Please join me (that’d be Matt, by the way) and Mark Devlin, the UK’s leading speaker on the conspiracies and esoterica of the music-industry, and Desiree Hall, proprietor of another Beatles site, ‘The Number Nine,’ for edition #2 of our new podcast series, ‘Magical Mystery Talk,’ in which we discuss various topical news-items currently doing the rounds related to John, Paul, George and Ringo, from an occult/conspiratorial angle. You can hear it in the link at the bottom of this post. Also, if you haven’t heard ‘part 1,’ then you can do so via the address directly underneath. In that particular episode (recorded in August 2019), myself and my fellow hosts highlight possible ‘Paul is Dead’ clues in the 2019 Beatles-themed ‘romantic comedy’ movie directed by Danny Boyle, ‘Yesterday.’ Also, to coincide with the release of ‘Echo in the Canyon,’ the new documentary about the notorious Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles, and that features contributions from Ringo, we explore the band-members’ connections to this location which was investigated in landmark style by David McGowan in his book, ‘Weird Scenes in the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream.’ And, to mark the fiftieth year since the so-called ‘Manson murders,’ an episode in history which The Beatles are connected to of course, we focus in on some ‘occult clues’ in the works of Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski, and Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr, that one might regard to be suggesting that the band was associated with this more than we’ve officially been told.
In the second edition of Magical Mystery Talk, Mark, Desiree and myself look back at the creations of Robert Freeman, the English photographer who died this year aged 82, and who’d shot many of The Beatles’ earliest album-covers, two of which have caught the attention of occult-clue watchers, those being 1963’s ‘With The Beatles’ (what with its ‘one-eye / black-white duality’), and 1965’s soundtrack to the movie of the same name, ‘Help!’, featuring all four Beatles dressed in skiing gear and standing with their arms positioned in Aleister Crowley-esque fashion, you might think.
Recorded and released in December 2019, ‘edition 2’ of this Magical Mystery Talk podcast comes to you twenty years to the month since an attempt on George Harrison’s life was made when a ‘crazed’ intruder came into his stately home in Friar Park, England, and stabbed the ex-Beatle repeatedly in the lung. As you’ll hear during my chat with Mark and Desiree, this was by no means the first time he’d been the focus of threats of violent intent – and as recently de-classified FBI files will attest to. We also discuss the idea that the attacker, Michael Abram – who is said to have been suffering from delusions that The Beatles were witches when he invaded Harrison’s home – was yet another mind-controlled puppet same as Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman.
Other timely topics discussed during the second edition of this podcast include the 52nd anniversary of the screening on British TV of The Beatles’ film, ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ the 39th of John’s shooting, and the 50th of the ‘Abbey Road’ album which was re-issued this year as a box-set to mark this, and that was named after the road where it was recorded, situated in St. John’s Wood, a West London district with Freemasonic connections – and this is a subject in particular I’ll be sharing more on in one of two articles still to come on this site before 2019 is out.
Many months ago now, I began to entertain the idea of creating and participating in a regular series of podcasts in which I and fellow Beatles enthusiasts/researchers discuss topical news/events/developments to do with the band and that are doing the rounds in the mainstream media, but of course, chatting about them and analysing them from the angle of the occult and the conspiratorial. What you have here, in this post, is a result of that thinking. I’ve hooked-up with two fellow investigators and commentators of such things and together, the three of us hope to deliver regular doses of discussion at various points during each year, the one posted below being the first of many (we hope!) and to be regularly titled, ‘Magical Mystery Talk.’ Joining me in the trio is Mark Devlin, a long-time friend of my ‘Occult Beatles’ site as well as my other blog, ‘Conspiro Media.’ I’ve guested on a number of occasions on his ‘Good Vibrations’ podcast series and, just a few weeks ago, I was honoured to appear on the bill with him at a date on his ‘Occult Aspects of The Beatles/McCartney Conspiracy’ tour of Britain. I don’t think it’s too bold to state that he’s the UK’s leading speaker on occult/conspiracy subjects to do with the world of music, and indeed, he’s also the author of the books, ‘Musical Truth’ volumes 1 and 2. Accompanying us on this magical mystery trip is Desiree Hall (a.k.a. dizzydey). I’ve long been a subscriber to and a fan of her Beatles blog, ‘The Number Nine,’ and she was, to me, an obvious name to contact to ask to take part in this new venture. She’s US-based (California), Mark and I work mainly from the United Kingdom.
In ‘Part 1’ of the podcast series…
We discuss the recently-unleashed big-screen British film, ‘Yesterday,’ directed by English movie-maker, Danny Boyle, perhaps best known for the flicks, ‘The Beach,’ ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ and the ‘Trainspotting’ excursions. This latest release of his, the screen-play of which was written by ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ writer, Richard Curtis, centres around the exploits of a budding but struggling singer/songwriter by the name of Jack Malik who wakes up one day after some form of brief world blackout to unexpectedly find that no one has ever heard of The Beatles or their songs either, they just don’t exist. Quickly noticing that friends of his are complimenting him personally in this new reality for the quality of tunes he sings and plays on his acoustic guitar, assuming that he wrote them, such as the Lennon & McCartney standard, Yesterday, he decides to continue this on a larger scale, passing off all the writing-duo’s songs as his own and, as a result, eventually reaching the edges of international stardom. This role of Jack’s as, effectively, an impostor posing as a genius composer, will – and has – prompted viewers of the movie to make comparisons to the P.i.D. scenario (‘Paul is Dead’), and, perhaps, especially because Malik’s post-blackout world deception starts after he’s the victim of a road-crash.
On the subject of movies, we also explore briefly some intriguing, and what folk have perceived to be (including myself), suggestive scenes and images perhaps pertaining to The Beatles and the so-called ‘Manson murders’ in a couple of old films that were released and/or shot quite a while before August 1969, the date that the killings took place in a well-to-do area of Los Angeles – 50 years ago this month of course.
On viewing these, one might be tempted to think that some of them are occult, symbolic clues (predictions if you so like, or warnings) of the carnage that was to follow, a thought that might be bolstered by the fact that both movies include involvement from Roman Polanski, widower of Sharon Tate, the actress who was murdered during the killing-spree by Charles Manson’s so-called ‘family’ and killings that are said to have been inspired by ‘secret messages’ he and his collective got from The Beatles’ 1968 ‘White Album’ and in particular the track from it, ‘Helter Skelter,’ which, it’s claimed, they perceived to be the announcement of an impending apocalyptic Race-war between Blacks and Whites. The films in question are the 1968 horror, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ starring Mia Farrow and directed by Roman, and the 1969 Beatles-backed ‘The Magic Christian’ featuring Ringo Starr in a co-lead role with Peter Sellers, whose name has been linked to the events and the various characters surrounding the murders, as has actor’s, Yul Brynner, who has a brief cameo in this flick alongside Polanski whose appearance in the film is also short.
Also, in mind of the Tate murders, there’s an LA flavour to taste in another subject up for discussion in the first episode of this podcast, and that’s the recent release of a new movie-documentary looking back at the reported contributions made by US bands back in the 1960s in the Los Angeles region of Laurel Canyon. Ringo has been interviewed for this film, so, Desiree, Mark and myself discuss this to an extent and ponder on the links The Beatles have had in some shape or form (and continue to have) with this location, a location that was brought to the attention of all three of us thanks to the work of the researcher, the late David McGowan and his book, ‘Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream.’
Well! … I’m most pleased to announce that I – Matt Sergiou – have been invited to be a brief guest-speaker at an upcoming Beatles-related live engagement being held by the UK’s leading commentator on the occult/conspiratorial aspects of the music-world, Mark Devlin. It’s part of a tour he’s undertaking across the United Kingdom in which you can hear him talk about esoteric/conspiracy themes linked to the band including – in his words – “the McCartney deception.” I’ll be appearing with him in the city of Bristol, England on July 31st 2019 at the Resbite Cafe which is situated on – would you believe – Broad Street (! – you can’t make this stuff up!). So, if you can make it, come along and see us and – ahem! – give us your regards! This date will be held in conjunction with well-known event organisers/promoters, ‘TruthJuice.’ Full details of this speaking engagement, and all the others on Mark’s tour, are below (as copy & pasted from his official blog-page):
OCCULT ASPECTS OF THE BEATLES & THE McCARTNEY CONSPIRACY: A PRESENTATION BY MARK DEVLIN
I’ll be taking a new presentation on occult aspects of The Beatles, incorporating the McCartney Deception, on the road for four UK dates in the near future. Matt Sergiou, proprietor of the Occult Beatles and Conspiro Media blog sites, will be joining me for the Bristol date. Full details as below.
Were the Beatles really four regular lads from Liverpool who, against all the odds, just happened to become the most popular and influential group of all time? Or is there more to know about how they achieved their fame, and what their ultimate role really was at the hands of the occult practitioners who really control the corporate music industry?
On that note, one of the most enduring ‘conspiracy theories’ maintains that the real Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by an impostor who has been playing the public role ever since. Preposterous as this may at first sound, there is actually multiple forensic evidence to show that, whatever the circumstances, there has been more than one ‘Paul McCartney’ presented to the public these past few decades.
Mark Devlin, whose books Musical Truth Volumes 1 and 2 document the dark side of the music industry, will present the evidence for a switch, and consider the circumstances in which this could have been achieved.
** TUESDAY 21ST MAY – TRUTH JUICE, BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND:
I’d originally intended to publish this in June last year to mark the close of a theatre-play in New York reportedly about the hiring of a double to impersonate Beatles-era Paul McCartney after he’s involved in a car-crash. Titled ‘Nowhere Man,’ it took its cue from the P.i.D. (‘Paul is Dead’) conspiracy-rumours/theories which, in whatever form they’ve come, I’ve never bought. The end of the ten-day run of the stage-production felt to me like a timely point to share a few of my reasons for this, to present a perspective, a point of view that I sense is rarely if ever highlighted or discussed when information is shared or discussed and debated on ‘Paul is Dead.’ And so I began to conduct some preliminary research in preparation for this, to add some meat (as it were) to what I already knew and what I wanted to convey here. However, as I dug and dug deeper, it slowly but surely dawned on me that this wasn’t going to be the short summary-article that I’d originally expected it to be. I was pulling out more and more branches of info, and a lot of which I wasn’t aware of and that – most time-consumingly of all – was very muddy and very contradictory. All those contradictions had to be cross-checked and back-referenced I felt, so that’s what I did to the best of my abilities. In the middle of the checking and digging I’d stop for a bit and go off researching elsewhere for unrelated articles that had to be written and published on this site, because, I felt they needed to be posted as soon as possible so as not to lose their topical flavour, and then I’d return and pick up tools again. But now at last, seventeen(!) months on, here it is.
Being based in the UK and having never been to New York let alone America, I personally never saw ‘Nowhere Man’ when it ran in 2017 from June 8th – 18th (Paul’s birthday). As a result, I thought it best to leave it to others with a better understanding of it to describe its plot for you. So, here’s what ‘Theatre for the City,’ the organisation that helped stage it, had at the time in terms of general plotline on its website:
After The Beatles stopped performing at the height of their success, some fans became convinced the singer had died in a car accident.
Rumours circulated that McCartney had crashed and the band concealed the fact, even hiring a double to keep going.
In fact, the band stopped performing and did studio work after the sounds of shouting fans began to drown out their music at concerts.
In Nowhere Man, the Beatles’ handlers, such as George Martin, the band’s arranger, and Neil Aspinall, their road-manager and assistant, orchestrate the hiring.
Intriguing that the word “handlers” is used to describe the roles of The Beatles’ music-producer George Martin and the group’s long-standing aide Neil Aspinall.
More of the plot is detailed by an individual by the name of James Wilson in a review published on the website ‘TalkinBroadway.com.’ He states:
The play begins… with a heated conversation between famed Beatles producer George Martin and the group’s high-strung road-manager Neil Aspinall. The future of the band is at stake: Paul McCartney has been in a car accident and is in critical condition. The accident, it seems, was caused by a young woman, who had been offered a lift by Paul and who subsequently went into a frenzy when she recognised the driver. Paul will need time and space to recover, of course, and in order to keep the Press and obsessed fans away, Martin and Aspinall hatch a plan to hire someone to appear as Paul coming and going from the recording-studio and for other public sightings. They decide upon Billy Campbell, a prize-winning Paul McCartney lookalike, to impersonate the singer, but he must be sworn to absolute secrecy.
Billy, a struggling musician and full-time bartender, is enticed by the money, but his acceptance means he will have to go into seclusion (in one of Paul McCartney’s palatial London residencies) and give up his own identity for at least three months. He accepts the ticket to ride, so to speak, but most difficult for the young man is cutting off regular contact with his increasingly suspicious fiancé. The plot becomes more complicated with the appearance of Michelle who has her own secret connection to the real Paul, and her boyfriend Tommy. The elaborate charade forces Billy to confront his own moral dilemma about the price of fame and the cost of not being true to oneself.
As you’ll most probably be aware, a couple or so of the ingredients in the plotlines outlined above, such as the presence of the McCartney look-a-like contest winner Billy Campbell, are pulled from the theories that first began to permeate into mainstream consciousness back in 1969 – although, in those versions of events of course, Paul is killed after he argues one night in November 1966 with his fellow Beatles at a recording-session at London’s ‘Abbey Road’ studios, storms out of the building as a result and gets into his car and crashes. In the years following the band’s split in 1970, countless other hypotheses have materialised, and especially after the internet became a widely-used part of our lives from the late ‘90s/early 2000s onwards, paving the way for the extensive variety of websites, pod-casts and blogs on the P.i.D. conspiracy that we have today. I’m not going to recount all of those in this article. Instead, I’ll note the words of Mark Devlin the UK’s leading speaker on the occult/conspiratorial elements within the music-industry. In a ‘FaceBook’ posting last year and that I was contributing to, he nicely summarised the position that he thought we’d reached with regards to the sprawling, complex web of theories, counter-theories, opinions and observations in the ‘Paul is Dead’ mystery. He said the term ‘P.i.D.’ should perhaps be changed to ‘P.A.P.’ (‘Paul Ain’t Paul’) because whilst there are a huge amount of folk who do believe McCartney died and was replaced, there are others (including myself) who are of the view, or at least suspect, that this isn’t the case, but, that he has nonetheless undergone a transformation of some esoteric nature. I veer towards the possibility that his so-called ‘death’ may, in part, be allegorical and not literal – perhaps suggesting some form of possession by a dark entity, or, with the aid of LSD, the loss of his ego (dying through Acid). I won’t expand on that idea here in this article, but some other time perhaps. So, leaving that aside for now, another school-of-thought within the P.A.P. camp is those who hold or at least sympathise with the view that Paul is indeed still alive but has employed a double (or doubles) to fill in for him at times including, perhaps, in a not too dissimilar way from the scenario that was set out in Nowhere Man. Actually, on the entertainment-casting site, ‘Backstage’ there was a page advertising for actors to come audition for the play stating that it “is designed to be a believable variation on a famous Beatles myth.” Interesting choice of words there, “myth” and “believable variation.” I’m thinking the makers of it might be PAPers. I mean, note that one of the above reviews of the stage-production mentions that McCartney has been injured in a car crash – not killed – and that the replacement has been hired to be a temporary not permanent stand-in.
In particular, to all P.i.D.ers reading this, I’m proposing that Paul McCartney is still of this mortal coil but has, perhaps, employed over the years, a temporary double or two or more in order to divert the attention of the general-public away from an unwelcome truth (such as a car accident for example) or to enable him to live a peaceful, private existence free from the attention of fans and the media. We know from the mainstream version of history (even) that well-known figures are indeed said to have used replacements for one reason or another during their lifetime, including Saddam Hussein and senior British World War II army commander Field Marshal Bernard ‘Monty’ Montgomery… And, there’s also information to show that McCartney – as well as the rest of his fellow-Beatles – used decoys years before Paul’s ‘death’ in late 1966 in order to escape the hordes of stampeding fans who were out to grab them at public appearances during the ‘mania’ phase of their early career. And how well known is that? Perhaps not enough? I do feel that, after years of having read countless blogs, articles and forum/social-media postings about P.i.D., that – and, of course, I might be wrong – a lot of people who lean towards this theory are largely or completely unaware that the band had actually been tricking the general public with stand-ins prior to the ‘death’ in 1966. Please. I apologise for any offence in that presumption. I don’t mean to offend, or to patronise, but, a lot of the info that you’ll see if you continue to read this article, I’ve never seen mentioned or presented in amongst the theorising, pontificating or commenting within the world of ’Paul is Dead.’ As a result, to me, that suggests there are a significant number sympathising with P.i.D. who haven’t done their homework on the history of The Beatles. Surely then, when all the facts and data aren’t taken into account when a theory is being formulated or discussed or presented, what does that do to its credibility? I’m not stating unequivocally that what I’ve got to offer in this two (or three)-parter is going to debunk ‘Paul is Dead.’ Oh no… far, far, far from it. No, what you’ll see, I think, is a lengthy presentation of information rarely-if-ever acknowledged within the arena of P.i.D. but that, I feel, should be perhaps even if none of it turns any amount of folk away from believing or strongly suspecting that Paul did indeed shift off this mortal coil many years ago, and, indeed, I must add here, if that’s what you think happened to him, and the info I’m presenting doesn’t inevitably result in you changing your view on that, well, that’s cool with me because what I’ve collected together for this article in all its instalments, however long and large that’ll be, will, if not encourage anyone reading it to alter/reverse what may have been a supportive or responsive attitude towards the ‘Paul is Dead’ hypotheses, or to re-asses/reconsider that position, then at least, it’ll, I hope, be an informative, enjoyable if not useful read for everyone concerned including those supportive or warm to P.i.D., who might actually, for whatever reason, find some of the info I’ve laid out to be valuable in their own line of enquiry or research, as contrary as it is to my own personal take. What this two (three?)-parter does for sure is present a compilation of rumours, reports, allegations and first-hand accounts from pre-1966, and after too, on look-a-likes, “doubles,” disguises and, as I mentioned earlier, decoys, who are said to have been used during that ‘mania’ live-touring phase of The Beatles’ career between 1963 to ‘66 in order to divert the fans’ attentions, to make them look the other way as the band made haste into or from a concert-venue or a TV or recording-studio or film-set where hundreds if not thousands of their admirers would be waiting, ready to chase after them given half the chance. Not all the methods of distraction used by the group required the need for fake versions of them as the bait though. Motor-vehicles proved to be an effective ruse according to some who were in close proximity to the band back then. In the summer of 1964 for example, Ivor Davis, then a young reporter for the UK’s ‘Daily Express’ newspaper, travelled with The Beatles to cover their tour of the US and Canada and was also the only British writer to accompany them throughout. In his book, ‘The Beatles and Me On Tour,’ he states that “decoy limos were used with great effect. Several times I was trapped in our follow-up limo, with its tinted windows, as fans swarmed all over us, threatening to overturn it because they thought they had cornered The Beatles.” Having not lived through the 1960s myself, all I have to go on are the accounts of others who did, such as Ivor, and if I’m to believe what they’ve claimed, the sheer scale of the mania and the frenzy was gigantic and sometimes terrifying and did require The Beatles to use such tactics. “I understood why they went to such extremes,” declares Davis. Remembering one particular decoy-vehicle incident, when he was being driven away from an arena in the American city of Milwaukee following a performance there by the band, Ivor writes, “scores of fans descended upon us like a swarm of locusts, rained blows on the roof of the car and almost upended us. Terrified, I waved and screamed, ‘we’re not The Beatles’ at the batterers as we rocked and rolled, but it was like shouting in the wind.” In his book ‘The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years’ meanwhile, Barry Miles, a close friend of McCartney’s in the 1960s, informs us about a chain of scenes that veered into the chaotic during the band’s tour of Australia in 1964 and that initially greeted them once they flew in to the city of Melbourne. He writes, “they arrived at Essendon Airport to a frenzied welcome from a crowd of 5,000. The crowd outside the hotel was so large that army and navy units had been called in as reinforcements when shed-barriers were knocked down and the casualties began to mount up. Their route into the city was lined by 20,000 fans, most of whom moved on to the hotel which was under a state of siege. Protected by 12 motorcycle outriders, the group neared their hotel… and were driven into a garage entrance while a dummy police-car with siren blaring pulled up at the hotel’s front-door as a diversion.” He goes on, “in front of the hotel, 300 police and 100 military battled with the crowd, cars were crushed, people broke bones, fell from trees and more than 150 girls fainted. Fifty people, many of them adults, were taken to hospital with injuries sustained in the crush.” Not all the decoy attempts using motor-vehicles were a success it seems. Tony Barrow, The Beatles’ Press-officer between 1962 and ‘68 – and the man credited with coining the phrase, ‘the fab four’ – is quoted as saying of the band’s concert appearance at LA’s Dodger baseball-stadium during their third tour of the US in August ’66, “we were driven to the stadium in an armoured car that was parked immediately behind the stage. At this late point in the tour I suspect that the fans’ grapevine had circulated full detail of the boys’ act, giving everyone prior warning of the songs that would end the set… By the time The Beatles left the stage and we were ready to pull away, many hundreds if not thousands had positioned themselves across our path. For two hours we were imprisoned in a team dressing-room for our own safety while extra cops came in to start clearing the hysterically boisterous crowd. The getaway-car we hoped to use was severely damaged and put out of action. Two girls even ran off with the ignition-key as a souvenir! Two further unsuccessful attempts were made to get us out using decoy limousines and the third try was equally disastrous. We were put into an ambulance that managed to crash into a heap of broken fencing, after which it couldn’t be driven any further. Extra squads of police from the sheriff’s department eventually escorted us away to safety in an armoured car.” As Barrow is quoted as saying there, it wasn’t just limos that were used as tools of distraction to ferry The Beatles away right under the fans’ noses, other forms of motor-vehicles were employed. There’s an account of the band escaping from their hotel in Miami in the back of a butchers truck during their first tour of the US in ‘64 whilst police brought decoy guitar-cases out through the front-lobby. John Lennon’s then-wife, Cynthia, who went along on that American trip, shared a similar memory of sorts in her 2005 book, ‘John.’ In it, she recalls a plot that was hatched during that visit to smuggle her and The Beatles away from the constant mania so that they could all grab some private quality leisure-time. “Our cars were followed by Press and fans every time we left the hotel, so the police came up with an original if bizarre plan: we would leave through the hotel’s kitchen entrance and travel in an enclosed meat-wagon,” claimed Cynthia. “The break-out was worth it. We were taken to a gorgeous villa next to the sea, with its own pool, where George Martin and his wife, Judy, were waiting for us. Free of the fans and the restrictions of the hotel, we partied all day, swimming in the pool and enjoying an enormous barbecue.”
By August 1966 the phenomenon that was Beatlemania and that had followed the band around for almost three years non-stop had soured. The fan adulation had been poisoned with hate and vitriol and, if accounts are to be believed, decoys and distractions were required not necessarily to deflect the attentions of an intensely adoring crowd, but in order to save the group-members from the anger and the potential violence of baying mobs. After all, this was the month that John Lennon’s ‘Beatles bigger than Jesus’ remarks were causing a furore in America and when the band were in the country on a concert-tour. Not a good combination if you value your personal safety. Most of the uproar is said to have come from the traditionally Christian-heavy deep-south of the US. Radio-DJs there were reportedly organising public bonfire burn-ins of Beatles records and the Ku Klux Klan are said to have been picketing their concerts. But perhaps the scariest moment occurred when the group were performing at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee. We’re told death threats had been made already, so when someone let off a firecracker on the stage at that gig, there was a split-second moment when it was thought it was an assassin’s gun. Lennon recalled, “somebody let off a firecracker while we were on stage… There had been threats to shoot us… Someone let off a firecracker and everyone of us – I think it’s on film – look at each other, because each thought it was the other that had been shot. It was that bad.” The tried and tested decoy ploy failed to save them from the protestors who were waiting for them at that concert appearance apparently. In ‘The Beatles Diary Volume 1,’ Barry Miles states that “decoy cars were used to fool the protestors, but The Beatles’ coach was still surrounded by hordes of Christian demonstrators screaming abuse.” Paul McCartney says in the official biography/documentary, ‘The Beatles Anthology’ that the ‘Jesus’ controversy helped convince him and his fellow band-mates that it was time to stop playing to the mania. “It made us wonder about touring,” he recalls. “It was a case of how much of a good thing can you have? How long can you sustain things? Every tour had gone great, marvellous, but we were becoming a bit fed-up anyway because we’d been at it so long – and it gets gruelling.” The Beatles quit concert-touring for good after their performance at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on August 29th 1966, the last date on their controversial and sometimes frightening North American jaunt. However, given the hairy moments that the band are said to have experienced during their fan-dodging days on tour, all in all, Ringo Starr is one member of the group at least who’s looked back on it with much fondness. In the Anthology, he says, “I found the tour madness exciting. I loved it. I loved the decoy cars and all the intricate ways of getting us to the gigs.” And those ‘intricate ways’ didn’t only call on the use of cars, trucks and also vehicles belonging to the emergency-services of course…
According to a 2014 article on ‘History.com,’ when the band were in the Washington Coliseum venue in February ‘64 for their first-ever US concert appearance, their management-team, in a bid to distract fans’ eyes for enough time to allow the group to make it to the stage, donned Beatles ‘mop-top’ wigs (a novel item of head-dress being sold across America back then as a fast cash-in on the mania). I haven’t come across any information to back this website’s claim up but I have found a relevant article on the blog ‘Mixed Metaphors, Oh My!’ which is run by US-based writer and editor Linda Lenzke. In a piece titled ‘Beach Boys, Beatles, Bob Dylan & The Byrds,’ she recalls a similar incident as described by History.com and that she herself claims to have witnessed after she and her friend went to see The Beatles’ performance at the Milwaukee Arena in September ’64. She states, “following the concert, throngs of fans raced to the entrance of the Milwaukee Arena where it was rumoured The Beatles were leaving in a limousine.” Because Linda had been situated near the back of the venue for the concert, she recounts that she “was able to quickly get in front of the mob and able to reach the limo.” However, she was in for a disappointment. “We leaned in to look in the windows and saw four ugly boys in cheap black Beatle wigs and a driver in a tuxedo. They were decoys. We were tricked. We learned later that The Beatles escaped through the back entrance in a milk-truck.” In an interview for the newspaper and website the ‘Express’ last year, none other than Michael Caine’s former long-standing movie-double, a guy by the name of Johnny Morris, explained how he’d served as a fan-diverting decoy at public appearances The Beatles made during the filming of ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ the band’s 1964 debut big-screen debut and that he’d worked on as John Lennon’s stand-in, which, the Express informs us, “usually involves taking up the star’s positions on the set or stage so that the crew can make sure the lighting and camera angles are right before they arrive.” He recalled, “whenever we were shooting on location, especially at theatres, we used to be decoys. There was always such a lot of people standing outside that The Beatles could not go through so they used to go out the back entrance and we went out the front entrance disguised as them.” Pictured below is Johnny with three of The Beatles, but, from what I can make out from the scenery and the clothes that John, George and Ringo are wearing, this was taken during location-shoots for the band’s 1965 movie, ‘Help!’…
And on the subject of Help!, here’s The Beatles, with their stunt-doubles, during location-shoots for the movie in snowy Austria… According to info on the website ‘BeatlesBible.com,’ the hired “doubles were Cliff Diggins, Mick Dillon, Peter Cheevers and Joe Dunne,” although I can only make out three in the picture…
And now I’ll turn your attention briefly to a Scottish music-group who, after playing on the bill together with John, Paul, George and Ringo back in 1964 at a theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland, acted as decoys for them too. “They were just back from their famous American tour… and were working on the film A Hard Day’s Night,” recalled one of the members of that band in an interview in 2010. “At the end of the night, the management asked if we would be decoys to allow The Beatles to slip out the back door. We were told to pull our suit-jackets over our heads and rush to the waiting car. When we got outside, it was bedlam, with about 5,000 screaming lassies. Never again.”
Here’s a photo of that band…
Take note of the guy situated bottom left-hand corner in the above pic… Personally, I think he bears a slight resemblance to Ringo. Yeah, okay… not hugely, sure, but certainly enough I think for him to have been a convincing decoy for The Beatles in a scenario such as he found himself back in ’64, when all that was required of him was to run out of a theatre and into a waiting car, to fool the band’s expectant fans in an exercise of distraction that, dare I suppose, wouldn’t have been designed to have him getting into too much close, sustained facial contact with any of the thousands of “screaming lassies” in case he ended up being identified by them as not being who he was passing himself off to be. Resemble Ringo he might, but he ain’t no Beatle doppelganger for sure.
And, would you believe, the moniker of this band from Scotland who decoyed for The Beatles was… Johnny and The Copycats (!)… Well, I should imagine the group chose to call themselves this as a nod to their front-man John Stewart, and it’s most certainly, certainly not a reference to stuntman and fellow decoy Beatle – a copycat-Beatle, if you like – Johnny Morris, or, as far as I’m aware, John Lennon. Yet, I can’t help but entertain the thought that, on the contrary and as unlikely as it might be, this little collection of what many would describe as ‘a set of coincidences,’ is actually part of some deliberately-designed form of occult message, whatever that might be, I don’t know. I’m just throwing this to you as a suggestion, off the top of my head, as it were. Also, the name of the previously-mentioned Ringo ‘resemble-a-like’ is Billy. The alleged replacement for Paul McCartney following his ‘death’ in 1966 was a ‘Billy’ of course – Billy (William) Campbell – a Scot. The Billy in The Copycats is Billy Cameron – I thought I’d give it a mention out of interest. Actually, the guy standing behind him in the group-photo above looks a little like The Beatles’ drummer too. Below, a better representation perhaps… His name’s Iain Lyon, by the way…
You’ll find as you read on through the rest of this article in its two (or three) parts that there’s going to be a few more ‘coincidences.’ And, in case you’re interested, here’s some more links and commonalities between the two Johns’ bands… Johnny and The Copycats formed in 1962, the year The Beatles released their first record following a long apprenticeship playing the clubs in Liverpool and, of course, Hamburg, Germany where they performed a residency at the ‘Top Ten,’ this was back in the days before Ringo was with them, when the line-up of the group consisted of John, Paul and George plus Lennon’s then-fellow art-college friend Stuart Sutcliffe, and Starr’s predecessor on the drums, Pete Best. In the late Sixties, Johnny and The Copycats played at the venue too and it was whilst they were there that they were offered the chance to record and, as a result, ended up signing to EMI’s ‘Parlophone,’ the label that had been home to The Beatles from that first record of theirs in ‘62 and through to ‘68 when they moved to their own ‘Apple Records.’
Billy, Iain and their fellow band-mates split in September ‘72 after having released a number of singles that didn’t go quite far enough to make any real significant, widespread impression. However, they’ve since reformed and have resumed performing and recording.
And so… delving more now into doubles, and by that I don’t mean stunt-men stand-ins or four dodgy-looking blokes in mop-top wigs sitting in limos, or indeed members of Johnny and The Copycats, but actual people who to some degree or another bore a striking likeness up-close to one or more of The Beatles. Were they ever used during the years John, Paul, George and Ringo were touring together, when they were, in Starr’s words, using “intricate ways” of dodging the fans? I won’t have been the first to ask if such a thing occurred of course, many of you guys reading this will have speculated along similar lines. But as for answers to the speculation? Well. Myself? I don’t know, although, I now turn your attention to an intriguingly-worded question that was put to the band during a Press-conference in America on August 24th 1966, just a few days before playing San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, the final date on their last ever live concert-tour. They were asked, “have you ever used or trained Beatle doubles as decoys on a…” at which point both Ringo and John jumped in quickly but quietly with the reply, “no.” Forgive me if I’m about to state the painfully obvious here, but, then again, on the other hand, maybe I’m reading it wrong but, to me, what the wording of that question is not asking is whether the band had ever escaped from fans with the help of anything that comes close to ‘four dodgy-looking blokes in mop-top wigs.’ Maybe what it’s enquiring, is whether they’d ever recruited actual people who were almost identical look-a-likes (and who, I’d like to add, could provide the potential for better, more elaborate forms of deception upon the fans of course). It really looks that way to me, you see, I think it’s fair to assume that most if not nearly all the media-journalists who were to some degree following The Beatles’ career back then would’ve been familiar by 1966 with the fact that the band had used decoys. That is, they would’ve been aware of – to put it rather loosely – the ‘four dodgy-looking blokes in mop-top wigs’/‘stuntman stand-in’-type methods of deception, the kind of fan-deflecting distraction-tricks as referenced here earlier through the recollections of those who claim to have either witnessed or experienced instances of it, whether that be according to stuntman Johnny Morris, or blogger Linda Lenzke, or former Daily Express reporter Ivor Davis and his decoy limo accounts, or members of Johnny and The Copycats. It would’ve been a fairly open secret in media-journalists’ circles. Indeed, it was actually made public knowledge prior to ‘66 in at least one mainstream newspaper report, a report that included input from one of The Beatles themselves and that you can read later in this article. So, with that in mind, why would John and Ringo be so quick to jump in with their denials at the Press-conference in August ‘66 if they were denying something that, I’ll assume, they knew was already out in the open, and that had been put there with a bit of a contribution from their band? And, any way, why would there have even been the need to ask them about this given that it was this, as I described it earlier, ‘open secret’? What’s the point in that? Well, okay, one explanation could quite possibly be because the person who’d asked the question was new on the scene and unfamiliar with all of this? But… no, I‘m not so sure. Remember how it was worded: “Have you ever used or trained Beatle doubles as decoys.” It’s not enquiring whether The Beatles had used decoys, but whether actual look-a-likes had ever been recruited and/or taught to carry out that task. And getting a bit more specific now… by the word “doubles,” was the person who asked the question referring to what we might describe a ‘doppelganger’ which, according to dictionary description is: someone who looks exactly like someone else but who is not related to that person… Double? This is a bit of a difference from getting the members of Johnny and The Copycats to pull their jackets over their heads as they run from the theatre to a waiting car. This is something that takes us into the realms of what the play ‘Nowhere Man’ was reportedly about, Billy Campbell, a man who relinquishes his home and his loved one to take on someone else’s identity and to give up his own. If, let’s say for argument’s sake, The Beatles did have access to doubles that could pull off a deception of that size for them, they wouldn’t risk jeopardising it by blabbing openly to reporters would they? Well, perhaps that’s why John and Ringo cut off that question at the Press-conference, stopped it dead before it could get into full flow. But, what prompted it to come in the first place? Where did it originate from? I don’t know, but from what I’m being led to understand, the talk amongst the mainstream media of Beatles doubles in 1966 wasn’t only confined to that one instance in August of that year. There’s a post I came across from a contributor by the handle of ‘Valis’ on the web-forum, ‘Nothing is Real: Paul Was Replaced’ and that includes what – we’re informed – is an English translation of a magazine-article printed in Dutch and dating back to “either September or October 1966.” Further on down the site’s page, there’s what I assume to be a scan of that very piece – I’ve added it below. Not speaking that lingo myself, I can’t make head nor tail of it and so I can’t tell one way or another what it’s about. Point is, according to what Valis has translated, there was a “society” in America that deployed actual look-a-like doubles of John, Paul, George and Ringo, to act as their diversions within situations where hordes of over-excited fans were expected to be present. This “society” was new to me up until researching for this two-maybe-three parter. I’d never come across any mention of it before then, and of course it is most interesting, open to any number of possible theories of an occult/conspiratorial nature. Okay, but there do appear to be just a few discrepancies here. First off, the translation refers to a Beatles concert where these decoys were present and that happened “a month ago at the Baltimore Theatre.” I did a bit of digging into this and failed to find any reference to the band ever playing any place called ‘the Baltimore Theatre,’ and no venue with such a name appears to have even existed. Yes, they did perform in Baltimore, the US city that is, on two occasions, but both times were at the ‘Civic Center’ (now renamed ‘Royal Farms Arena’). Well okay, perhaps there’s been a bit of a mis-translation on the part of Valis? Maybe the quote, “the Baltimore Theatre” should actually be read as, ‘a (and not ‘the’) Baltimore theatre,’ in other words, it’s not referring to the actual name of a specific theatre only that the band had played at a music/performance-venue somewhere in Baltimore? Yeah, but, as I mentioned earlier, there’s a few apparent discrepancies, of which this is only one. I have a question regarding the look-a-like decoys actually being present at a Beatles concert in that city “a month ago” as according to what Valis has translated from the Dutch magazine-article published in “either September or October 1966.” By my casual reckoning, all of that doesn’t add up together, because, if I’m not mistaken, the band only ever played live there in September ‘64, not ‘66. That was it. They never performed in Baltimore again after those couple of shows, both of which took place on the same day. Perhaps this piece that’s been translated has been dated wrong – it’s, lost in translation, as it were? It might have been published in October 1964? That would correlate with the part of it where, according to what Valis informs us, it mentions the look-a-likes’ attendance at the Beatles’ concert having occurred a month earlier to its publication? Well yes, when looked at like that it makes sense. Problem is though, there’s another discrepancy and, again, it‘s to do with dates. I won’t bog you down with that yet. First, take a look at the translation… It starts…
The Real and the Fake Beatles
America has its own Beatles. They look like the real ones 100%, are just as tall and behave in the same way as John, Paul, George and Ringo.
The translated piece goes on to list-out the members of this “fake” band; There’s Ron, Keith, Tim and… wait for it… Bill. Together, they are “The Beatle Decoys.”
What is going on here?
In America exists The Beatles Protection Society, also called The Beatle Bobbies, whose job it is to protect The Beatles against the hysteria and idolatry of the fans on their American tours.
Recently the society realised an amazing plan; to form fake Beatles who have to camouflage the arrival and departure of the real Beatles at their concerts. Like a month ago at the Baltimore Theatre: thousands of fans blocked the artist-exit, waiting for The Beatles. Suddenly Ringo Starr (a.k.a Ron Rictor) and Paul McCartney (a.k.a. Bill Davis) came outside and while they were under attack the real Beatles left through another exit.
The Beatle Decoy’s are happy with their (double) life. Ron, the leader, told us: “We even play the same instruments as The Beatles. Paul, I mean Keith is even left-handed just like McCartney. We even wear the same clothes.”
The fake Beatle that looks the most like the original is Keith Allison, who plays Paul. He looks so alike that they even started a fan-club for him, the Keith Allison Fanclub.; he receives- as being Keith -1000 fan-letters a day (!). Keith Allison used to be bass-player for The Crickets and was “discovered” by The Beatle Protection Society when he was a guest, sitting at a table, in the ‘Whiskey A Go Go (TV) Show.’ After the broadcast hundreds of people called in to the show to ask: “Was that Paul McCartney?” The producer, Dick Clark, was also struck by the resemblance and contracted the imitation Paul for 12 episodes of ‘Where the Action Is.’
Intriguing information… Very intriguing – but, how reliable is it, if at all? Assuming that it has been translated right enough, how truthful are its contents? Did this “society” actually exist or was it a made-up story, some bizarre PR stunt to push the hopeful Pop careers of the musicians in ‘The Beatle Bobbies’ (as, I‘ll point out, Valis kinda suspects)? There’s a discrepancy with dates as well, as I mentioned earlier. This translation of what’s said to be a Dutch-language magazine-article from “either September or October 1966” can’t be because The Beatles didn’t perform in Baltimore that year as we’re being led to understand it reports. But neither can it be from September of ‘64, the only time the group appeared there. That’s due to, from what I can gather, the fact that the ‘Where the Action Is’ TV-show and the “Whisky A Go Go (TV Show)” that – Valis informs us – the piece claims the ‘fake Beatle Paul’ (Keith Allison) was said to have been recruited from by The Beatles Protection Society, didn’t begin screening until 1965. The ‘Whisky A Go Go’ reference is, actually, slightly misleading. This was a club where one of the episodes was shot that year, not the name of a television-programme. Well, that’s according to veteran song-writer Bobby Hart in his book ‘Psychedelic Bubblegum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles.’ He went along to the venue on the day of that shoot to see Tommy Boyce, his musical partner, perform his latest record for it. Also there visiting was Keith Allison, unknowingly on his way to becoming a ‘Where the Action Is’ regular. He’d turned up with his pay-cheque in hand, specifically looking for either one of those two guys to sign it for some guitar work he’d done on a recording-session for them. “As Tommy performed for the ‘Where the Action Is’ cameras,” recalls Bobby, “Keith and I stood in the crowd along the wall, watching from the sidelines. Well, it turns out that when the camera panned by to capture the crowd and the dancers, we were included in some of the shots. This ‘cameo’ appearance would have absolutely no impact on my own career. But Keith Allison? Well now, that’s another story. In the next few days,” he goes on, the producers of the show were “flooded with thousands of letters from all over the country. The viewers wanted to know ‘was that really Paul McCartney in the audience?’” Hart claims he then put Allison in touch with the programme’s makers who “told him… his appearance sparked the biggest fan response they ever received. When they learned that he sang and played guitar, they signed him to appear as a regular guest-member…” He was “an overnight sensation.” He “began dominating the pages of the fan-magazines and soon signed with ‘Columbia Records.’” In a 2014 interview, Allison gave a similar recollection. He claims he was desperate to get paid for that session work (“I needed to pay my damn rent, or I was gonna get evicted.”), so he needed to get that pay-cheque signed by either Hart or Boyce as soon as possible, so he went looking for them and was told they were both at “a television taping. A new show… down at the Whisky a Go Go. So I went down to the Whisky… And a stage-manager said, ‘we need butts in seats!’ So I sat down. The camera did several shots of me, about four or five seconds each.” Then later “what had happened was, they got bags of mail after that show aired…” This impromptu appearance on the TV-show, he claims, occurred in “April or May 1965.” And, below, Keith in photo-form accompanied by a similar telling of events in a magazine-article. It dates from October 1965, and it informs us that, a few months before its publication, he’d “happened one day to wander” into the Whisky “in search of a friend who was then appearing at the club.” It doesn’t reveal who the “friend” was that he was looking for, but it could well have been either Boyce or Hart. Almost matching what Allison said in his 2014 interview of being roped-in whilst at the club to appear in the shooting of Where the Action Is because “butts in seats” were needed, the article claims that the production-executive of the show “asked him to sit down” as she was “desperately in need of people to fill the club’s chairs and act as an audience for the show.”
So, taking into account Hart’s and Allison’s personal recollections of that day at the Whisky and what came about because of it, and the fact that Where the Action Is began screening in 1965, what gives with the translation of the article Valis posted on the ‘Nothing is Real’ forum? The information in it doesn’t add up whichever way I’ve tried. Has it been translated wrong perhaps? I don’t know personally but I can’t see how, the discrepancies are perhaps too complex to have been solely caused due to that. The errors are factual, not grammatical. I’ll leave my supposing there because, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t speak or read Dutch. Now, apparently, and as promised earlier, here’s the article itself in its original, non-English worded form…
A search on the internet for more information about this so-called ‘Beatles Protection Society’ brings up nothing except for the post on the Paul Was Replaced forum. Furthermore, with regards to Keith Allison, of the interviews I’ve read of his that are available online, he talks quite extensively about his career in the 1960s, which included session work for The Monkees, live tours with Buddy Holly’s Crickets, a regular almost weekly performance stint on Where the Action Is until it came to an end in 1967, and time as a member of the band Paul Revere and The Raiders, but makes no reference within any of them to this ‘society’ or having acted in any other shape or form as a look-a-like decoy for The Beatles – and you would’ve thought he’d talk about that, right? Well, maybe so – unless it’s not to be mentioned perhaps? Here’s a photo of him – or, is that Paul?, we’re asked – next to a photograph of John, on the front-cover of a US teenagers’ magazine dated March 1966, six months before McCartney ‘died’ in the ‘car-crash.’ Incidentally, I can’t help spare a thought for the caption on the cover that reads ‘THE REAL JOHN LENNON.’ I suppose by “REAL,” the writers of the mag are letting us know that, if we look inside the pages, we’ll get a lowdown on what makes Lennon tick, some of his private, innermost thoughts, his personality and his life away from the glare of publicity – right? But, given that this ‘REAL’ tagline features alongside the headshot of Allison, an alleged ‘fake Beatle,’ you might be tempted to conclude that this was, also, a deliberately placed subliminal suggestion about something we mustn’t really know about. (Doubles? Decoys?… Just a thought).
If I’d have gone ahead and read what’s been written about Keith Allison over the years without knowing what he actually looked like, I’d believe that he was an uncanny, breath-taking ringer for Paul McCartney. But, of course, I do know and, well, I don’t see it myself. Yeah sure, there’s a likeness, certainly enough for him to serve as a decoy of the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ type for The Beatles if required, but not much else. He couldn’t act as a long-term stand-in such as portrayed in the Nowhere Man play let’s say. Reports and headlines of the two men’s striking resemblance of one another are overstated in my opinion. Maybe those stories of phone-calls flooding into the offices of the Where the Action Is television-show is a myth or was a PR stunt at the time dreamt up to boost audience-ratings? Or maybe the camera that was panning that day in ‘65 at The Whisky didn’t stay long enough on Allison for the viewers to realise that, actually, who they were looking at wasn’t Beatle Paul? As Keith himself has said, “the camera… shots of me” were “about four or five seconds each.” That’s all.
I don’t know what the real deal is with regards to this ‘Beatles Protection Society,’ but just because information regarding the existence of something is scant, such as it is with this, and just because whatever info there is, and as rare as it might be, is somewhat shaky, like with what Valis has put forward, doesn’t mean it never existed. It’s worth a closer look, and if it did exist then what was The Beatles’ own personal involvement in it? I’m wondering, would the so-called ‘Beatle Bobbies’ have been – as it were – a team of outside contractors who put up their services for hire to the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, or, actually, created by him and/or his inner circle of trusted fixers and helpers, an in-house production? Either way, John, Paul, George and Ringo would very most likely have been aware of what was happening back then in some shape or form. Keith Allison is as good a place to start as any for clues or answers to the possible existence of this ‘society,’ even if he wasn’t McCartney’s – pardon the pun – dead ringer. From looking around on the internet very briefly at some of the folk who follow and comment on P.i.D., I see there’s at least one who’s suggested that, whilst the Where the Action Is star’s facial resemblance to the ‘authentic Paul’ who ‘died’ isn’t passable enough for doppelganger status, he might have been used at least as a sometime stand-in for Beatles photo-shoots. It’s also been proposed that he might have undergone plastic surgery, a fairly minor touch-up, to attain a convincing likeness for the real, but ‘deceased’ one, but that’s a possibility that I don’t personally subscribe to. However, I think it’s worth noting that on one occasion whilst looking for background info on Allison via ‘Google’ for this article, when I typed-in the name, ‘Keith Allison,’ the search-engine’s ‘predictive’/‘autocompletion’ feature suggested, ‘Keith Allison plastic surgeon’… How intriguing!, I thought. So I clicked it, and this came up… Well (!)…
No, well of course it’s not the actual Keith Allison of Paul Revere and The Raiders fame, it’s a younger – much younger – Keith Allison, a British-based ‘NHS’ (’National Health Service’) plastic-surgeon …
Make of that what you will, and ‘Beatles Protection Society’ or not, there’s certainly some very interesting connections, both personal and professional, to The Beatles and Keith Allison (the musician – not plastic surgeon!). According to the website ‘Internet Movie Database’ (‘IMDb’), the Where the Action Is star “won a ‘Paul look-a-like’ contest” in 1965, a contest sponsored by Dick Clark as well as “the American teen magazine ‘Tiger Beat,’” and “The Beatles.” However, I’ve been unable to locate any info about this other than on IMDb in order to back it up. I will note however that Tiger Beat was a magazine that The Beatles’ long-time and trusted Press-officer, Derek Taylor, regularly contributed articles to sometime around the mid/late 1960s, this would’ve been from about 1964 when he’d stopped working for the band following an argument with Brian Epstein, but not after 1968 which is when he went to work for the group at their then new company, ‘Apple.’ During that period, when he wasn’t in the employ of John, Paul, George and Ringo, he was a PR-man for a number of other music-acts including The Byrds, The Beach Boys, The Doors, Captain Beefheart, and, Paul Revere and The Raiders, who Allison joined in 1968 and who he’d been on personal terms with long before. He and the band had been friends and fellow recurring/permanent cast-members on Where the Action Is (Allison reportedly clocked in 90 episodes of the 459 of the show that were screened, and Paul Revere and The Raiders, 173). Another returning attraction on the show, although nowhere near as frequently as Keith, was (on 12 episodes) Peter and Gordon, the British duo who enjoyed a number of hits during the 1960s and, of course, included in its line-up, Peter Asher, whose sister, Jane Asher, was Paul McCartney’s girlfriend between 1963 and ’68. Here’s a photo of her brother (on the right) with Allison (middle) in 2015…
And from Allison’s FaceBook page, here’s a photo of Keith with ex-Beatle Paul – or, alternatively, depending on your point of view – it’s Faul with Keith, or Paul with ’fake’ decoy Beatle Bobbie Paul, or Faul with Faul, or whatever (take your pick)… And, incidentally, should I be suspicious that, in the image of the two, one of them has his face largely obscured from the shot, and so we don’t get a side-by-side comparison of their facial features?…
As I mentioned earlier, Keith has regularly played on stage with The Crickets. One of the founder-members of the group is none other than his cousin, the drummer, Jerry Allison – he co-wrote the classics ‘That’ll Be the Day’ and ‘Peggy Sue’ with the band’s famed front-man Buddy Holly who died in 1959, and the publishing rights of these two compositions, years after his death, were bought by, and currently in the ownership of, ‘MPL,’ the company owned by Paul McCartney, who’s often talked about the influence the bespectacled singer/song-writer had on him during his pre-fame formative period in Liverpool – indeed, as noted elsewhere on this site, the word, ‘Beatles’ (‘Beetles’) has been attributed, partly, as having been inspired by the band-name ‘The Crickets.’ In the 1980s the former Beatle produced the track ‘T-Shirt’ on The Crickets’ album of the same title. It was released as a single, and the B-side was the cut, ‘Holly Would,’ co-written by Jerry Allison (and featured on the album also).
From his FaceBook page, here’s Keith with The Crickets sometime during the mid-Sixties. The moustachioed guy is his cousin, Jerry…
According to IMDb, Keith has appeared in a number of movies over the years, and here too we see varying connections worthy of note between him and The Beatles. For one, there’s his appearance, as miniscule as it is, in the big-screen musical version of the band’s album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’ Released in 1978 with – as far as I can gather – no personal input from either John, Paul, George or Ringo although their one-time regular producer, George Martin arranged and directed the music, it’s a star-studded feature partly centred around the fortunes of a small town that’s called Heartland, a wholesome, happy, peaceful place that’s then thrown into turmoil after the malevolent Mr. Mustard (played by British comedian, Frankie Howerd) breaks into the City Hall and steals a tuba, saxophone, cornet and drum, all of which have the power to make dreams come true and that were bequeathed to the local community by the now-deceased owner of them, Sergeant Pepper who, with his Lonely Hearts Club Band, had, in the past, generated so much happiness in the music they played that it even caused troops in World War I to stop fighting. As long as the instruments remain in the town’s care, humanity will live happily forever after. But following the theft, Heartland is transformed into a depraved, deprived environment, paving the way for a takeover by Mr. Mustard’s bosses, the evil music-group, ‘FVB’ – the ‘Future Villain Band’ (played by Aerosmith) – who want to poison young minds and herald in a dictatorship. Their plans however are thwarted by a young band of musicians led by the English Pop/Rock-star Peter Frampton, who stars in the film as Sgt. Pepper’s grandson who goes by the name of – here we go again – Billy. That’s Billy as in Billy Shears (‘Billy Shears,’ name-checked on the opening track of the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ album and, according to P.i.D.ers of course, is otherwise known as William Shepherd, Paul’s ‘replacement’ after his ‘death’). Keith’s appearance in this movie is so small that I’m not absolutely certain where he actually is in it, and I have watched it too, from beginning to end. From what I can gather (thanks to IMDb and ‘Wikipedia’), he’s one of the dozens upon dozens of ‘special guests’ singing along at the end of the film to the reprise of the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ album theme and is joined by a huge host of well-known names including Tina Turner, Donovan, Robert Palmer, and Curtis Mayfield. Below is a screen-cap from those closing scenes. Now – okay, I might be wrong – but I’ve placed a red circle around the guy I think is most likely Keith Allison. He has been known to sport a beard at times over the years (as the photo I’ve imposed into the cap shows), so – I’m thinking – that might be him. It’s the closest that I could find to a likeness to the guy from all the assorted ‘special guests.’
In the movie, joining Billy Shears in his band are his friends, Mark, David and Bob Henderson – played by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb AKA The Bee Gees who, at the time, were being managed by Robert Stigwood who, back in the 1960s, was approached by Brian Epstein and made a partner of his ‘NEMS Enterprises,’ the company that handled the careers of his stable of stars that included singer-entertainer Cilla Black, the group Gerry and The Pacemakers and, of course, The Beatles. It’s said that when news of the partnership began to filter out somewhere from about the autumn of 1966, it sent shockwaves and bewilderment throughout music-business/industry circles. No one was expecting this merger but, we’re told, the day-to-day running of the organisation had become too much of a pressure and a grinding chore for Epstein who wanted to relinquish responsibility and hand most of it over to someone else. According to his friend and a director of NEMS, Peter Brown, Brian offered to sell a controlling share of the company – 51% – to Robert for £500,000 and gave him a deadline of May 1967 – and later extended to September of that year – to raise the necessary funds to buy. Following Brian’s death in August however, the deal faltered and failed, largely thanks to The Beatles’ refusal to have Stigwood as their new manager. As a result, he went on his way, and took a very valuable asset with him because it was during his time at the company that he met the then largely unknown Bee Gees and started representing them, and it was at NEMS that the group’s rise to international stardom actually began (and much to Epstein’s chagrin, it’s said). When he left, they went with him. From there, Robert diversified into theatre and movies as a producer being the man behind the big-screen smashes ‘Saturday Night Fever’ (with its Bee Gees conceived soundtrack), ‘Grease,’ as well as the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ film in 1978. That same year saw the release in cinemas of his comedy-musical ‘Sextette’ starring a substantial amount of well-known names, including Ringo. Veteran Hollywood icon Mae West heads the cast playing the lead-role of Marlo Manners, a six-times-married screen-siren, sex symbol and occasional secret honey-trap for the US Government, and who, during a visit to London, inadvertently becomes embroiled in a geo-political crisis involving a world leaders‘ conference taking place at the hotel where she’s staying. Starr is Laslo Karonly, one of her numerous ex-husbands. Also appearing, to note just a few, there’s Alice Cooper (who also appears in the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ film, as the mind-controlling, brainwashing Father Sun), The Who’s Keith Moon, and – yep – the other Keith (Allison). As in the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ movie, Allison’s role in Sextette is brief – very brief – lasting around, by my estimations, eight seconds. Just below here, a scan of him in it. He’s playing a hotel waiter delivering a cake to the room of a Russian diplomat by the name of Alexei Andreyev Karansky, as played by Tony Curtis, whose back is facing us in the pic below, and who of course, is also one of the illustrious array of faces included on the front-cover of the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album, and Mae West is featured on that too, as you probably know, and, back in the 1960s, her publicist, for a short time, was none other than Derek Taylor. Incidentally, one of the songs performed in Sextette is The Beatles’ ‘Honey Pie’ from 1968’s ‘White Album.’
While Allison has never – to my knowledge, anyway – spoken about his alleged role in the so-called ‘Protection Society’ as a decoy/‘fake Beatle,’ he’s certainly chatted in some detail about his close friendship with Ringo. Keith says he was the musical director for Starr’s backing-band, and has recalled, “he and I were like real good friends. We shared a house together for several years, off and on in the ‘70s.” Also, he claims he got to meet Lennon, McCartney and Harrison during this time through his relationship with the ex-Beatles drummer.
Here’s Ringo and Keith, sometime in the 1970s I’d guess…
And here they are many years later (a pic posted on Allison‘s FaceBook page in July 2018):
Also, Allison is said to have been closely involved in the making of the 1978 one-off US TV-special ‘Ringo.’ He even appears in it, or so I’m led to understand anyway, I mean, I don’t know about you, but, having watched it myself more than a couple of times over the decades, I’m not sure where in it he shows up, but it must be brief by the looks of it… very brief. According to IMDb, he plays the part of, and I quote, “Ringo’s roadside attraction recording-engineer.” One blogger I’ve come across on the ‘net – and who’s as puzzled as me it seems as to Allison’s whereabouts in the TV-special – has scanned a shot of a person in it that might be him… Here it is…
For whatever reason it came to pass, it’s interesting (I think) that ‘fake Beatle’/‘decoy’ Allison had some personal involvement with the ‘Ringo’ television-show. After all, in this small-screen mini-musical in which Starr appears as, essentially, his real Rock-star/celebrity self – Ringo – he also plays the role of a character who’s his doppelganger and who replaces him. Featuring guest appearances from Carrie Fisher, Vincent Price, Angie Dickinson and John Ritter, the TV-special begins with a scene at a Press-conference where George Harrison provides us with the story’s premise. He tells us that Ringo and the double, a downtrodden loser by the name of Ognir Rrats (yes… that’s ‘Ringo Starr’ backwards), were apparently born at the “very same moment, the very same second, in the very same country – England, remarkably both children though born of different parents look exactly alike.” Said to have been based on the idea behind the 19th century novel ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ by Mark Twain and that tells the story of a young prince and a pauper who look exactly alike and who swap places as a result, ‘Ringo’ sees Rrats and Starr take on each other’s identities and, as a consequence, their respective lives also.
Here’s one if you’re into your occult symbols, another scan from the TV-special, it’s from towards the end of it when Ringo (not Ognir) performs on stage, under a pyramid. Joining him are his band, the one that Allison says he was musical-director for…
Perhaps in reference to his life during the Beatlemania years, in the TV-special, Ringo tells Ognir that he wants to swap places with him so that he can taste a carefree life away from the relentless, tiring treadmill of television appearances, concerts, recording-sessions and autograph signings. He wants to be like the regular, “average” folk who can “come and go as they please.” As George tells us at the beginning, the “fame and fortune did very little to make him happy.” Whilst I doubt that the real-life Ringo a.k.a. Richard Starkey would be willing to let go of the fortune that Harrison mentions, have there been times, especially during the Beatle years, when Starr felt as hemmed in by the fame as his fictionalised self does? Did it ever become, as he says in the TV-special, a “prison”? I have no idea who came up with the concept of the ‘Ringo’ show. It could well have been Ringo himself and based on his own life. To me, he always seemed to be the one who was most comfortable with his celebrity status within the band, but, of course, there could’ve been times when he may indeed have felt like swapping places for a bit with an Ognir. Maybe that’s what Paul – that’s the live, real, genuine – Paul McCartney has done in some way shape or form over the years when he’s seen fit? Just suppose that the 1978 TV-special was trying to tell us that in a subliminal/fantasy-fiction-type way? Is that a bit too far-out?… According to Peter Brown, who, following Brian Epstein’s death in 1967, eventually went on to work for The Beatles as Executive Director at their company, Apple, the reason the band nearly bought themselves a Greek island in the latter half of that year was in order to escape the prying eyes and the ever pervading attention brought by their fame. That’s a huge, and unusual extreme to take for some privacy. “I was in my office one day… when the Beatles’ private phone rang. It was John calling to say that The Beatles were moving out of England! The Beatles were talking about how sick and tired they were of notoriety,” states Brown in his book ‘The Love You Make.’ “John suggested they escape it all by creating their own little kingdom, like an island. On the island they would build beautiful houses and the best studio money could buy…” Following the phone-call, according to Peter, he and his team went about making the necessary enquiries to bag The Beatles an island, and soon John, Paul, George and Ringo were in Greece shopping for one. Eventually, however, they had a change of heart and gave up the idea altogether. In Barry Miles’ book ‘Many Years from Now,’ McCartney says it was “a good job” that they didn’t buy one in the end, “because anyone who tried those ideas realised eventually there would always be arguments, there would always be who has to do the washing-up and whose turn it is to clean out the latrines. I don’t think any of us were thinking of that.” One way – of many – in which all of the Beatles dodged the attentions of fans in their years together was by wearing disguises… As I mentioned earlier, there was a member of the band that had spoken publicly in the mainstream Press during the ‘mania’ period about having taken part in decoy tricks. That was George Harrison, who said he and John, Paul and Ringo had dressed up as policemen so that they could avoid any danger of getting noticed and mobbed by fans on their way to a concert that they were scheduled to appear at in Birmingham, the English city. In the newspaper report below, which I’m guessing is from 1963 (and that’s taken from the book ‘Early Beatles. In the News – Volume Four,’ a compilation of original newspaper and magazine clippings of the band from the Sixties and collected together by Colin Barratt), George says he and his fellow band-mates donned police-helmets as disguises after the van that The Beatles were travelling in on their way to the performance-venue broke down on the M1 motorway. Under the headline, ‘P-c (Police-constable) Beatles’ Dodge Those Fans, Harrison recalls that the vehicle was towed-off for repair by the British automotive recovery company, ‘RAC’ (’Royal Automobile Club’) and from there “we drove to the police headquarters in Birmingham, where they told us to put the helmets on. It was great fun.” According to the newspaper report, the band, “disguised as policemen,” were then “smuggled into a theatre past hundreds of their fans” by “wearing police-helmets and dark coats” and “taken for a ride in a Black Maria (a.k.a. police-van)… this ‘beat-the-Beatlemania’ operation was a complete success. A decoy police-van was driven down the street. Then a Black Maria arrived at the gates of the stage-door. A secret knock… and the Black Maria nipped through before fans realised what had happened”…
Furthermore, in 1963, according to the book, ‘Shout! The Beatles in Their Generation’ by Rock/music biographer, Philip Norman, Ringo dressed himself in disguise before checking-in to an English hospital with ear-ache. He was “rushed to the hospital disguised in an overcoat, hat and spectacles that, as one reporter noted, ‘made him look like’” the German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht “‘being smuggled out of Germany’” during the Nazis’ reign of the country prior to and during the Second World War.
In the book ‘History with The Beatles,’ its author, Bradford E. Loker, reports that, one evening in October 1963, George Harrison “snuck out, in disguise, and attended a Rolling Stones / Everly Brothers / Bo Diddley concert” in London. What exactly he wore to evade attention and whether his disguise succeeded or not isn‘t mentioned, but what’s striking to me nevertheless is that he’s described as having ‘snuck out’ – of his apartment I guess. He couldn’t just walk out, open and close his front-door and make his way. Whether dressed incognito or not, he had to ‘sneak.’ Such was the Beatles’ stratospheric level of fame back then, especially during those ‘mania’ years it seems, that it must have been, at times, quite claustrophobic for them, to be stifled of free movement as they might well have been. In her book, ‘John,’ Cynthia Lennon, who first met John when they were art-students together in Liverpool long before he became a world-famous Pop-star, has included such a description of the band’s celebrity that, according to her, began to enter into the realms of the manic in October 1963, sometime around the release of their fifth UK single, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ and their appearance on the hugely popular British TV-show ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium.’ She recalled, “suddenly they couldn’t go anywhere without protection. Things they had taken for granted all their lives, like going to the pub, walking down the street or visiting a friend, were no longer possible. Just getting from a car to a door a couple of yards away was a major operation.” In January ‘64, she and John, and their baby son, Julian, moved into their first, real family home, a flat in an apartment-building in London, but it wasn’t long before the fans discovered their address and made their way there. “We woke one morning to find teenage girls camped on the pavement outside. After that they were always there, day and night. If any of the residents in the flats accidentally left the front-door open they would grab their chance and slip in. We’d find them camped… in the hallway, with sleeping-bags and Thermos-flasks. When I took Julian out in his pram fans would surround us, begging for a glimpse of him, and the pram would virtually disappear as they swarmed round it, clamouring, ‘oh, Cyn, isn’t he sweet? Can I touch him? Can I cuddle him?’ Or, ‘oh, Cyn where do you get your hair done? You’re so lucky to have John. Where do you buy your clothes?’ On and on it went. Most were well-meaning, and many were very young. The problem was that there were so many of them… It could be overwhelming and sometimes frightening. Inside the flat,” she recalled, she and John “were fine. With the fans down in the street below we felt safe and peaceful several floors up. But once the fans discovered us it was clear that we couldn’t stay there for long and we wondered where we could go to escape the attention.” Is it any wonder then, perhaps, that The Beatles should mask themselves in fake spectacles or whatever else just so they might get some form of, in Cynthia’s words, “escape” from the ever present crowds of fans? In the second instalment of this two (or three?)-part article, the emphasis on disguises will be expanded upon and will also, on the way, take us into the realms of what many would undoubtedly describe as ‘the weird,’ the unexplained, the slightly surreal, the uncanny (a bit) and the downright puzzling. And so, if you thought this here instalment you’ve just read had some intriguing little twists, turns and ‘coincidences’ in it, well, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Get ready for more of that and, as I mentioned right at the beginning of this in the opening paragraph, some head-scratchingly inducing info, muddy and covered in contradictions.
Earlier this year – in February 2018 to be exact – I, Matt Sergiou, had the pleasure of guesting on ‘Our Interesting Times,’ the regularly updated series of pod-casts about all that is conspiratorial in this messed-up old world of ours, and as hosted by Tim Kelly. He’d invited me on to chat about an article I posted here on ‘The Occult Beatles’ back in that same month… You might remember it? Titled ’Scandal in a Small World,’ it’s a lengthy piece centring largely around the so-called ‘Profumo affair’ of 1963, that headline-hitting Cold War-flavoured scandal involving the-then British Secretary of State for War John Profumo, a Russian military man (and spy) Yevgeny Ivanov, a high society osteopath and “pimp,” Stephen Ward, and his “prostitute,” Christine Keeler. Her death in 2017 at the age of 75 got me reflecting on the huge impact that historians tell us she and this affair had, not only in the bringing down of the UK Conservative Party Government of that time, but also the birth of the sexually permissive ‘swinging Sixties,’ an era that was also helped into being with Beatlemania, which broke into mass consciousness in Britain at precisely around the same time as the Profumo scandal… Accident, or design? Given that we’re told British culture was turned upside down by these events and heralded in the decade that apparently saw a major disintegration of traditional family and societal values and mores and, more to the point, is believed or at least suspected to have deliberately been designed to do so as part of some grand social engineering plot, well, that’s why I ask. Following Christine’s death last year, I went about looking to see if there were any more significant connections between her and The Beatles. You can check out what I discovered (if you haven’t already) in the link below, it’ll take you to the aforementioned article…
As well as chatting about the Profumo affair and its connections in one way shape or form to The Beatles, during my guest-spot on Our Interesting Times, Tim and I also discuss, in his words, “the peculiar milieu of popular musicians, entertainers, politicians, spooks and gangsters that came to be known as ‘swinging London.’” The ‘swinging’ era of Sixties London eventually morphed into the so-called ‘counter-culture’ bringing with it LSD, hippies and psychedelia. Now, most reading this, I’m quite sure, are familiar with the work of David McGowan and his research into the US/Laurel Canyon scene of the 1960s and his contention that most of the bands and music-artists from that were part of a social engineering plot backed by the intelligence services, military, Government, and the supposed ‘elite’ bloodline families. In recent times, and initially inspired by his findings, I’ve dedicated most of my time into looking deeply into the UK counter-culture (predominantly, London) to see if it has any parallels with that. I mean, surely, if such a plot existed in America then it would have been the same in Britain which was, after all, a massively major cultural influence in the so-called ‘western world’ during the Sixties? As I mention in my pod-cast chat, this is an area of research that I first began to look in to not that long ago and at a time when I was considering a revamp of ‘Conspiro Media,’ the parent-site of The Occult Beatles and that I first went online with in 2011 with the aim of looking into the dark, occult world of music, movies and TV. By 2016, I’d grown disillusioned with the direction it was taking and wanted to focus more of my time on 1960s counter-cultural London, to the point that I began to seriously consider putting it out to pasture, and indeed, that was my mindset back in February this year when I appeared on Our Interesting Times, and I say as much to Tim during our pod-cast chat. However… since then, I’ve had a bit of a rethink. My delving in to the history and the events surrounding Sixties Britain is a major project for me, there’s years of work ahead, but I now intend to use both Conspiro Media the site and its accompanying ‘FaceBook’ page predominantly as a platform for what I have to share. Any way!…
If you like, you can listen to my chat with Tim below, either via ‘YouTube’ or ‘Podomatic’…
Please pardon me if the following information is already known to you, I wouldn’t want to waste your time reading it, but it really is new to me…
Just a couple of weeks ago whilst I was search-engine surfing in an altogether random and loose nature, I happened to stumble quite accidentally upon a YouTube video dated from 2014 and titled ’John Lennon and the Truth Movement.’ Upon closer inspection I discovered that it was a radio-interview with Chris Everard, the author and documentary-maker who’s known for his reports into UFOs, secret societies, the so-called ‘paranormal,‘ and the alleged dark deeds of the British Royal Family – including the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Appetite suitably whetted by the prospect of listening to – I presumed – a one hour-plus commentary and analysis of Lennon’s long-documented stand against the malevolent machinations of The Establishment, I pressed ‘play’ and sat back. Unfortunately, twenty five or so minutes into the interview, and with no mention yet of anything in the slightest related to ‘Beatles,’ I realised that it probably wasn’t going to happen. In an increasingly impatient manner I must confess, I skimmed through the remaining forty or so minutes of Everard’s chatter in a bid to locate any reference to the actual title of the video, but still, nothing. Admittedly, it could be that, in my impatience, I missed something along the way, but even if that was the case, it certainly wouldn’t have been lengthy enough to warrant the interview being billed as, ‘John Lennon and the Truth Movement’…
I was promptly inspired to dig a little deeper to discover why Chris Everard was being so closely aligned to John Lennon in that video-title… Surely it wasn’t just a random happening?
Well… apparently not. Everard, according to his official website, is planning to make a film titled ’John Lennon & the Truth Movement’ – with our help that is. Yes, chuck in a donation from between $5 to a whopping $5,000 and you can assist in turning this project into a reality. Your financial contribution “will be spent on principle photography, post-production, editing and distributing this film.”
A trailer for the proposed documentary has been available on YouTube, via Everard’s ‘EnigmaTV’ banner, since 2014 and features a clip, first seen in 1988’s motion-picture retrospective ’Imagine: John Lennon,’ in which the outspoken Rock-star reads a letter sent to him from an individual who claims to have, through the use of a ouija board, been warned by the spirit of dead Beatles manager Brian Epstein that an attempt will be made to assassinate the singer. “But that is just the start of this chilling and unusual feature-length documentary,” claims the website ’EnigmaChannel.Wordpress.com’…
“The film shows, and proves through testimonies, that the occult forces were at work in the DAKOTA apartment building – and that the lives of Yoko Ono and John Lennon have been heavily influenced by ancient Ley Lines, hauntings and spirit activity which was deliberately ‘designed-into’ the building. The British director, CHRIS EVERARD has made a large number of feature length documentaries investigating the Paranormal…
JOHN LENNON & THE TRUTH MOVEMENT is more than just a film about how the most famous man of the 20th century was assassinated- it’s about J. EDGAR HOOVER, the FBI spying on John Lennon, and how his death was pre-planned as part of the COINTELPRO espionage & assassination program.
JOHN LENNON invested his own money in a global campaign for ‘PEACE’. He kicked off a global PEACE MOVEMENT which has grown and morphed into today’s TRUTH MOVEMENT. Many people have ‘Awoken’ to the fact that many members of Congress, members of the Senate and Houses of Parliament own SHARES in companies which manufacture Weapons of Mass Destruction. The reason that the world is often thrown into WAR is because every time war is declared, or a drone bombing mission is announced, the value of these shares increase. JOHN LENNON inspired today’s Truth Movement with a campaign for Peace.
John Lennon was assassinated after being the target of a spying campaign. Because the killer admitted his crime and was apprehended at the scene, no official investigation took place… Until now. This film thoroughly investigates the SATANIC RITUAL and PARANORMAL elements surrounding John Lennon’s life – and his death…
This film presents new evidence and examines the motives of senior White House, FBI & CIA officials who admit in FOIA documents that they wanted JOHN LENNON shunted out of the USA, and some of these people wished he was DEAD. Help us to finance this awesome movie about his life, expose who really assisted the killer, and give us a donation towards the production and marketing so that the message of JOHN LENNON lives on and we expose the WAR MACHINE and the glove-puppet politicians who perpetuate this terrible situation just so they can earn illicit riches.”
Below, the aforementioned trailer for the proposed film:
All the above information has, I would assume from my own brief investigations, been in circulation since at least 2014 / 2013 and is, it would appear, all there is. No subsequent updates have been added it seems. As a result, I’m intrigued to know how far – if at all – Everard has come in the making of this film in the last four years or so. I did attempt to contact him via his website and his FaceBook page so that I could ask him directly but no means of communication are available on either.
My guess is as good as most people’s, but the fact that Everard’s website is asking for donations towards the making of the film suggests that, as projects go, it’s still on the table but, unless any one reading this knows any better, we can only wonder when – or if – this documentary will ever see the light of day.
If you’re familiar with the work of the author and researcher, David McGowan you’ll almost certainly be aware of his theory that America’s counter-culture of the 1960s was actually a creation of the so-called ‘Powers That Be’ and not born in San Francisco as is widely peddled by the mainstream but, instead, Laurel Canyon, the LA neighbourhood which was not only home to a covert military installation but also a significant majority of the music-stars who became voices of that scene, and who themselves were almost all linked intimately in one way or another either to the US intelligence-services, armed-forces, upper echelons of Government, politics and banking as well as some of the country’s wealthiest, most powerful families.
If such a plot did indeed exist and did take place then I’m of the view that it probably happened in Britain too. I mean, over in London at the very same time, there were folk immersing themselves in and influencing the UK’s equivalent of the counter-culture who, also, were connected in one way or another to notoriously malevolent organisations such as the Tavistock Institute or Cambridge University and the LSE (‘London School of Economics‘), and/or had links to the British military and defence industry, banking, top-tier government and old moneyed families, such as the Guinness brewing dynasty whose heir in the 1960s was Irish-born Tara Browne, a regular fixture on the London scene and a friend of The Beatles. He’s the guy who gave McCartney his first Acid Trip. “Tara was taking Acid on blotting-paper in the toilet. He invited me to have some,” Paul has claimed, adding that, “I’d not wanted to do it, I’d held off like a lot of people were trying to, but there was massive peer pressure. And that night I thought, ‘well, this is as good a time as any,’ so I said, ‘go on then, fine.’” That was in 1966. Months later, in June 1967, just days after the release of ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ and at the height of the Acid-drenched ‘Summer of Love,’ the musician was extolling the virtues of the drug to the mainstream mass-media and, as a result, to millions of his fans and admirers. “After I took it, it opened my eyes,” he said at the time. “We only use one-tenth of our brain. Just think what we could accomplish if we could only tap that hidden part! It would mean a whole new world. If the politicians would take LSD, there wouldn’t be any more war, or poverty, or famine.” Tara, by then, was dead. He’d been killed, aged just 21, in a car-crash in December ‘66, a tragedy that was immortalised in the line, “he blew his mind out in a car, he didn’t notice that the lights had changed” on ‘A Day in the Life,’ the closing track on the Sgt. Pepper album. A new book charting his colourful yet short life has just been released. Titled, ’I Read the News Today, Oh Boy,’ it’s written by award-winning journalist, author and comedy-writer, Paul Howard. He’s also composed a short article for the newspaper/wesbite, ‘MailOnline’ in conjunction with the publishing of the biography. Here’s some excerpts…
Just after midnight on December 18th 1966, in a London festooned with Christmas lights, 21-year-old Tara Browne, a Dublin-born brewery heir, music lover, style icon, racing car driver and sometime ‘Vogue’ model, lost control of his light-blue Lotus Elan in South Kensington, London and collided with a black van. His passenger girlfriend, Suki Potier, later claimed that Browne wasn’t going particularly fast – although that would have been wildly out of character for the speed-obsessed young aristocrat. In her version of events, a white car – either a Volvo or an E-Type Jaguar, never traced – emerged unexpectedly from a side street and forced Tara to swerve.
A month after that fatal crash – and the day after Browne’s mother, Oonagh, won custody of her late son’s two small children in the High Court – John Lennon, suffering from writer’s block during the making of The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album, propped a copy of the ‘Daily Mail’ (newspaper) on his piano music-stand and turned over the front page. There, in the middle of page three, was an article headlined: ‘Guinness Heir Babies Stay with Grandmother.’
John had heard about Tara’s death, though unlike McCartney, he hadn’t known him well. The two Beatles had just been discussing whether or not Browne, son of Lord Oranmore and Browne, would have inherited his father’s seat in the House of Lords had he lived.
Lennon touched the piano-keys and out came the opening line of the song:
‘I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade…’
Fifty years on, Tara Browne is familiar to many as the man in the first verse of The Beatles’ ‘A Day in the Life,’ who ‘blew his mind out in a car’ and then drew a curious crowd of onlookers who wondered whether he was ‘from the House of Lords.’
Rich, handsome and effortlessly cool, Tara was the living, breathing quintessence of Swinging London – a dandy with the air of a young prince, always right on the heartbeat of the moment in everything he did, whether introducing Paul McCartney to the mind-expanding possibilities of LSD in his Belgravia mews, turning heads in his psychedelic AC Cobra or gadding about London’s West End with Peter Sellers or Roman Polanski.
Browne thrilled to danger of any kind – experimenting with the newest drugs, shooting the breeze with the East End villains who popped into his motor repair shop in Chelsea, and tearing up the King’s Road in a low-slung sports-car, a record-player built into its dash, the needle skipping across the vinyl as he weaved through the traffic.
Born in 1945, Tara was the younger son of Dominick Browne, the fourth Lord Oranmore and Browne, and Oonagh Guinness, a glamorous society beauty and member of the sixth generation of the brewing dynasty, whose surname was as famous as Ireland itself. His parents divorced when he was young, and Tara rarely saw the inside of a classroom, forming his personality at the feet of his mother’s coterie of writers, intellectuals and aristocratic black sheep, including the painter Lucian Freud, film director John Huston and writer Brendan Behan.
By the time he was 18, having already travelled the world with his vivacious mother, Browne was married with a child, but that didn’t stop the charming, well-connected young man finding his true purpose at the centre of a suddenly swing London.
He became a central character at a club near Leicester Square called the ‘Ad Lib,’ the hippest of London hotspots, where Britain’s once-sacred class structure was being shaken like a snow-globe, as Pop-stars and criminals mingled with debutantes, aristocrats and – it was rumoured – royalty, in the form of Princess Margaret.
“Tara was absolutely central to it,” remembered Sixties socialite Jane Ormsby-Gore. “We were meeting people from different walks of life, but we needed somebody in the middle saying, ‘oh, so-and-so, have you met such-and-such?’ and that was what Tara did.”
In the great social switchyard of the Ad Lib, it was inevitable that Tara and McCartney would meet. One had a ravenous curiosity about the world; the other, the assured air of a privileged young man who had seen and done it all. Introduced by McCartney’s brother Mike, they bonded over clothes, cars, music and drugs. From that moment on, Tara took Paul into his circle of high-born friends.
Tara and his wife Nicki’s mews house in Eaton Row, Belgravia, became the centre of an after-hours scene. Every Friday morning, Nicki bought five-dozen eggs to make breakfast for whichever guests had improvised beds for themselves on the living-room floor.
“The house was always strewn with bodies,” she remembered. “You never knew who was a Beatle, who was an Animal, who was a Trogg and who was a Pretty Thing.”
Tara didn’t impress both of the chief Beatles. Nicki remembered John Lennon being at Eaton Row, drunk, with (Peter) Sellers. Tara gave John a copy of ‘Pygmalion,’ George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play lampooning, of all things, Britain’s rigid class-system.
But John was still too class-conscious to ever warm to Tara, according to Nicki, “I think he really sneered at people from Tara’s background,” she said.
With Paul, it was a different matter, and the pair would share dangerous adventures that would alter the course of the band.
Tara quickly picked up on the arrival in London of psychedelic drugs. LSD changed the landscape of Swinging London utterly, and it was Browne who introduced McCartney to the drug.
Tara himself soon came to wider attention. In 1965, he appeared in the fashion-magazine ‘Gentleman’s Quarterly,’ and the following year posed with Brian Jones for a ‘Vogue’ spread on how men’s clothes had become informed by women’s fashion.
By the end of the year, however, Tara’s life was in chaos. His marriage was unspooling. And his two tiny children were in Ireland, where his mother had taken them, dismayed by how her son and daughter-in-law were behaving as parents.
“I said to him, ‘Tara, we need to go and get the children back right now. They’re our children – not hers,’ remembered Nicki, who died in 2012. “And that’s when he said the strangest thing to me. He said, ‘what’s the point? I’m not going to live very long anyway.’”
The night he died, he had a date with new girlfriend Suki, and they left a restaurant on Abingdon Road in South Kensington just before midnight, driving west just for the hell of it, with no particular place to go. Neither alcohol nor drugs were a factor – Tara had consumed less than one pint of beer – though speed may well have been a cause.
Several witnesses claimed he flew past them, accelerating and braking fast, while the car made a loud noise. Seconds later, there was a bang and the sound of the engine stopped.
Sixties London wasn’t one single scene – it was a collection of different ones. Yet, somehow, Tara Browne had seemed to be at the centre of most of them, a first-hand witness to the events and trends that shaped and coloured the decade.
You can read the article in full here (which also – incidentally – makes references to P.i.D.):