According to conspiracy theories that have been swirling since the 60's, Paul McCartney never wrote "Band On the Run", or formed the band Wings. Paul McCartney never sang "The Girl is Mine" with Michael Jackson, he was never knighted by the Queen of England, he was never a beloved husband and father, and he certainly never married Heather Mills. I guess that means Paul McCartney also isn't playing Wrigley Field... this is because Paul McCartney is allegedly dead.
A Hollywood production company, Highway 61 Entertainment, is backing many of these theories in a documentary called, "Paul McCartney Really Is Dead; The Last Testament of George Harrison". The documentary alleges that the real Paul McCartney was buried in a grave without a headstone at a lonely ceremony in 1966 (cue: "Eleanor Rigby") and that the man we have know as Paul McCartney since 1966 is really a Liverpoolian impostor whose real name is William Campbell (on most accounts -- the name varies and has changed). Supposedly (being the key word), Campbell took on the persona when the rockstar who was "bigger than Jesus" perished on a dark, rainy, night after when a crazed fan he had picked up walking in the rain made him veer off the road and smash his white Austin Healy into a wall.
Who doesn't believe that McCartney isn't one of the greatest musicians alive? Or that he was part of the greatest rock and roll band to have ever lived? And what if Paul McCartney had died in 1966 and the British Intelligence Agency, MI5 really hadn't wanted a sweep of suicides all over the world. What if they really did take the still un-named winner of the "Paul McCartney lookalike contest " in 1966 and made him into the new Paul McCartney?
(Above: a picture of William Campbell, the "supposed" winner of the Paul McCartney lookalike contest held in 1966 and Paul McCartney. Notice the similar scars between Campbell and current day McCartney.)
According to this documentary, which to be perfectly honest is one part very intriguing and one part ridiculous, someone sent an anonymous tape to Highway 61 Entertainment in 2005 marked as "The Last Testament of George Harrison". They believe the tape was made as he sat in the hospital after he was attacked by a crazed fan in 1999. He was maybe fearing for his life and wanted to get his story out (vocal analysis of the voice being George Harrison's have led to inconclusive).
The tape supports the claim that theorists have made for years, that MI5 and the three other Beatles (and McCartney's parents, I guess) covered up McCartney's real death in 1966, thinking the group would inevitably disband sooner than later. As the band only grew in popularity, the Beatles wanted to come clean, but an MI5 officer named "Maxwell" threatened their lives if they were ever to tell the truth. Eventually, the guilt started to tear at the other Beatles, most specifically at John Lennon, so "they" (Harrison and Lennon) began hiding clues in the music and on album covers to deal with the guilt.
It's all in the songs. The woeful cries of guilt, grief and pain! The documentary alleges that in the song "Taxman," George Harrison gave his "advice for those who die," meaning McCartney, and that the entire Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album was flushed with Paul-is-really-dead clues.
It's also indicates, for instance that in songs like "A Day in the Life," in which the lyrics are, "He blew his mind out in a car" and the recorded phrase "Paul is dead, miss him, miss him," becomes evident when the song is played in reverse, something George Harrison had apparently gotten really good at doing (recording music backwards). John Lennon also allegedly mumbled, "I buried Paul" at the end of "Strawberry Fields Forever" (in interviews, Lennon said the phrase was actually "cranberry sauce").
Most importantly, the main give-away is that "I Am the Walrus" is supposedly a song about what McCartney looked like when Maxwell had them identify the deceased Beatle after the accident.
Then there are the album covers that some believe blatantly tell the story of a dead McCartney and a John Lennon who was obsessed with guilt. The original cover of 1966's Yesterday and Today album featured the Beatles posed amid raw meat and dismembered doll parts — supposedly symbolizing McCartney's gruesome accident. You may also know that if you place a mirror in front of the Sgt. Pepper album cover, the words Lonely Hearts on the drum logo could be read as "1 ONE 1 X HE 1 DIE"
And of course, there's the legendary Abbey Road cover, where John, George and Ringo forwent all pretense and pretended to cross the street as a funeral procession. John wore all white, like a clergyman. Ringo, the mourner, donned all black. George donned jeans, like a gravedigger. Paul wore no shoes (he didn't need them, he is dead) and walked out of step with the others.
Other wacky "look, look, see, he's dead" allegations that were made in the Highway 61 documentary include: An idea that Paul McCartney smoked a lot of pot back in the 60's and 70's to ease the pain of all of the plastic surgery he was having done; That fearing his life, John Lennon left his wife and kids to fake a romance with Yoko Ono, but MI5 had him killed inevitably; That if you notice, Paul McCartney switched bass arms once John Lennon died, getting cocky of course; In some interviews, you can hear Harrison refer to McCartney as "Faul" (the word they used when talking about Paul: Fake + Paul = Faul); That McCartney skipped the Beatles induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame out of respect to the rest of the band; And my personal favorite, that Heather Mills was really the crazed fan that was in the car with McCartney the night he died (real name: Rita) -- they might even go as far as to allege that she lost her leg that way and that she blackmailed him into marrying her. I don't really remember about the leg part...
Is Paul McCartney dead? It's unlikely, but you never know, someone might blow the lid off this whole thing one day. If he is dead and Paul McCartney is really William Campbell (or Billy Someone or other), then that means the greatest rock band in the history of music was built around a sham. Around guilt. The truth remains just as shaky as the truths for all the other far-fetched-but-sort-of-intriguing answers in the world like whether or not we landed the moon in a Hollywood sound-stage, what really happened in Roswell and who shot Kennedy. Could the tape really have been made by Harrison? Sure. But it should be dually noted that he was known to be a jokester...
(Paul vs. Faul. Is it the same person?)
One thing is certain, if current day Paul is a faker, the man playing the part has been doing it for at least 42 years, which, no matter how you want to theorize it, makes him the real Paul McCartney either way.
Paul McCartney plays two shows this weekend at Wrigley Field. Tickets are available on StubHub.