The Beatles were skilled at crafting lyrics that left room for interpretation, and their fans often delved deeply into their songs to find hidden meanings. Some of these interpretations gave rise to popular conspiracy theories, some of which still persist today. Here are three of the most bizarre conspiracy theories associated with The Beatles.
John Lennon was believed by some to have been heavily influenced by the number 9 throughout his life.
John Lennon’s connection to the number nine has been noticed by many Beatles fans. Some of his songs, such as “Revolution 9” and “One After 909,” include the number. In a 1980 interview with Playboy, Lennon acknowledged his coincidental ties to the number, stating that he lived at 9 Newcastle Road, was born on the ninth of October, and that the number follows him around. Some fans have gone further, noting that The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was on Feb. 9, and Lennon received a death threat for “9 tonight.” He left the band in 1969 after nine years, and his death date, based on Liverpool time, was Dec. 9. Many believe that the number nine somehow controlled Lennon’s life.
The Manson murders were linked to The Beatles’ song ‘Helter Skelter’.
The Beatles’ song “Helter Skelter” has been associated with the Manson murders. Though the song is relatively mild by today’s standards, the lyrics have a dark interpretation. In the 1960s, Charles Manson was a cult leader whose followers committed nine murders in 1969. During his trial, Manson claimed that he was not responsible, but The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” was. Paul McCartney explained in Many Years From Now that he used the image of a playground slide as a metaphor for the rise and fall of the Roman Empire when writing the lyrics. Nonetheless, the song’s connection to Manson has given it a sinister aura.
There is a conspiracy theory that suggests that the original Paul McCartney died and was replaced by a lookalike or double.
The “Paul is Dead” conspiracy theory is perhaps the most well-known theory in music history. According to this theory, Paul McCartney died in a car accident in 1967, and The Beatles replaced him with a double to keep the news from their fans. The theory gained popularity in 1969 after a radio caller claimed that a backward-played line in “Revolution 9” said, “Turn me on, dead man.”
Many believed that the theory was confirmed by the cover of Abbey Road. The famous image contains various clues that hint at McCartney’s supposed death, including his barefoot appearance, the license plate of a Volkswagen Beetle, and the attire of the band members, which suggested a funeral procession. Despite losing popularity over the years, some diehard conspiracy theorists still believe that McCartney is dead.