Visual Cranberry Sauce
Twenty-first century technology has given us a number of means to cataloguing, comparing, manipulating, storing graphic and sonic data to a degree unimaginable in 1969, when the PID rumor began. Naturally, those who persist in maintaining this belief have turned to photographs and recordings in order to prove that McCartney died in 1966.
Looking at any photo of Paul McCartney from the 1940s to 2007, one can immediately recognize his most salient facial feature: a slight inner-eyelid fold that makes his eyes seem to slant toward the outside of his face. While inner-eyelid folds are common among eastern Asians, they are relatively rare among Europeans. Proponents of the PID story say that the public therefore concentrates upon the eyes as a McCartney identifier, and neglects other parts of the face that exhibit more severe changes. This trait was one also the one most easily corrected by cosmetic surgery.
Two very popular PID websites, The King Is Naked and James Paul McCartney (1942-1966) have given an extensive look-see into the possibility that while the eyes match, much of the face doesn’t. The most prominent feature is the size and shape of McCartney’s head.
Figure 2. John Lennon and Paul McCartney 1964
In the above photo, Lennon and McCartney are the same distance from the camera lens, and their facial angles are practically identical. In this photograph, Lennon’s face appears rather long and rectangular, while McCartney’s face seems smaller and rounder. Superimposing McCartney and Lennon’s faces, from the above photo, onto their pics on the Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band album, you can see that properly scaled, John's head seems to fit well (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Sgt. Pepper photo with 1964 Lennon image superimposed
Superimposing McCartney’s head into this picture, however, yields a startling result. One finds that inserted at the precise scale of the Lennon image from the same 1964 picture that between 1964 and 1967, Paul’s head seems to have inexplicably grown larger. Most important: the shape of his face has apparently changed from round to long and rectangular.
Figure 4. Sgt Pepper photo with 1964 McCartney image superimposed
In order to drive the point home further, proponents of the PID rumor have compared photos of McCartney to those allegedly belonging to William Campbell, alias Neill Aspinall. In particular, they note the similarity of the elongated, pointy chin of the "imposter."
Figure 5. “William Campbell”
Figure 6. Paul McCartney c. 1967 (left); Neil Aspinall and John Lennon, 1964 (right)
Figure 7. “William Campbell”/Paul McCartney comparison, c. 1968
In addition to the alleged change in facial shape, PID proponents also point to changes in eye color (from brown to green) and laterality (from left-handedness to right-handedness). Also, they note that between 1966 and 1968, McCartney apparently grew a couple of inches.
Figure 8. Lennon and McCartney, 1965 (left); “I Am the Walrus” video from Magical Mystery Tour (right)
Figure 9. McCartney and girlfriend Jane Asher c, 1965 (left): McCartney and Asher c. 1967 (right).
Any Beatlephile can tell you that McCartney’s voice changed during the group’s existence. Comparing his performance on “The Night Before” to that of “Blackbird,” for example, one notes obvious differences in sound that reflect varying vocals techniques. In the former, for example, the voice originates more towards the back of the throat, and thus contains a bit of a rasp. The latter originates more in the area of the nose, which (in technical terms) emphasizes the upper partials of McCartney’s voice, making it seem “softer” (or whiney, depending on your perspective).
Figure 10. “The Night Before” and “Blackbird” excerpts
During the PID rumor’s heyday in 1969, a Miami, FL disc jockey prompted a well-respected linguist, Dr. Henry Truby (University of Miami) to determine if there were two different voices attributed to McCartney. After poring over and analyzing a number of singing and speaking recordings, Dr. Truby realized that there were not two Pauls. There were three.
In order to save time and space, I’ll cut to the chase and say that I have absolutely no dispute with Dr. Truby’s analysis. Three different men sang or spoke for Paul McCartney between 1962 and 1969. While this would constitute court-quality evidence, it in no way proves that the former-Beatle died in 1966 or any other year. It can only be used as supporting evidence for that thesis. After all, there are better explanations for why there were three Pauls—especially when you know who the other two were.
Don't forget. Go to Can of Worms for part III of Angie's interview.