1994 – A judge sentences Beastie Boy Adam Horowitz to 200 hours’ community service after he beats up a TV cameraman during River Phoenix’s funeral.
1977 – Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines of Lynyrd Skynyrd are killed when their rented plane crashes in a swamp near Gillsburg, Miss. 20 October 1977, 6:55 pm. While flying from Greenville, South Carolina to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s chartered Convair 240 aircraft crashed in a Mississippi swamp. The plane […]
1977 – The funeral for Elvis Presley is held at Graceland before 150 invited mourners. Tens of thousands more gather outside the gates. Presley is buried next to his mother in Memphis’ Forest Hill Cemetery.
1970 – Funeral of Jimi Hendrix held in Seattle, Washington this day in rock history!
Satirical or other references
Batman #222 (June 1970). Cover by Neal Adams.
Batman #222 (June 1970). Cover by Neal Adams.
* The June 1970 issue of the DC Comics title Batman, written by Frank Robbins, parodied the rumour with a story entitled “Dead…Till Proven Alive”, in which it is rumored that “Saul” from the band the Oliver Twists was deceased and replaced with a double. A twist ending revealed that an accident had killed every member of the Oliver Twists but Saul. The album that Robin is holding on the cover of the comic book mimics the back cover image on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
* WMCA radio released a pinback promotional button for their station that read “Paul Lives WMCA Swings”.
* The Rutles, a parody of The Beatles, included a couple of “Paul is dead” parodies.
* The 1972 National Lampoon Album, Radio Diner, featured a short track that, when played backwards, has a voice that sounds like Paul saying, “I’m Dead!”
* A 1983 Saturday Night Live sketch with Eddie Murphy claiming he was the original fifth Beatle spoofed the backward message..
* The Simpsons television show has included many references to it. When McCartney guest-starred on The Simpsons in “Lisa the Vegetarian”, he claimed there was a vegetarian hidden message in “Maybe I’m Amazed”. Over the closing credits the song played with a backmasked lentil soup recipe. At the end, he says “Oh, and by the way, I’m alive.” Also, on one of The Simpsons’ annual Treehouse of Horror Halloween episodes, McCartney’s name appears on a grave seen in the opening.
* John Safran’s Music Jamboree contains a segment about the conspiracy, followed by a mock George Harrison-is-dead conspiracy, following Harrison’s death in 2001.
* The Onion’s Our Dumb Century collection includes a fake headline from January 21, 1981, that reads, “Secret Album-Cover Clues Reveal John Lennon Is Dead.”
* In the film Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hanks’s character, Sam Baldwin, comes home to find his son, Jonah, listening to an album and declaring “Dad, this is incredible. If you play it backward it says ‘Paul is dead.'”
* In episode 819 of the series Mystery Science Theater 3000, a record player runs backward in a scene of the movie Invasion of the Neptune Men. Crow quips “Paul is a dead man! Miss him! Miss him!”.
* In October 1974, the National Lampoon Radio Hour aired a skit titled “Rip Van Ripple” which told the story of a reporter picking-up a hippie hitchhiker who had gotten wasted in 1966 and passed out for 8 years.
Hitchhiker: Hey, is Paul McCartney still dead?
Reporter: No, he’s alive again.
* The Star Trek Customizable Card Game Alternative Universe expansion set’s “Paul Rice” card reads “daed si luaP” (“Paul is Dead” backwards) next to the copyright information.
* A deleted scene in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story has Jack Black as Paul and he says “Of course I remember, I’m not dead, or am I?”
* In a 1987 edition of American Top 40, host Casey Kasem revisited the “Paul Is Dead” era as a related story to the Bananarama song “I Heard a Rumour”. The following year, Dick Clark featured a similar story on Rock, Roll and Remember.
* An extended version of the theme to the animated sitcom King Of The Hill features a few seconds of silence at the end, followed by Dale Gribble saying “Hank is a dead man. Miss him, miss him.”
* The Batman Adventures Annual 2 from 1995, written by Paul Dini, features Ra’s al Ghul saying an incantation in order to summon the demon Hahhk. Each phrase is a pop culture reference written backwards, among them “Luap Deirub I!” or “I Buried Paul!”
* Many bands have referenced the rumour in their music:
o SR-71 released a song called “Paul McCartney” on their debut album Now You See Inside which references that Paul is dead.
o The Union Underground wrote a song called “Turn Me On, Mr. Dead Man”, a reference to the “Revolution 9” clue “Turn me on, dead man”.
o “You Turn Me On”, a song by Beat Happening, contains the lyrics “Turn me on, dead man,” repeated multiple times throughout the chorus.
o Game Theory released a song called “Turn Me On, Dead Man” on their album Lolita Nation.
o “December Is for Cynics” by the band The Matches contains the lyrics “But Snopes.com said if you play/’Strawberry Fields’ the wrong way/You can hear Lennon’s ghost say/’I buried Paul.'”
o Icelandic teenage-band Retro Stefson wrote a song “Paul is dead” referring to the rumours.
1969 – Rolling Stone Brian Jones is buried in the Priory Road Cemetery in Cheltenham, England, following a funeral attended by the Rolling Stones minus Mick Jagger, who is in Australia filming Ned Kelly. Jones’ epitaph is “Please don’t judge me so harshly.”
1956 – Randy Rhoads, a guitar god of a different stripe with Ozzy Osbourne’s band, is born in Santa Monica, Calif. Randall William “Randy” Rhoads (December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982) was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. Despite his short career, he is cited as an […]
1952 – Rush drummer Neal Peart is born this day in rock Awesome history! Neil Peart (pronounced /?p??rt/) OC, (born Neil Ellwood Peart, September 12, 1952, Hamilton, Ontario) is a Canadian musician and author. He is best-known as the drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush. Peart grew up in Port Dalhousie, Ontario, Canada […]
1947 – David Bowie (David Robert Jones) is born in London. He first records with the King Bees, Lower Third and the Mannish Boys in 1963 before going solo. His two No. 1 songs are “Fame” and “Let’s Dance.” David Bowie (IPA: Although he released an album and numerous singles earlier, David Bowie first caught […]
1946 – Guitarist Duane Allman is born in Nashville, Tenn. Howard Duane Allman (November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971) was an American, lead guitarist of the southern rock group The Allman Brothers Band, and session musician. Allman is best remembered for his brief but influential tenure in the band he helped co-found, as well […]
1946 – Freddie Mercury of Queen is born in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; September 5, 1946 – November 24, 1991) was a Zanzibar-born British musician, best known as the lead singer and co-founder of the rock band Queen (inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001). He was noted […]
1944 – Byrds guitarist Clarence White is born this day in rock history! Clarence White (born Clarence LeBlanc) (June 7, 1944 – July 15, 1973) was a guitar player for Nashville West, The Byrds, Muleskinner, and the Kentucky Colonels. His parents were French-Canadians from New Brunswick, Canada. The father, Eric LeBlanc, Sr., played fiddle, guitar, […]