‘Billy Shears’: Excerpts


1.)  An early morning commuter train slowly pulled into Waverly station in Edinburgh, Scotland.  It was the beginning of June 1966, and Billy Campbell was returning home from working the day shift as an officer within the Edinburgh Constabulary.
       Twenty-five years old and closely resembling Paul McCartney of the Beatles, Billy was living with his foster mother and father in a small apartment on the west side of the city.  
    Orphaned as a baby, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell adopted him as their only child since they couldn't have any of their own.
    Awakening from a nap at the end of his ride, Billy gathered his belongings and prepared to exit through the train doors.  Once on the platform, he quickly headed up the station stairs and out through the front exit to the main city thoroughfare.
    After walking several blocks, he entered his building and ran up several flights of stairs to his apartment.  The building and apartment appeared small and old but were relatively clean.
    Once inside, he hung up his vest and put his work material on a small table near the door.  Then, entering the kitchen, he announced his arrival and kissed his mother on the cheek.
    "Hello, mum.  Back from the drubbing world of secrets again!"     
    Billy's mother was in her late forties, not quite five feet tall, slightly overweight with a pudgy face and rosy cheeks. 
    Busy washing dishes she replied, "Hi, love.  Did you get to see your father today?"...Then a look of excitement erupted on her face.  "Oh, that reminds me.  A letter arrived for you today with a fancy silver emblem on the envelope."  
    Billy responded jokingly, "It wasn’t from the army was it?"
    She rushed into the hallway to retrieve the letter as he followed close behind. 
    "It had a return address from the states" she exclaimed.  
    Handing the letter over to him, he anxiously grabbed it, ripped it open, and began to read aloud while mumbling most of the words.  Then his eyes began to get wider and wider.  
    "Yes!  Yes!  I don’t believe it!  This is what I’ve been waiting so long for!  It’s an invitation to audition at the Juilliard School of music!"  He continued to read.  "If you are selected you will be granted one of several full scholarships to the School of Music starting in the fall semester of 1966.  Please respond by June 15th to select and reserve an audition date!"  
2.) Brian Epstein spent nearly two hours explaining the circumstances to Billy and the predicament they all found themselves in.
Then he reached the most critical portion of the meeting.
    "So you see, Billy, you’re our only hope!  You’re the only one who can save the Beatles!   Billy, the fans, the record company, the Beatles themselves, all of us need you now!  Will you please consider replacing Paul McCartney?"
    Billy was in complete shock. 
    "Wow!  I’m just plain knocked off me seat, man!  I don’t even know what to say right now.  I mean, I’m just a poor bloke from Edinburgh.  I never even played me music in front of more than a hundred people or so at a time.  Now I’m suddenly going to be a rock superstar?  An impersonator at that?  What am I going to tell me friends or even me co-workers?  And what if the fans find out?  Won’t they be mad?  They might even attack us!  What would we do then?!"

3.) It was late afternoon in downtown London where John and Yoko were having tea and pastries at an outdoor café.  It was almost dark out and John was wearing a large, funny looking hat to hide his identity.  And, It was quite noisy as cars were continuously driving by.
    "Can you believe it, Yoko?  First they give him Paul’s identity, and if that’s not enough, now they think we’re all just going to roll over and let him write all our music!  They’re daft if they think they can get away with it!"  
    Yoko responded to John's distress, "Is there anything you can do to protect yourself or to ensure your rights as a Beatle?"…She continued, "What if you insinuated that you were considering exposing the truth.  Wouldn’t that open his (their) eyes?"
    John pondered..."So if we could hide all the evidence about the death of Paul within the albums themselves, you know, not too obviously, but creatively using clues and secret messages.  Then everybody would have their own copy of the evidence!  That way we could expose the truth at our own liking.  It’s beautiful!  It’s fantastic!  The more I think about it, the better it seems!"
4.) On October 12, 1969, in Detroit, Michigan, Disc Jockey RUSS GIBB of WKNR-FM was in the middle of his daily radio show.
At this particular moment, he was beginning a portion of his show where he accepted phone calls from listeners when he received a mysterious call from someone who would only refer to himself as 'Tom'.
    "Ok!  Why don’t we go to the phones.  The first caller, and what is your name?"  
     The caller responded, "This is Tom here."
    "Hey Tom." Russ replied, "What’s going on?"
    Tom sounded like he either had an accent or was trying to disguise his voice.  "Well, I..uh...was going to chat with you about McCartney being dead and what happened and all that?"………Tom continued, "Well, what you have to do is play the record backwards and where it says 'number nine' it reveals a secret message." 
    To his amazement, the voice which had been saying 'number nine' was now eerily reciting 'turn me on, dead man...turn me on, dead man...turn me on, dead man...'.
    "Wow!  That’s spooky."  Russ whispered to himself.
5.) By the end of October, 1969, the rumors about the death of Paul McCartney had become a world wide obsession.  Numerous programs and magazine articles were being broadcast and published deliberating the validity of Paul's fate.  
    Finally, the editors of Life Magazine tracked down and interviewed Billy, Linda, their daughter Heather, and their new-born daughter Mary at their vacation farmhouse in Scotland…"Oh, umm, so is there any particular statement that you’d like to make to your fans about the rumor that you were dead?"
    Billy paused momentarily then responded with a gleam in his eye, "Uh, yea, ummm...you can tell everybody that the rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated.  And, that if I were dead, I would have been the last to know!"