The Beatles are the stuff of myth and legend. Their success itself is hard to fathom, and anything that transcendent, naturally, leans towards the realm of conspiracy. Simply because their lofty fame and legacy is hard to comprehend, it results in a tinfoil approach rather than the far simpler explanation that they were simply one of a kind, riding the right wave of time, place and fate.
Nevertheless, they were an embodiment of the pop culture explosion and one of the most entertaining sides of that is no doubt the madness that comes with it. Modern art needs people to get involved, and theories are just an often joyous off-shoot of that. In the years that have followed the height of The Beatles’ fame, many rumours have come to light.
We’ve all heard of the famous Paul is Dead theory, but aside from that tired tinfoil tripe, there is a slew of other weird and wonderful ideas that have been brought to light. Below we are delving into this wacky realm and trying to sift the fact from the fiction (NB there isn’t a great deal of fact). Enjoy cautiously.
Five crazy rumours about The Beatles:
John Lennon’s connection with the number nine
The most obvious connection between the number nine and John Lennon is obviously the truly horrible song ‘Revolution 9’ on the White Album. But aside from my own opinions on a diatribe of sonic pretence, Lennon had a few weird ties to the number. As he said himself: “I lived in 9 Newcastle Road. I was born on the ninth of October, the ninth month [sic]. It’s just a number that follows me around.”
Since then, many people have made further connections, leading them to believe in the theory that Lennon’s life was somehow prognosticated by some sort of numerical fate (or as a psychologist might call it – confirmations bias) I’ve listed the least tenuous or orchestrated below:
- The Beatles’ first appearance at The Cavern Club was on February 9th.
- The groups contact with EMI was confirmed on May 9th.
- Brian Epstein scouted them for the first time on November 9th.
- Their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was on February 9th.
- In Paris, 1964, Lennon received a death threat that read: “I’m going to shoot you at 9 tonight.”
- Paul McCartney’s surname has nine letters in it (to mention nothing of his first name).
- Lennon claimed he met Yoko Ono on November 9th (although this is disputed by others).
- He left The Beatles in 1969 after spending nine years in the band.
- His son Sean Ono Lennon was born on October 9th.
- Things are getting almost comical now…
- When he was shot, he was rushed to Hospital on 9th Avenue.
- Due to the time difference, Lennon technically passed away on December 9th in Liverpool.
- (And the number of words in this list of 9 coincidences… 160).
Coded messages in ‘Helter Skelter’
This one is less of a theory and more so the delusions of a psychopathic man. It was the wild belief (or perhaps mere theatrical excuse) of Charles Manson that the track ‘Helter Skelter’ contained coded messages that drove him to his cult slayings.
“It is not my conspiracy. It is not my music. I hear what it relates. It says ‘rise.’ It says ‘kill.’ Why blame it on me? I didn’t write the music,” the five-foot five-inch cult leader said when he stood trial. He believed that the song about an amusement park actually detailed a forthcoming race war. As Family member Brooks Poston later said, Manson told his cult on New Year’s Eve in 1968: “Are you hep to what The Beatles are saying? Helter Skleter is coming down. The Beatles are telling it like it is.”
John Lennon was spied on by the FBI
When John Lennon sat on Dick Cavett’s couch in 1972, he made the revelation that left millions awestruck when he claimed that the FBI were spying on him. Silence filled homes across the nation. Most of the masses watching on were struck dumb by the thought that Lennon had finally lost it and they were watching the downfall of a man whose mind had warped.
The dossier that has since been revealed is proof of the working-class hero’s sanity and Jon Wiener is the person to thank for the documentation eventually coming to light after he waged a 25-year legal battle to win the release of the files. “A little historical background here, the ’72 election was going to be the first in which 18-year olds had the right to vote,” Wiener explained to NPR in 2000 regarding Richard Nixon’s orchestrated attack.
Continuing: “Before that, you had to be 21. Everybody knew that young people were the strongest anti-war constituency, so the question was, for Lennon, how could he use his power as a celebrity to get young people into the political process?”. Thus, when Lennon began to use his voice, Nixon tried to scupper his philosophy form seeding by having him deported of drummed up charges.
John Lennon encountered a UFO
This particular theory is one that was started by Lennon himself. The issue is that his whimsical dry humour may well have been lost in translation. “On the 23rd Aug. 1974 at 9 o’clock I saw a U.F.O.”, Lennon wrote in the liner notes for his 1974 album, Walls and Bridges. The date is also important (not merely because the number nine crops up again!) because it was in the midst of his mind-addling ‘Lost Weekend’ period.
Speaking to Interview Magazine later in 1974, Lennon said he was “just dreaming around in my usual poetic frame of mind”. He claimed to have witnessed “a thing with ordinary electric light bulbs flashing on and off round the bottom, one non-blinking red light on top”. He later repeated the claim once more when he interviewed himself and was convinced that he had encountered an alien light force simply having a nosy about somewhere near Newark Airport.
There’s a secret unreleased Beatles album
A year after The Beatles split was made official, a young teenager named Martin Lewis created a hoax ‘Fab Four’ bootleg featuring the nonexistent songs ‘Colliding Cirles’, ‘Left is Right (And Right is Wrong)’. ‘Deck Chair’ and ‘Pink Litmus Paper Shirt’. He sent this high jink off to magazines who quickly figured out what was afoot and the laughing matter was over before it even got off the ground.
However, some fans believe that Lewis actually had discovered some hidden Beatles tracks from a secret album and the press never ran with it for legal reasons after the ‘Fab Four’ caught wind of things. While the theory made gain some credence because the fake song names are admittedly brilliant, there isn’t a scrap of evidence beyond Lewis’ creative wit to support it.
Subsequently, Lewis admitted it was purely a prank. Also, the studio work that the band embarked upon is so well documented that there is no way anything other than a few dogeared, half-finished demos could’ve gone amiss. Nevertheless, there is no harm in fan’s dreaming that should the estates of the band members somehow sadly fall to folly, then ‘Pink Litmus Paper Shirt’ might be a hidden ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’.