Beatlemania: Paul's Death, Playing The Record Backward, And Fans

1507 words - 6 pages

Everyone was going crazy because of The Beatles. Beatlemania was defined by the multitude of crazed young women obsessed with this new rock 'n roll band. It began in 1963 and continued until they broke up in 1970. In 1969, a listener of WKNR-FM called in and made a comment that shocked the world: Paul McCartney, one of the four Beatles, was dead. The caller, who gave only the name Tom as an identity, claimed that in 1966, McCartney had been in a fatal car accident, but it had been withheld from the public to avoid riots and other mayhem by grief-stricken fans. The caller went on to inform the disk jockey, Russell Gibb, that the band had placed clues in some of their songs and album covers. Some songs had clues in them that you could only hear if you played them backwards. When the clues were aired on the radio, the mayhem that they had tried to avoid, began to break out. The Paul McCartney Death Hoax was The Beatles' method of secretly warning their fans of their possible breakup.
The Beatles consisted of four talented men: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Richard Starkey. They had met at all different times and had one thing in common. They all loved music. McCartney, Lennon and Harrison all played guitar and Starkey, also known as Ringo Starr, played the drums. They started out as The Quarry Men, but eventually they changed the name to The Beatles. They played a lot together over the years and at many different places. They started out as a “teenybopper” band, as Russell Gibb put it. They were like the Jonas Brothers of the fifties. When they made their way to America, they became more popular. Gibb also noted that they grew up with their fans. They did well all through the sixties, but around 1965 tension grew between Lennon and McCartney. Lennon told McCartney that if he left The Beatles, that he would be dead, according to Gibb. Lennon didn't mean really dead though, he just meant that his career would be dead. Soon, the band started playing around with the songs and recording them with messages about their possible break up that could only be heard when they were played backwards. They used the idea that they would be dead if they broke up to formulate the “Paul is dead” hoax.
When this began to happen, no one really knew what was going on. They heard some of the songs with weird parts in it or things about death when the songs were played forward. “I told you about the walrus and me, man/ You know that we're as close as can be, man/ Well, here's another clue for you all/ The walrus was Paul” (Glass Onion, The White Album: track 3). And even though they heard these, they never thought to turn the records backwards. No one ever really thought about it until 1969 when they heard about it on the radio. “Uncle” Russ worked as the disk jockey for WKNR-FM radio. FM radio back then was sometimes called “underground radio”. He was working the Sunday show at around 2 pm. They had the huge turntables and played records. They...

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