Some have suggested the 60s “flower power” upsurgence was either co-opted and neutralized by the establishment or entirely fabricated by them to provide an acceptable form of “revolution” and avoid the real thing. I’ve read books suggesting the Doors’ Jim Morrison was an “experimental individual” who faked his own death upon completion of his project, and diagnosing Hollywood’s Laurel Canyon scene, which included such notables as the Mamas and the Paps, the Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Charles Manson, as a deliberate infiltration of the youth culture by MKULTRA.
I’m fairly convinced of the Laurel Canyon thing, without knowing anything for sure, and figure Jim Morrison must have had someone keeping tabs on him, if nothing else, considering his Admiral father fired the first shot in the Vietnam war.
A fake movie came out called The Last Testament of George Harrison purporting to be a tape-recorded deathbed confession from that late Beatle concerning Paul’s death and replacement by a double for reasons of national security (apparently to avoid a panic). But it wasn’t his voice, and there were lots of cutesy references. What narrative it provided – like the datum that McCartney’s famously troublesome ex-wife Heather Mills, was in fact the Rita immortalized by the (fake) McCartney in “Lovely Rita Meter Maid” – was problematic [i.e. if he’d been tailing her when he got killed, why would she think he was alive? And if she knew it wasn’t really Paul McCartney, why should she have been so scandalized to discover the depth of his deception, as she declared in her (in)famous BBC interview].
“I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of this meme,” said a friend when I told him what I thought about the Morrison thing. “But I don’t believe in it.” Well, at least the Beatles weren’t involved in that MK ULTRA stuff, I told myself, having grown up loving the Beatles and learned about loving music from them, even visiting Liverpool once as a kid and going through a phase in my adolescence of reading every single book I could about them.
But wait. The Lennon Prophecy, by Joseph Niezgoda (new Chapter Press, 2008) posits that John Lennon sold his soul to the devil to achieve international fame and fortune in the way he did, citing as evidence the screaming fans at airports, incontinence of audience members and so on, and subsequently paid the ultimate price for those achievements: his violent death in 1980 at the hands of a “demon-possessed” former fan, Mark David Chapman. This isn’t the first reinterpretation of Lennon’s legacy;
Albert Goldman’s The Lives Of John Lennon claims John had a relapse after famously kicking heroin and releasing “Cold Turkey” and was a junkie until he died, also that the brain tumor that killed original Beatles bassist, Stu Sutcliffe, had, in fact, been caused by John Lennong flying into a drunken rage one night in Hamburg and kicking Stu in the head. Both allegations are plausible, if horrifying.
Niezgoda never mentions heroin or the thing about Sutcliffe, and Goldman’s book doesn’t mention a pact with the devil. Neither author mentions the notion that Lennon’s murder resulted from a project by the secret government to eliminate political agitators, a popular theory expressed by John’s son Sean, among others.
History is written by the victors (or survivors), thus part of fame’s cost is the sacrifice of objective consideration by historians after death. The Lennon Prophecy is unlikely to find a sympathetic audience among most atheists or qualified agnostics. Even those who believe in a literal devil may dismiss Niezgoda’s sometimes far-fetched attempts to prove his thesis (as when he probes Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, written four years before Lennon’s birth, for clues to his murder forty-four years later). Offering a new interpretation of the hidden messages and symbols in Beatles songs and album cover art, his book proposes it was Lennon’s murder being foretold, not McCartney’s presumably fictional car-crash memorialized, as per the usual theory. It’s extremely well-written, and, on the main, avoids insulting any of the principals.
Paul is deadists hate the current Paul for being so irrepressibly ever-present in showbiz, continually attaching himself to the latest superstar in duet form, collaborating with everyone from Michael Jackson to that guy from Metallica to some weird producer called Youth, undercover as “the Fireman” for some time before admitting his identity. What the hell is this Masonic imposter up to, the deadists think, the inscrutable audacity of it!
It’s a plausible case. The whole thing might very easily be true, given the mind control powers of media. I think we’re all caught in that web by now, doing our best to think originally while being bombarded by thousands of behavioral cues and limits and directives, everything from What the Beatles Are to which toothpaste is best. Not to say all information is under control. I suppose that would be impossible in theory. But whatever they’re trying to do, Jane Asher’s father, and his predecessors, and descendants—it may not even be a bad thing, but it’s hidden, some weird private program—feels close to critical mass in light of how factionalized we’ve become in this joint.
Why would they want to replace Paul McCartney? Reasons I’m not party to. I don’t doubt the existence of hidden agendas beyond my ability to sniff out as a member of the dazzled public, especially after so much time has passed. It is unfortunate I am not a time traveling detective, or I would get to the bottom of things very simply. It would probably turn out to be something other than all the things everyone suspects to explain it all. It seems likely to me—speaking as a U.S. citizen—that the public has been brainwashed by pop music fordecades now and maybe longer on an ongoing basis. I see no reason exempting the Beatles from this covert strategy. Looked at in this light, certain things stand out.
The band’s stopping touring in 1966 and experiencing a dramatic transition of style and sound immediately after with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Jane Asher’s father’s reputation as an accredited behavioral scientist with Tavistock.
Beloved tracks like “All You Need is Love” take on a whole other character of instructions given to an otherwise broadminded section of the populace in order to make them more docile—and invalidate their arguments for hard-liners.
The group’s effect on the 20th century zeitgeist ranges far beyond their musical influence. The Western popularity of transcendental meditation was given a boost by the Beatles’ trip to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh, India, and the `60s generation’s experimentation with hallucinogens was given a considerable promotional boost through Paul’s public admission of LSD use, and John’s reaction to and, arguably, promotion of the LSD experience in some of his songs. Who can explain the ecstatic frenzy with which teenagers greeted the Beatles’ first visit to America? Why did John happen to live in New York’s Dakota Building, where Rosemary’s Baby (a film about Satan incarnating on earth directed by Roman Polanski, of all people) was shot? While the Rolling Stones sang of having “Sympathy for the Devil,” it was the Beatles’ music that inspired, however indirectly, the 1969 massacre of Sharon Tate (Polanski’s wife at the time) and others at the hands of Charles Manson‘s followers. Niezgoda gives all this puzzling evidence and more (like Mark Chapman’s background and George Harrison’s near-fatal knife attack in 1999 by a former fan who believed the Beatles were “witches”) a good going-over, but he misses a few points. For example, the Rolling Stones produced an album in December of 1967 titled Their Satanic Majesties’ Request , purportedly in response to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely hearts Club Band, which had been released that summer. Why’d they choose that title? This may or may not be examined on Niezgoda’s website, which offers “clues that aren’t in the book.”
Getting back to the New World Order. Richard Warren Lipack’s Epoch Moments and Secrets: John Lennon and the Beatles at the Mirror of Man’s Destiny makes the case that what the Beatles got themselves into through their manager Brian Epstein’s contracts and guidance, unbeknownst to them, at first, was a role in the New World Order’s plans to test out mass mind control, transforming the gritty covers band with an attitude and talent into a sociopolitical tool. The group’s decision to admit their use of LSD and marijuana as they began to move beyond their Beatlemania image into the
psychedelic era was apparently a step toward independence from this, but considering the flower-power-as-CIA-hoax motif, it may rather have been an overt attempt to influence public behavior.
Epstein replaced their leathers with collarless suits by Pierre Cardin, which got them into family rooms around the globe, presenting a huge opportunity for Tavistock (a British charity concerned with group and organisational behaviour and alleged arm of the English version of MK ULTRA) to capture the minds of the entire world’s youth. The modern multimedia presentation of music and marketing began here. Such unconventional postulations, which once might have seemed outrageous, are increasingly believable in this age of new angles, and preferable to me for what they destroy and create. In other words, I am glad for the loss of security and happy to imagine other possibilities exist where once all seemed known. As proven by shows like Surreal Life where “washed up” celebrities are made to cohabitate for viewers’ amusment, or Fredrik Colting’s book on Salinger’s Holden Caulfield as an old man, fame is a cannibal, worshipping even its own leftovers.
The Beatles’ strongest connection to the dark side of the sixties is via Charles Manson, accued mastermind of eight murders, who had allegedly been inspired by their music. In fact, Manson saw some of the Beatles’ lyrics as confirmation of his own antisocial outlook rather than a primer for it, but the connection bears investigation as a phenomena of the modern mind in mass culture if nothing else. Much evidence exists providing a strong case for the inculcation of Charles Milles Manson, through a lifetime in prisons and behavior clinics, of precisely the scapegoated personality to bring a close to MK ULTRA’S “flower power” experiment in mass mind control.
Richard Warren Lipack, a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, currently makes his home in Atlanta, Georgia. Brian Epstein’s estate apparently had considerable involvement with the production of this book, as did other Beatle intimates, like late Cavern Club MC Bob Wooler (who I had the fortune of meeting in Liverpool’s John Lennon Memorial Club, as a kid—he kept making my dad buy him pint after pint and I was too shy to ask about how John cracked his ribs at Paul’s 21st birthday party), and is apparently the first in a trilogy. Lipack’s writing is bumpy—whole chapters consisting of exposed FBI, CIA files, and material on social engineering, the mark of the beast, Waco, black choppers, militia, mind control, the drug trade, Nazi connections, UFO and alien appearances, backwards messages, etc. are alternated with more straightforward accounts of the band’s experience on tour–but the book’s unusual angle held my interest. I look forward to the next two installments, having always been conscious of several anomalies in the official story. Epoch Moments and Secrets is illustrated with previously unpublished photos of the fabs lounging poolside at what may be the future Tate mansion at 10500 Cielo Drive—Doris Day’s home at the time—and hanging out backstage on acid with Joan Baez before their final show at San Francisco’s Candlestick park in 1966.