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Sir Paul McCartney says a theory he died and was replaced on the cover of Beatles classic Abbey Road was “great publicity”.
After its release in 1969 fans thought there were “secret messages” on the photo indicating Paul had been killed in a car crash three years earlier.
But Macca, 78, said the “Paul is dead” conspiracy was “ridiculous”.
He added: “People said: ‘what do you want to do about this?’ I said: ‘Just leave it. It’s great publicity for the album. I put a statement out saying: ‘I’m not dead.”
The crackpot idea started to spread after a fan shared it on air with US DJ Russ Gibb.
The cover was said to depict a funeral, with Paul barefoot and out of step with his bandmates to represent a corpse.
A car registration plate in the picture was also said to prove Macca had been killed. But Sir Paul explained: “It was a very hot day and I did a few photos going across the crossing in sandals.
Ancient Egypt link to The Beatles points to 'Macca is dead' conspiracy, theorist claims
"Then it was so hot I kicked them off for a couple of shots and that’s one of the ones they used. They said: ‘This is a sign that Paul is dead’.
“There was a VW beetle there with the licence plate 281F and they said: ‘That’s 28 if he had lived’. None of it made any sense.”
There is a long line of conspiracies surrounding the theory that "Paul is dead", with even former Atomic Kitten singer Kerry Katona saying "maybe there is some truth" to the wacky claims.
Some believe there are hidden messages in Beatles songs while others suggest Sir Paul was replaced with a body double.
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