At one time, there were people who swore that Paul McCartney had died in a car crash, and that the distraught Beatles hired a look-alike, William Campbell, to replace McCartney on their records. But oh, they couldn’t keep this a secret from their most trusted fans, so they sprinkled clues throughout their album covers and song lyrics. You know, the license plate that said “28IF” – as in Paul would have been 28 IF he had lived today, that kind of stuff. All a bunch of crap.
At one time,there were people who swore that Elvis Presley never died in 1977, and that he lives a quiet life on an Arizona ranch with his next-door neighbors John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. But, oh, he couldn’t keep a secret like that from his most trusted fans, so again, there were clues throughout his music to let the “true fans” know the score. For instance, he allegedly “died” on August 16, 1977 – but if you add the numbers 8, 16 and 1977 together, you’d get 2001, and Elvis used to open his concerts with the theme music from 2001: A Space Odyssey. So that’s gotta prove that the King is still with us, right?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Coincidence does not equal fact. A turd on the street does not mean that it was put there by the Illuminati. But unfortunately, people will take these coincidences and run with them, creating haphazard conspiracy theories that, in their mind, equate secret messages and hidden communications. Ugh.
Let me share an example.
In 1979, David Baldwin Fisher was living in New York City, and he wrote some songs that he planned on recording. Working under the studio name of Emerson Bimby, Fisher recorded four tracks, which were later released on a two-record extended play vinyl set. The records were encased in a gatefold picture sleeve, the songs were released ,and it had a few spins on the radio, nothing major.
So now let’s fast-forward to 2002. I’m writing for the music magazine Goldmine at the time, and I’m at the world-famous WFMU record collector’s show in New York City, and I’m talking to dealers and collectors and whatnot. One dealer, who knew that I wrote for Goldmine, handed me this disc, and told me I needed to examine this record. Very carefully. No, REALLY carefully.
“Take a look at this,” he said. “There’s the World Trade Center in the background. And this is an Arab woman on the cover. And the guy in the cover looks like he’s dead. And the song’s called ‘My Little Bomb.’ This guy predicted the plane attacks. Heck, his last name is Bimby – that stands for Bomb In My Back Yard, right? You should write about this for Goldmine, man.”
I’m like … what the actual fuck is he talking about?
I bought the record anyway. Hey, $5 is $5.
This is the song “My Little Bomb,” in case you’re wondering. Just take a listen to the lyrics, and remember, this was written in 1979.
Okay, that was kinda creepy.
I checked out the other song titles. “Foreign Service Officers.” Hmm. “Shame and Scandal.” Hmm hmm. Maybe this record seller knows something after all … no, wait. That’s like suggesting that Nostradamus predicted the rise of Nazi Germany from 500 years in the past. It don’t work that way.
But eventually, I did write the article. I also found David Fisher, who was living in Hawaii and enjoying his life. He explained that the songs were based on his life as a child whose parents were in foreign service. The interior gatefold shows various passport stamps from places like Thailand and Barbados, where his family was stationed. This wasn’t some oblique manifesto on the rise of extremism.
Besides, it’s 1979. People aren’t thinking about Osama Bin Laden at that time. They’re thinking about the Ayatollah Khomeini and the hostages in Iran.
But I use the Emerson Bimby record right now to prove a different point. No, not that he was prescient enough to predict an event 22 years into the future. But instead, it’s a statement that not everything can be predicated on some nebulous attempt at soothsaying or future-gazing. Doing that stuff gets you the same wackadoodles that believe there’s a child-smuggling ring working out of the basement of a basementless pizza parlor in DC.
I mean, the whole “My Little Bomb” is a great story, but in the end, that’s all it is. It’s just a story.
Geez, next thing you’ll tell me is that Pink Floyd was watching The Wizard of Oz when they recorded The Dark Side of the Moon. 😀