A variety of news websites recently reported that Ringo Starr confirmed that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-a-like. However, that couldn't be further from the truth.
According to the Mirror, The Beatles drummer allegedly remarked to the Hollywood Inquirer that after McCartney had died, the entire group, which also consisted of George Harrison and John Lennon, panicked.
"When Paul died, we all panicked," he reportedly declared. "We didn't know what to do, and Brian Epstein, our manager, suggested that we hire Billy Shears as a temporary solution."
Starr then continued, "It was supposed to last only a week or two, but time went by and nobody seemed to notice, so we kept playing along. Billy turned out to be a pretty good musician and he was able to perform almost better than Paul. The only problem was that he couldn't get along with John, at all."
There's just one problem, the Hollywood Inquirer isn't actually a website and doesn't even exist. In fact, the entire discussion with the legendary drummer was completely fabricated.
But the reason it actually garnered quite a bit of attention was that this isn't the first time that it's been speculated Paul McCartney died back in 1966. There's even a website specifically designed to address the conspiracy theory.
It actually began all the way back in September 1969, after American college students hypothesised that there were numerous references to his death in The Beatles' songs and albums.
Paul McCartney was rumored to have died in a car crash in London in November 1966. In fact, it was even suggested that a ferocious argument during a Beatles recording session had resulted in Paul McCartney furiously driving away only for him to then crash his car and die as a result.
Knowing just how popular the bassist and the band were, The Beatles' management decided to replace him with the winner of a Paul McCartney look-alike contest.
One of the biggest alleged indications was the cover of Abbey Road,, which allegedly suggested that McCartney had indeed perished. Why? Because he wasn't wearing any shoes, his eyes are closed and he is smoking a cigarette, all of which McCartney later made reference to on his 1991 album cover, Paul Is Live.
However, it's extremely unlikely/borderline impossible that Paul McCartney's death would have been kept a secret. Plus, if he had died, it would also have been preposterously arrogant and offensive for The Beatles and their management to have then teased about it in their records and album covers.
[Image via Cloudfront]