS SOMETHING!! It is masterpiece theatre from the BEYOND & that is what makes great art so timeless.

      Just 1 more ‘wee’ bit here; why is post ’66 Paul (Faul?) so much worse at playing bass, than before ’66? ‘Cuz maybe a right handed Faul had to play left handed?

  10. Okay if you want it to end do a DNA test with your bother but you don’t???? And when arrested in Japan his finger prints did not match from his arrest in Germany??? Why he had to wait till someone could get him out 9 days later so if you’re the true Paul not faul DO A DNA TEST that would end it so what are you hiding ????

  11. This all was a creation to sell more albums and paul and the rest of the Beatles were the creators of this. Paul should have just said that to Letterman and that would have put an end to it.

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