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40 Years Ago Today
August 8, 2009 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Today is 40th anniversary of a famous photograph. It proved Paul is dead. Today there was a party on Abbey Road. And don't forget to listen to the album.
posted by Xurando (33 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
As someone who cycles that road to work I can't tell you how many times I've been nearly knocked off my bike by tourists wandering out into the road with their camera. For that reason alone I'd happily paint over this piece of rock memorabilia.
posted by ciderwoman at 12:24 PM on August 8, 2009


I can't wait for the 40th anniversary of Nevermind, when former moshpitters will presumably gather around swimming pools, bait a bunch of fishhooks with dollar bills and throw their naked grandchildren into the deep end.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:25 PM on August 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, and don't forget the parodies.
posted by Xurando at 12:27 PM on August 8, 2009


> Oh, and don't forget the parodies...

And The Other Side Of Abbey Road (which is a great album, especially "Come Together").
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:32 PM on August 8, 2009


.
posted by Balisong at 12:42 PM on August 8, 2009


Abbey Road Webcam.
posted by fixedgear at 1:00 PM on August 8, 2009


Glad to see a FPP about this, especially the Paul is Dead stuff, which I was weirdly obsessed with as a kid, but c'mon! Everyone knows that the Abbey Road Medley starts with "You Never Give Me Your Money"!
posted by rebel_rebel at 1:12 PM on August 8, 2009


An excellent cover of the music & concept: McLemore Avenue.
posted by squalor at 1:47 PM on August 8, 2009


I always thought the coolest "clue" to Paul being dead was when you held a mirror up to the drum on the Sgt. Pepper's album cover, the word "LONELY" turned into a number one, the word "one", another number one, and then an X, presumably because the fourth one had been killed.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 3:14 PM on August 8, 2009


I always thought that "Paul is dead" thing was just a metaphor for what happened to his creativity after he started using cocaine?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:17 PM on August 8, 2009


THE DEAD YAHOO LINK IS A SIGN

FINALLY WE HAVE DEFINITIVE PROOF
posted by koeselitz at 3:46 PM on August 8, 2009


"a 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request."

"503 error" = 5 + 0 x 3 + 5 + 0 x 3 - 3 = 27, Paul was 27 when he died; they held a secret funeral service for him; however, since a double was immediately found, he was only temporarily unavailable...

ErrorDocument... uh... okay I got nothin'
posted by koeselitz at 3:54 PM on August 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


GEOCITIES IS A DEAD MAN
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:55 PM on August 8, 2009


At the height of uncertainty, WOR television channel nine in NYC did a mock trial show laying out all the evidence so that we the viewers could decide for ourselves if Paul was dead, man, missing, missing or not. Part of the come-on was that they would show it only once.

Wonder if it will ever turn up on Youtube
posted by IndigoJones at 4:11 PM on August 8, 2009


This is another great compendium of Paul Is Dead 'clues', faithfully including clues dating from prior to the alleged incident in November 1966 as well as a particularly delightful section debunking itself.
posted by motty at 4:15 PM on August 8, 2009


I always thought the coolest "clue" to Paul being dead was when you held a mirror up to the drum on the Sgt. Pepper's album cover, the word "LONELY" turned into a number one, the word "one", another number one, and then an X, presumably because the fourth one had been killed.

I remember it as LONELY HEARTS becoming 1ONEIX HE◊DIE. To be read as "1, 1, 9 (roman numerals), he die," implying a death on 1/19 or 11/9—I don't remember which.
posted by stopgap at 4:18 PM on August 8, 2009


That point is discussed in the 'dead' link, which reviews the theories at length. Worth a read.
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:19 PM on August 8, 2009


What always struck me as funny about the "Paul Is Dead" stuff is that the "clues" were things like "an open palmed hand over the head is a symbol of death" or "a walrus is a symbol of death" or "a glass onion is another name for a coffin" or "OPD means Officially Pronounced Dead in the UK". And surely no one had ever heard of these symbols and alternate meanings before, because they were invented to go along with the story, but they just accepted them, like "OK, a walrus is a symbol of death, even though I've never heard anything like that before in my life". I mean, surely if the Beatles really were trying to send coded messages, they wouldn't do it by making up their own symbolism that no one would know what the hell it was supposed to mean, right? Like, if I were trying to send you a coded message that I'm secretly gay or something, I wouldn't do it by deciding that a plate of beans is a symbol of homosexuality, because it's, like, not. At least some of the clues try to make sense, like the ones about Paul wearing black.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:14 PM on August 8, 2009


A tangent about the album itself:

When I was a kid, and we had our occasional "let's all have a nice fancy dinner and eat in the dining room instead of the kitchen table" family dinners, my mother would ask my father to "pick out some nice dinner music." Invariably, he would pick Abbey Road.

This has made me one of what I assume is a very small group of people who now associate the song "Come Together" with steak and potatoes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:55 PM on August 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


At age 11, I spent New Year's Eve 1969 with friends in a basement while our parents played Bridge in the living room above us. We'd managed to bring all the Beatles albums up to that point together for the occasion. The evening consisted of playing all the records backwards by hand on a console stereo with the drive motor disconnected while listening for clues.
posted by 3.2.3 at 6:54 PM on August 8, 2009


And 35 years ago today, guess who resigned?
posted by evilcolonel at 6:54 PM on August 8, 2009


Previously on MeFi: A Day in the Life of Abbey Road and the image's many parodies and imitations
posted by AnimalKing at 9:30 PM on August 8, 2009


I was 12 when the Paul Is Dead thing happened, and I tool it all in, wide-eyed. Bought at least one of the special-edition magazines that various publishers were hawking, and knew all the "clues". I took the records and spun them backwards, by hand, on a portable record player. Hearing the backwards stuff was thrilling and eerie. Sound suddenly became a thing of mystery, a hidden aural world with bizarre messages to be discovered virtually anywhere! Heady stuff it was, for my 12-year-old self.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:31 PM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some Abbey Road photo session outtakes.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:36 PM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like, if I were trying to send you a coded message that I'm secretly gay or something, I wouldn't do it by deciding that a plate of beans is a symbol of homosexuality, because it's, like, not.

There you go again, DecemberBoy, overthinking a symbol of homosexuality.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:39 PM on August 8, 2009


A former colleague had what could be the best Abbey Road story: made the trip with friends while they traveled across the pond to visit London, were taking pictures, they hear a voice offering to take a picture, turn around and it's McCartney, who did take the picture, took pictures with them, could not have been nicer.

(Much as it sounds like a "Yeah, sure" story, I saw the pictures.)
posted by ambient2 at 10:13 PM on August 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wait, don't the zig-zags that now mark the run-up to a zebra crossing mean that this is an alternate universe where Paul lived?
posted by dhartung at 10:18 PM on August 8, 2009


I'm really hoping that Ringo dies next, (at like, 101 on a pile of money while making love to a gorgeous identical triplets in the gender of his choice, during which someone plays soothing dub in the background, of course) and then Paul can go and stand on a mountain and laugh.
posted by Jilder at 12:36 AM on August 9, 2009


...and then Paul can go and stand on a mountain and laugh.

The fool on the hill?

I'm not a Paul-hater, though. I've still got too much respect for much of his early work to hate him, even if he did sorta go to seed, musically, later on.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:43 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait, don't the zig-zags that now mark the run-up to a zebra crossing mean that this is an alternate universe where Paul lived?

As long as we're on the topic, what the heck do those zig-zag thingies mean?
posted by popechunk at 5:07 PM on August 9, 2009


There was a (documentary?) show on t.v. several years ago that showed the "old Paul" and the "new Paul". The bone structure wasn't the same. Does anyone else remember this show?
posted by 6:1 at 7:06 PM on August 9, 2009


And don't forget the tale of Paul Cole, a footnote to history.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:12 AM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


6:1, don't know about a doco, but there's plenty of sites and videos backing that point of view. Google Paul McCartney Dead and such like under videos, then sit and suffer.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:11 PM on August 10, 2009


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