1942 – Paul McCartney is born in Liverpool, England. The Beatles have 20 No. 1 songs, more than any other recording act, and McCartney by himself or in duets has another nine. His biggest post-Beatles hits are “Ebony and Ivory,” a duet with Stevie Wonder that stays at No. 1 for seven weeks, and “Say […]
1991 – The Record Plant in Hollywood closes. Among the albums recorded at the recording studio and rock hangout were the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life.” Note: it has since, reopened. Record Plant Studios (also known as just “The Record Plant”) is a famous recording […]
1987 – Pink Floyd release A Momentary Lapse of Reason. The comeback album is the band’s first since the departure of Roger Waters and the subsequent lawsuit over the use of the band name. A Momentary Lapse of Reason is Pink Floyd’s 1987 album, the band’s first release after the departure of Roger Waters from […]
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 – Fleetwood Mac went to No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Rumours.’ Also on this day Fleetwood Mac kicked off a 7-date UK tour at the Odeon, Birmingham, England. Lyrics: Now here you go again You say you want your freedom Well who am I to keep you down Its only right that […]
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.
1965 – The Beatles’ Saturday-morning cartoon series premieres on ABC. It’s canceled in 1969. The series premiered on ABC on Saturday, September 25, 1965 at 10:30 am. Each show was a half-hour long and consisted of two “adventures” and two sing-a-long songs. Lyrics were flashed on the screen so that viewers could join in. The […]
1955 – Elvis Costello (Declan McManus) is born in London. His biggest hit is the top 20 song “Veronica” in 1989, which he writes with Paul McCartney. Elvis Costello (born Declan Patrick MacManus 25 August 1954) is an English musician and singer-songwriter, with Irish ancestry. Costello came to prominence as an early participant in London’s […]
1954 – Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin is born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Trevor Rabin (born January 13, 1954) is a South African-American musician, best known as a guitarist and songwriter for the British progressive rock band Yes from 1983–1994, and since then, as a film composer. Biography Early years Rabin was born Trevor Charles Rabinowitz […]
1951 – Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy is born in Dublin, Ireland. Philip Parris Lynott (20 August 1949 – 4 January 1986) was a singer, bassist, instrumentalist, and songwriter, who first came to prominence as the frontman of Thin Lizzy. Early life Lynott was born in Hallam Hospital (now Sandwell General Hospital) in West Bromwich […]