WEIRD STUFF :: Nothing is real
Many great artists - DiVinci, Shakespeare, P. T. Anderson, Kubrick, Lynch - have reached far beyond the simplicity of 'subtext' and presented us with entire worlds of information to be seen/heard/felt.
Through the use of words, sounds, colors, symbols, numbers, and literary and other cultural references, The Beatles were trying to tell us something else, something more than 'all you need is love.' They sent us clues in their music, their album covers, their music videos, and even in their appearance, and none of it clicked until late 1969 - right before the band's 'official' breakup - when several American newspapers & radio stations all began to discover the breadcrumbs all at once.
Very quickly, to educate those who don't know without boring those who already do, here's the secret bizarre history of the tragedy that struck the world's most popular band:
After a long, never-ending Tuesday at Abbey Road Studios in early November 1966, McCartney left the studio in the early hours of the next morning. On his way home, Paul crashed his Aston Martin somewhere en route, leaving him decapitated. Additionally, he may or may not have picked up a female hitchhiker, who may or may not have been somehow responsible for causing the accident.
Paul McCartney was Officially Pronounced Dead at 5am on the morning of Wednesday, November 9th, 1966.
In a morbidly desperate attempt to not put an end to the wildly popular band, the three surviving members (along with their management and production crews) sought out a potential stand-in to pose as Paul without any interruption in their steady careers as artists. They reached out to the winner of a 'Beatles lookalike contest' held several years prior to alter his appearance even further to present Paul's likeness in any & all future publicity photos and public events.
Every clue (and there are many - more than you're imagining) was its own little artistic endeavor: Which were the most clever? The most pointed? The most obtuse? The most morbid? Which were indisputable and which were just fan fiction? Typically, the most anyone is aware of is that Paul is barefoot on Abbey Road, or if you play some songs backwards they contain secret messages. But the expanse of this riddle and the depth of its parts are too sprawling to cover in a single blog post. So, here are 3 of the sexiest sadies that made fools out of us all. You may've already heard about these, or maybe some are new to you; they're certainly a few of the more obscure ones, which, for my blood, makes them the most fun.
The entire album jacket of Sgt. Pepper (as well as the music contained inside) is the most comprehensive roadmap to the entire story, & to list & analyze each individual intersection would be too long and winding to condense right now. But by far, the best and most telling sign is the one staring you square in the face - and it's interactive!
If the front cover depicts the funeral, and Paul's body lies beneath the dirt and flowers, then the headstone is logically the bass drum. So here's the tricky fun part: if you can get your hands on a straight-edged mirror with no frame and place it against "LONELY HEARTS," you will read "IONEIX HE^DIE"
Flexing your knowledge of Roman numerals, you should read: "119 HE (two-headed arrow pointing to Paul and his final resting place) DIE." And to put it most simply, "November 9, Paul Died."
The 'White Album' is probably the second-most veritable cornucopia of clues for you all - particularly in the music. But the massive collage poster included with the record offers a few small windows into the madness - the coolest amongst them is this photo:
Measuring roughly 1" x 1 1/2" in., this is supposedly (a term used at every corner) McCartney lookalike William Campbell (aka Billy Shears), who surrendered his likeness and his personal life to pose as Paul - presumably to this day!
Man, you should've seen them
One of the more well-known tricks is John's half-asleep muttering at the end of "I'm So Tired," which, when played backwards, sounds like "Paul is a dead man, miss him, miss him..." This garbled eulogy swiftly transitions into Paul's "Blackbird" - a song most credit as a commentary on civil rights in the States (again, this message was lost on Manson). But even still one could interpret the Blackbird as a black bird - sometimes attributed as a symbol of death or mourning -- or as a reminder as in Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven.
Poe pops up a couple times during this stretch: he can be seen in the crowd of people gathered 'round the Pepper cover, and he's mentioned by name in "I Am the Walrus."
So, what's the connection?
The band had worked their artistic influences into the latter half of their stuff, and they weren't shy about crediting the authors of their inspiration - in the music itself. So one would have to assume that if they were drawing creative energy from other artists, they were at least familiar with the material, if not completely immersed in it.
Poe may be the most notable as far as the ongoing charade was concerned. Apart from the symbolism of The Raven, Poe's Telltale Heart depicts the storyteller himself feeling guilt and hyperawareness of a death that no one else seems to be aware of.
This may be a stretch, and the scattered references to him may indicate nothing more than he dealt in a macabre subject matter.
Ah, but it was the sleuth side of Poe that most likely played a more cerebral part in the game. He'd written a series of short detective stories - one of which was The Purloined Letter, in which police search for a stolen letter in a single room. Tearing the room apart and looking in all the best hiding places, the detectives walk away empty handed. The punchline is that the letter was in plain sight the whole time, unnoticed by all.
Linear correlation or fanatic long shot? It doesn't matter much to me.