One thing is for certain. If there really is a Beatles mystery, the late Neil Aspinall is in the center of it. The two most compelling strands of Paul Is Dead lore in recent years have been the appearance of the Apollo C. Vermouth character in both The King Is Naked and Nothing Is Real discussion groups and the emergence of Iamaphoney. Both of these yarns claim a strong linkage to the former Beatles "castle keep."
Shortly after Aspinall died, a committee from the Nothing Is Real discussion group claimed that the member known as Apollo was in fact Neil Aspinall. The main bit of evidence given at the time was the fact that Apollo's messages stopped after Neil died, which of course, in and of itself, was not convincing. However there were a couple details that emerged later that were not so easily dismissible. First of all, Apollo needed some special tech support from a moderator in order to post. Someone playing a practical joke would probably not need that kind of assistance. Secondly, he apparently had an assistant to type the messages for him. He also left a final message that sounded like a person who had accepted the inevitability of death. People knew that Neil was sick, but I don't know if a practical joker would have known the right time to cease posting. Another thing was that a significant amount of Apollo's communication was in the form of personal messages to specific group members. I was not included in this specific group of Apollo recipients. You would think a practical joker would want more exposure than that.
Of course, all of this circumstantial evidence goes out the window if members of NIR were involved in the scheme. Although I personally don't believe that the members of NIR were lying, it is still unlikely that Apollo was really Neil Aspinall, but who knows?
The other Neil Aspinall myth relates to the Iamaphoney organization. Although IAAP has never come out and said it, those close to the organization have stated that Neil was the guiding hand of Iamaphoney. Again, the main piece of evidence was the seeming disruption and disorganization that occurred in the Iamaphoney camp after Neil died. Someone claiming to be a former member of the Iamaphoney team told me, "When Neil died they had to reorganize and then everything went out of hand." The circumstantial evidence is that Neil abruptly left Apple on April 10, 2007, exactly one year before the date of the Iamaphoney interview that never happened. Neil died in March of 2008, a little over a month after the first suitcase was dropped, which signaled the beginning of a string of miscues that caused Iamaphoney to lose a significant amount of fans (or so they tell me).
Again, it is highly unlikely that Neil was the brains behind Iamaphoney, but like the Apollo thing, I cannot disprove it at this time.
Is it possible that Neil Aspinall could have been both Apollo and the brains behind Iamaphoney? I doubt it. That is a marriage that both Nothing Is Real and Iamaphoney seem to be against. Unfortunately, I can't disprove that one either at this time.
Interestingly, the new issue of Beatlefan Magazine, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, contains a piece that may raise the eyebrows of both parties and give some support to any of those who would like Neil Aspinall to be their guiding hand. [BTW, if you are at all interested in the Beatles, I can't recommend Beatlefan highly enough. It is the best printed source of Beatles news. This recommendation is unsolicited.]
Anyway, the new issue of Beatlefan includes an interview with Pete and Roag Best. Pete, of course, was the Beatles' drummer who was replaced by Ringo Starr right before they became famous. Roag Best is Pete's half brother. Neil was a friend of Pete's. But when Pete's father was away, his 19 year-old buddy had an affair with Mona Best. Pete's mother, Mona became pregnant with Neil's baby. Three weeks after Neil's son was born, Pete was fired from the Beatles.
Neil continued to be a part of Roag's life even after he married in 1968 and started his own family.
Howie Edelson asked an outstanding question to Roag in the interview regarding the Pete Best DVD release:
Well, what everybody thought was that had Neil not been in the position he was, your DVD would've been blocked, and that he [helped it come to fruition]. That's the common perception, that Neil said to the powers that be at Apple, "You gotta let him do this." Is that far off?
Roag's answer becomes especially appealing when you think about the Apollo and Iamaphoney mysteries:
Roag: Truthfully? I have no idea. The wonderful thing about my dad, and what he did with the lads and what he did for Apple--and they're all aware of this--my dad was a fantastic keeper of secrets. And my dad did a lot of stuff for a lot of people and you wouldn't even know that he'd done it. If he did, he never said. That's how he worked. That why he was admired, because he didn't speak out. He never felt that he needed acclaim; it wasn't something that he craved. He had no real interest in that at all.
Is it possible that discussion group members and Iamaphoney could be included in that "lot of people" that Neil "did stuff" for? Probably not, but it is a legitimate question. It is true that Neil was a great keeper of the Beatles secrets. On the other hand, Mal Evans DID seem to want some acclaim eventually, but he was killed before he had the chance to get it. His unfinished book has never seen the light of day.
I don't think that anyone would deny that both Neil and Mal took secrets to the grave with them.