All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

"That was a hoax, right?"

Lorne Michaels Productions / NBC
Chris Farley "interviewing" the "dead" Paul McCartney on "Saturday Night Live" in 1993.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

OKLAHOMA CITY – While driving this morning, listening to The Beatles LOVE compilation, I decided to hop on over to SiriusXM’s new Beatles channel and see what was playing. It turned out to be the last 30 seconds or so of “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

As I sat there listening to it, I cynically said to myself: “I wonder if they’ll fade out before getting to the weird ‘I buried Paul’ bit.” Of course the band said that it was “cranberry sauce” or somesuch. I know what I’ve heard over the years. In fact on the LOVE album, as it transitions – rather trippily - from “Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows” to “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” you hear the word “help” repeated several times. It’s eerie and unsettling. Almost nightmarish.

Sure enough, they played "Strawberry Fields Forever" out until the end and I nodded approvingly as I made my way through morning traffic.

But hot on the heels of “Strawberry Fields” was the 1968 “White Album” cut “Glass Onion,” with its line, “Well here’s another clue for you all, the Walrus was Paul,” referring to John Lennon’s “I Am the Walrus” on the Magical Mystery Tour album.

Clearly the Beatles – specifically the smartass Lennon – was having fun with the obsessiveness of fans. And yet still, there was always something odd and disquieting about the post-1966 figure known as “Paul McCartney,” whether or not he was the actual man or was replaced by an imposter.

As I soon learned, after hearing “A Day in the Life” (from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band) and “I’m So Tired” (from the “White Album”), interspersed with old radio clips playing up the “Paul is Dead” rumors, along with a funny-and-awkward Saturday Night Live sketch featuring the late Chris Farley “interviewing” McCartney about the rumor that he died, well, what was going on here?

Farley, in the sketch, is nervous and awkward. He eventually asks McCartney, "You remember when you were with the Beatles and you were supposed to be dead and there were all these clues and you'd play a song backwards and it'd say, 'Paul is dead' and you were everyone thought that you were dead and something ..."

"That was a hoax, right?" Farley asks. "Yeah, I wasn't really dead," McCartney responds in a chipper way.

Yes. It's all very weird.

Particularly since I had just written a piece ("Shoes as clues") about imposters, the whole David Lynch “shoe fetish” deal in Twin Peaks, and the fact that an allegedly “dead” man was walking shoeless across Abbey Road on the cover of their iconic 1969 album of the same name  … it was all too much, to quote a certain Beatles song.

“Breakfast With the Beatles” host Chris Carter admitted to having a little fun this morning, playing up the whole “Paul is Dead” conspiracy by playing a few songs and related clips and admitting that as a child he was taken in by PID and did a paper on the topic – even ruining a few Beatles albums and a record player in the process by playing the records backwards – and earned a B-plus.

Carter was clearly having fun with it, presumably assuming the rest of us were "in on the joke," as it were.

And as I was thinking on this, I looked over at the car next to me and saw one of those Despicable Me “Minions” on a car window. What was weird about it is just last night, someone was recalling watching the Minions movie and while the yellow-shaped henchmen are in London, they pop out of a manhole – like that scene in Help! during “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” – as John, Paul, George and Ringo are crossing Abbey Road for that famous photo shoot.

And as all this “Paul is Dead” weirdness is happening, a one-eyed “Minion” is staring back at me from the car next to mine. 

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd

Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK