Paul McCartney, as we all know, was killed when he crashed his Aston Martin on his way home from Abbey Road studios late one night in 1966. A very sad night.
His place in the Beatles was taken by William Campbell, a lookalike-soundalike about whom nothing much is known except that he is the singer of every ‘McCartney’ track on every Beatles single and album post-Revolver. Who wrote those songs is not really discussed.
Buddy Holly, on the other hand, didn’t die when his plane crashed in 1957. He was just horribly disfigured and didn’t want his public to see him. So he hid out in a secure house in a remote part of America. He’s never been seen in public since.
Elvis Presley, of course, has often been seen in public since his death was announced in 1977 – in supermarkets and by sightseers around his Memphis home. Well, where else would he be? A real home-boy, our El.
I mention all this because of an increasing belief among young people that the music industry is controlled by the Illuminati.
I say young people. Actually, I know some of their parents also believe this and won’t hear a word of argument. It’s all over the internet, you see. There are videos on YouTube, some of them even showing artists and executives explicitly admitting that, yes, it’s true.
Except, of course, no-one is explicitly saying anything of the sort.
And it’s not true.
I prefer the older conspiracies myself. Paul is Dead is a stonker.
That William Campbell. What a bloody nerve! It was him broke up the Beatles you know. Can you believe the sheer brass neck of the man?
At one point, on the Let It Be sessions, he even tells George Harrison not to play on one of the songs. It’s there, on film! George says to William, “Well, if you don’t want me to play, I won’t play”. And Campbell says, “I seem to have a way of upsetting you”.
Bloody right. Coming in here with your airs and graces, thinking you actually are Paul McCartney.
What an ungrateful sod. He gets the opportunity of a lifetime to step into the shoes of a Pop God. All he has to do is play his part and become stinking rich.
Instead, he sows discontent, refuses to acknowledge Allen Klein as manager, tears Apple Corps apart and then announces he’s leaving the group. “I’m leaving the group,” he told the Daily Mirror in 1970.
Not long after, he formed a new group, this fake McCartney, and bugger me, Wings became the biggest band in the world!
Lennon, Harrison and Starr must have looked on in wonder and asked themselves: “How the fuck did that happen?”
In the meantime Campbell/McCartney writes a song (Too Many People on the Ram album) in which he tears John Lennon off a strip, saying, “You took your lucky break and broke it in two. Now what can be done for you?“.
That’s just cold, isn’t it? Not to mention a pot, a kettle, and the colour black.
John struck back. In How Do You Sleep? (on the Imagine album) he tells William Campbell: “The only thing you did was Yesterday“.
See what he did there? He took Campbell back to the actual Paul and let him know that he, Campbell, couldn’t write a song as good as anything by Paul.
Anyway, in the immortal words of Jimi Hendrix, “Enough of this rubbish”.
Professor Diane Purkiss, Professor of English Literature at Oxford University, has this to say on the subject of conspiracy theories: “All conspiracy theories are dangerous.”
Her thesis is that the more you feel that they are not listening to you, the more you feel that they are keeping the truth from you. And that’s where conspiracy theories are born. But they’re more dangerous than we might imagine.
“Conspiracy theories excused most of the genocide that took place last century – the idea” (for instance) “that the Jews are conspiring against everybody else.
“Stalin’s purges were part of a conspiracy theory. You take action against the people who are supposedly conspiring against you. If we’re lucky, we end up with a Mark Chapman. If we’re unlucky we end up with a Hitler or a Stalin.
“Conspiracy theories are one of the greatest menaces to democracy. Where it gets dangerous is when you decide that people are deliberately keeping the truth from you, and to resolve that, you have to kill them.”
So come on kids. Listen up. True dat, what the Prof say. Ya feel me?
The Illuminati of legend has been around since 1776. Having, according to rumour, fomented the French Revolution, the Wall Street Crash and the Second World War, wtf do you think they’d be doing messing around with pop music?
The irony is that the original Bavarian Illuminati – which was real – had the aim of opposing superstition and prejudice. They also wanted an end to religious influence and abuses of state power. They even – in 1776 – spoke up for gender equality, starting with the education of women.
So, again: wtf, kids!?
Go in peace and listen to your music, free of superstition and prejudice. And if you want some real fun, I heartily, absolutely and totally recommend you read the Illuminatus! trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.
I can think of at least three current conspiracy theories that are a direct result of feeble-minded people actually believing that Shea and Wilson’s satire was, in fact, contemporary history.
And while you’re waiting for that corporate behemoth Amazon – surely bent on global domination of a much more sinister kind – to deliver your books, have a listen to Paul Is Dead on the BBC iPlayer. It’s all sorts of fun, and all sorts of interesting.
And, obviously, it’s also part of a conspiracy to convince us there is no conspiracy. If you meditate on that too long, your head will explode.
So here’s a little fact to calm you and ground you. Paul McCartney’s house in St John’s Wood was less than 10 minutes walk from Abbey Road Studios. Who in their right mind would drive to the studio, smoke pot and drop acid all day and then drive home…….oh……….I see what you’re saying, man.