Rumors Of McCartney’s Death Were Greatly Exaggerated

By Linda Speckhals
28th January 1980: English songwriter and pop star Paul McCartney on his farm near Rye, Sussex. (Photo by David Harris/Keystone/Getty Images)
On October 12, 1969, one of the biggest hoaxes in music history started on Russ Gibb’s radio show on WKNR. A man called in and told Gibb to play the intro to “number nine, number nine” on the Beatles’ White Album backward. He did so on the air and heard “Turn me on, dead man.” At the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” he heard John saying, “I buried Paul.” The radio broadcast led fans to start to look for the truth about McCartney’s demise in the images on the album covers and in the songs themselves. In the process, they came up with some truly farfetched interpretations to support the belief.