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Sunday, January 1, 2012
Paul is Dead
I saw a rumor today on the internet that Sean Connery was dead. Bummer - James Bond, Indiana Jones' dad and the best King Arthur ever to make a cameo. True? No.
It happens all the time - Jon Bon Jovi fought off the rumors earlier this year, as did Bill Cosby. What the hell? Do people not have anything better to do than to light up the World Wide Web with erroneous fabrication of celebrity deaths? It only serves to make my blood pressure go haywire.
Certainly the most reknowned example of this phenomenon was the "Paul is Dead" hoax of 1969. In fact, I based an entire novel on this rumor. According to lore, Paul McCartney had died in a car accident in 1966, leaving the world's most famous band without its most dynamic member, bass player and songwriter with one fatal mis-handling of his fancy Aston Martin.
Clues were paramount - there were clues in the subsequent album covers and song lyrics - it was plain to see that even John Lennon - his songwriting partner - could not resist dropping hints of McCartney's death. "Here's another clue for you all - the walrus was Paul..." Somehow, that meant Paul was dead. Billy Shears was his replacement - a look-alike - according to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The photos on the album only reinforced the notion - Paul's back was turned to the camera on the back cover photo - dead. Paul was wearing a patch on his fancy coat that said "OPD" - officially pronounced dead. If you listened to the end of "I'm So Tired" backward, the quiet mumbling turned into "Paul is a dead man, miss him, miss him..." Had to be dead. The Abbey Road album cover featured a photograph of the Beatles walking across a crosswalk. Paul was barefooted - dead. George was dressed as a gravedigger, Ringo a mourner and John a reverend. Dead, dead and dead.
Paul eventually came out for an interview with Life magazine proclaiming that "rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." So it goes. Fifty years later, it's still discussed. I tend to believe Paul. Billy Shears could not have possibly come up with "Band on the Run". Or have the audacity to release "Mull of Kintyre", which subsequently became the best-selling single in UK history. Go figure.
Anyhow, I hope Sean Connery is alive and well. Cosby, too - and Bon Jovi. When they go, we will undoubtedly be the first to know, thanks to the ungodly speed of the internet. Until then, live in peace, fellas and happy new year.