Friday, September 12, 2008
One of the many rumors linked to the Paul Is Dead conspiracy theory suggests that the original Paul McCartney was homosexual.
Paul wasn't the only Beatle to be the subject of this type of rumor. In "A Twist of Lennon," Cynthia Lennon describes John telling her when she was still in a hospital bed after delivering Julian that he was leaving to go on holiday to Spain with Brian Epstein. Many have speculated that the trip was a way for John to solidify his position of leadership of the Beatles. According to Lennon confidant Pete Shotten, author of "John Lennon In My Life,"John passively engaged in a mild sexual encounter with the band's manager on that trip. Rumors about John's affair with Brian were apparently the cause of a fist fight between Lennon and Cavern DJ Bob Wooler at Paul's 21st birthday party. Years later, John talked about his up close view of the gay scene as being a good educational experience.
In the book, "The Lives of John Lennon," Albert Goldman insinuated that John's experiences with homosexuality were much more than experimentation. Both Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono dismissed Goldman's accounts as fiction. This type of rumor doesn't die easily. Philip Norman's new book apparently suggests that John Lennon wanted to have a gay relationship with Paul McCartney. Norman is the one often seen in the Rotten Apple series saying that Paul "rewrites history." Yeah, okay.
The subject of homosexuality came up in the Beatles interview with Playboy Magazine in February of 1965. After eliciting the Beatles' views on God and Church, the interview took a sudden turn. The exchange seems shocking by today's standards.
PLAYBOY: "To bring up another topic that's shocking to some, how do you feel about the homosexual problem?"
GEORGE: "Oh yeah, well, we're all homosexuals, too."
RINGO: "Yeah, we're all queer."
PAUL: "But don't tell anyone."
PLAYBOY: "Seriously, is there more homosexuality in England than elsewhere?"
JOHN: "Are you saying there's more over here than in America?"
PLAYBOY: "We're just asking."
GEORGE: "It's just that they've got crewcuts in America. You can't spot 'em."
PAUL: "There's probably a million more queers in America than in England. England may have it's scandals... like Profumo and all... but at least they're heterosexual."
JOHN: "Still, we do have more than our share of queers, don't you think?"
PAUL: "It just seems that way because there's more printed about them over here."
RINGO: "If they find out somebody is a bit bent, the press will always splash it about."
The rumor about Paul surfaced in the mid 1960s when the "cute Beatle" was hanging out with Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and other members of the artsy community in and around the Indica Gallery.
By 1966, Paul was the only unmarried Beatle. He was supposedly living in the guest room of the Asher family house. His long time girlfriend Jane Asher had her own career and Paul was often seen with her brother Peter.
The high profile relationship between Paul and Jane could have been viewed as one of convenience to minimize the amount of scrutiny into their private affairs.
Speaking of affairs, Paul seemed to have a few that overlapped his time with Jane and with the woman he eventually married, Linda Eastman. Francie Schwartz has written books about her affair with Paul that peaked during the White Album period, and Maggie McGivern claims that her relationship with Paul started when he and Jane were supposedly still together and continued until two days before his marriage to Linda.
This is an early picture of Maggie with Paul and Peter Asher. At the time she was working for Marianne Faithful and John Dunbar, members of the Indica Gallery crowd.
This picture shows Maggie with that taller guy who some claim was not the original Paul McCartney.
McGivern's photographic evidence shows that her relationship with Paul spanned much of his time with Jane right up until he married Linda. Paul and Jane remained a public couple until sometime in 1968. To this day both Jane Asher and Paul McCartney refuse to discuss the nature of their relationship.
According to a web site dedicated to Beatle Girls, Maggie McGivern ran into Paul again in the mid 1970s when she was dating Denny Laine!
Back to Paul Is Dead mythology, one version of the story suggests that this rabid heterosexual did not emerge until the original Paul was replaced. So, the speculation is that the original Paul was gay, or at least bisexual. This theory may seem outlandish at first glance since many people perceived Paul McCartney as the most eligible bachelor of the 1960s. However, it is interesting that John Lennon, in his landmark interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone (published in the book "Lennon Remembers") compared the sexual nature of the touring years of the Beatles to the movie "Fellini's Satryicon."
One thing I can tell you about Satryicon is that it contains quite a bit of sexual innuendo, but very little, if any, is heterosexual. The main character of the movie breaks up with his lover after the lover took a boy that they shared and sold him. Later in the movie the two original lovers are reunited but then one is killed. Could John have been suggesting that homosexual adventures were a staple of Beatles tours?
Some PID theorists believe that it was the replacement Paul who was homosexual, but that could be due to the replacement providing clues about the original Paul. For example, in 1968, when Paul produced the single "I'm the Urban Spaceman" for the Bonzo Doo Dah Dog Band, he used the pseudonym, Apollo C. Vermouth.
Apollo, a god of Greek Mythology loved a young mortal man named Hyacinth.
While the two were engaging in competitive games, the young Hyacinth was accidentally killed by a discus thrown by Apollo. As he lay dying, a beautiful red flower emerged from Hyacinth's blood. This could explain the presence of all of those beautiful red hyacinths on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Another Apollo, the alleged insider and "castle keep" who approached at least two Paul Is Dead discussion groups, claimed that the story of Apollo and Hyacinth was a central key to solving the McCartney mystery. Apollo's hints seemed to completely change the direction of PID theories for the select group of individuals who received them. "Paul is Dead" became "Paul Was Replaced" as Apollo interpreted clues in a new way with some tantalizing insights. What if Paul decided some time in 1966 that he didn't want to be famous anymore? There is precious little evidence to suggest that, other than the fact that he experienced the same adversity as the others on that world tour with threats in Japan, the Philippines and the United States. Some people also point to an interview that Paul did with David Frost when he joked about retirement, but that requires some creative interpretation of what appeared to be a couple quips.
All four Beatles might have been tempted to pack it in after feeling that their lives were in danger a few times during that 1966 tour. But, what if some other event upset Paul so much that he was not able to do the Beatle thing anymore, even with the assurance of no more touring? In my effort to try to produce a scenario consistent with Apollo's hints and the clues that we all know, I returned to the beginning, that is, the Sgt. Pepper album.
In addition to the red hyacinths, we have people on the cover, some dead, some living, and a significant amount who were either homosexual or portrayed characters who were homosexual. There are also references on the cover and in the music to a fatal car crash. But perhaps Paul was not the one who died in the car accident. What if the person who died in the car crash was someone whom Paul loved?
Although Paul eventually disputed the claim, several factors indicate that the man who "blew his mind out in a car" was Guinness heir, Tara Browne. This obit was borrowed from the Nothing Is Real discussion group.
We do know that Paul and Tara were friends, but not much is known about the relationship. Paul was with Tara the day he chipped his tooth in a moped accident. Like Paul, Tara Browne was a public figure and he was not known to be homosexual. He had a wife and children. We know the consequences that the Beatles would have faced in 1966 if a story had broken about Paul McCartney, despondent over the death of his male lover, was leaving the group. Also, what if like the story of Apollo and Hyacinth, Paul was somehow responsible for Tara's death?
According to news reports, Tara's girlfriend, model Suki Potier, was with him but survived the accident. Wikipedia describes it this way:
On 18 December 1966, Browne was driving with his girlfriend, model Suki Potier, in his Lotus Elan through South Kensington at high speed (some reports suggest in excess of 106 mph/170 km/h). It is not known whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He ignored or failed to see a traffic light and proceeded through the junction of Redcliffe Square and Redcliffe Gardens, colliding with a parked lorry and was killed instantly. Potier was not injured.
This account makes the lorry (bus) a culprit in the accident, which adds a new dimension to the line "Yellow lorry slow nowhere to go" in "You Never Give Me Your Money." (Note: The likelihood that Tara was driving drunk may also be evidenced by the line in Paul's song "Venus and Mars" that says, "Red lights, green lights, strawberry wine.")
There is another detailed account on a web site that features and in-depth study of the song "A Day in the Life." The site describes the accident this way:
Tara died in the early hours of the morning of 18 December 1966, while on his way to visit David Vaughan, who was painting a design on the front of Tara's Kings Road shop Dandy Fashions. He smashed his Lotus Elan into the back of a parked van while swerving to avoid a Volkswagen which had pulled out in his path in Redcliffe Gardens in Earls Court.
This one of course adds weight to that Volkswagen that keeps appearing everywhere including the Abbey Road cover (and damn if that isn't yellow too!).
I found this picture of Tara Browne (back seat, center) on a web site where he and a business partner are referred to as peacocks. Paul McCartney has an unreleased song called "Peacocks" and it may be a sexual slang term.
Is it possible that Paul was with Tara when he died? That would explain the curious line in "Don't Pass Me By" that says, "You were in a car crash and you lost your hair." I think it was someone at NIR who pointed out the possible play on words and translated "hair" to "heir." Was Paul spirited away from the crash scene to protect his reputation? (Yes, Paul was replaced all right, not by a Canadian bassist, but a young woman at the scene of a fatal accident!)
This of course is all wild speculation and it is very unfair to Mr. McCartney. This is not intended to be investigative journalism. Think of it as an attempt to interpret the drama that has been presented in the post 1966 work of the Beatles and the videos of Iamaphoney and various others who have followed in their footsteps.