Monday, 17 November 2014

A is for Apollo

A is for Apollo - Part1

Once upon a long ago there lived a forum poster by the name of Apollo C. Vermouth about whose identity there was much debate. For those in the know – not I alas – the favoured candidate was always Beatle gatekeeper and confidante Neil Aspinall.

If this rumour is true I know not, however, his, or her, comments were certainly as insightful as they were cryptic and, I believe, are worthy of further consideration. I propose to publish a series of blogs exploring these, now rather elderly, posts in the hope that in the act of writing I may draw more people into the debate upon their meaning and to encourage research into Sgt. Pepper. 

Also, I cannot deny that the mere chance that these musings were penned by a Beatles insider does add a certain frisson of excitement into the mix. 

I have, wherever possible attempted to provide a little context to Apollo’s posts, though I should stress that due to the length of time since the postings, and because a lot were deleted, this comes largely from my own interpretation. For the sake of clarity when I reproduce any post from Apollo it will appear in italics whilst any interjections from my good self will be non-italicised and in brackets. I have made some small amendments to correct any spelling mistakes.

The posts have been collected from the NIR and TKIN online forums.

So, where to begin? Well I guess with a little background information for the uninitiated. Originally Apollo C. Vermouth was a pseudonym adopted by Paul McCartney when producing the single ‘I’m The Urban Spaceman’ for the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, who, of course, had appeared with the Beatles in their movie ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. 

Is the name significant? Probably not, but yet it does allow us to use Greek mythology as a tool for decoding the Apollo riddle.

Understand, depending on your point of entry, you may not like what you find.

So, choose your rabbit hole carefully.

There are two distinct points of entry.

Do not confuse the two.


Now, I do not wish to put words into people’s mouths, particularly those that are no longer willing, or able, to respond however, in my opinion the two rabbit holes Apollo refers to are;

 1. Was Paul replaced?

 2. The Alice in Wonderland references in Pepper. 

Note that neither of these themes include Paul is Dead.

Pardon the intrusion...

The good sister quotes, "We all know James Paul is dead...duh!"

Well, what "we" know is that post '66 another face and voice appears, while another seems to vanish into the ether. Yet, we have no proof of an actual death. Only speculation.

It is still my stance that what information you need to connect the dots still remains hidden in plain sight.

Which seems to confirm Apollo’s belief in a replacement scenario, a theme I shall return to, but which also flags up an issue. Apollo states above that everything remains hidden in plain sight and frequently comments that there's nothing you can see that isn't shown.

I have to take exception to that; however, the main theme is that the Sgt. Pepper cover is a pictorial code that reveals an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme applied to the 1966 Beatle situation.

But first I will return to my issue with the Apolloism that there is nothing you can see that isn't shown. Now, admittedly, there are two Paul McCartney’s on the cover of Pepper, but then there are two versions of all the Beatles on display; one wax and one real; but in disguise. So if the replacement scenario is to be taken seriously then quite how this is demonstrated conclusively on Pepper remains a mystery to me. Likewise, one of the primary ‘clues’ that Apollo refers to can only be found with the use of a mirror, so perhaps ‘plain sight’ was not the best terminology.

However, that Apollo promoted this replacement agenda is beyond dispute. Here are a selection of his posts;

There exist many who have played a part in this on-going drama. Some are dead, and some are living. Many have been mentioned in this forum. Some to a great extent, some merely in passing. It would stagger the mind in knowing just how many different souls it took to replace just "one."

Some seen and not heard, some heard and not seen, while others pulled the strings to create such an elaborate dance.

What had been an easy fix, turned more complicated with time.

Billy did not invent Neil. Neil is an actual person with the position within Apple that history has recorded. No mystery here.

That is not saying that Neil was an innocent bystander in all of this. Just that the current line of thought is flawed way "beyond the beyond."

Bill is an actual person as well. Quite capable of filling in for a missing musician. His face is not as visible as "others" who had a more "visual" part to play, but the genesis rest on his shoulders.



"One name alone is all you need. Yet, there remain endless gaps that need be filled. Billy only serves as a bridge to lead to the "rest of the story."


"'Billy' is introduced as the 'singer.' Voice prints identify at least 3 different 'Pauls.' "


"Billy (Shepherd) was invented by Neil (nom de plume). I'm not saying Neil is Billy the guy who "maybe is amazed", know what I mean?"


"The 'Paul' that was involved in that project not only got to show what he had learned about music, but what he had been involved in behind the curtain, so to speak."


"An attempt was made to distance William from his previous endeavours. Much was whitewashed concerning his 'history.' "



…. Remember that show on the telly, "Bewitched"? The original actor playing Darrin passed away. They quickly replaced him with another actor, to keep the show intact. Now, the original Darrin needn't have died. Maybe, he just said "fook it" and headed for greener pastures. Went on holiday, so to speak. But, to keep the original premise in place, somebody had to assume the role.

Now imagine, if you will, that scenario in context to this "mystery." Only in this case, the original Darrin came back to the show, after his fancy of leaving proved to be not quite in his best interest. By then, the show was on the "outs", and the cast grew tired of each other, thus putting an end to the show. Now, each blamed the other for the demise, for whatever reason they could muster, and went their separate ways. It's kinda like that. Only different. I told ya I was disturbed.



No "one" person could replace Paul.

Bill was chosen for his ties with the Beatles, his knowledge of their history, and that he was quite a capable musician and writer.

Within the studio, Bill managed to fill the gap.

Outside the studio, was quite a different story.

Several recruits were used for differing reasons,

Some used for photo ops, others for interviews. It required quite a cast of characters. It also explains the differences in photo comparisons.

We refer to our replacement as "Bill." But, he was more "heard" than "seen."



There are many fingers used to make a human hand.

One hand...many fingers.

Bill is the hand.



Apollo, how many entities have played the role of "Paul McCartney" since 1970?

….Public eye two, public ear three.



There was not much desire for Paul to return. The reasons being, well...the reason he left in the first place.

Plus, with the cast in place, he could afford more time to come 'round if he chose.

Paul was never totally out of sight. In fact, he managed to play a part in most of the behind the scenes part of running the Beatles.


So, Apollo is certainly suggesting that McCartney left the band and that a replacement was found, numerous replacements in fact. Indeed, Apollo is implying that there may have been a whole plethora of substitutes all fulfilling different aspects of replacing McCartney. However, Bill, or William, does seem to be one person.

Now we must consider that all of these postings may be no more than the delusional ravings of a madman, however, it is certain that the administrators at the forums believed these posts to be genuine and, whilst I struggle with the replacement hypothesis, it would be remiss not to research all aspects of this conundrum.

It is widely known that there were problems on planet Beatle from the summer of ’66. The debacle in the Philippines, the aftermath of the ‘bigger than Jesus’ comments, the decision to stop touring; all of this and more had led to misgivings in all the Beatles and in Brian Epstein. John Lennon decided to go off and film ‘How I Won the War’, George Harrison decamped to India and Paul McCartney did what he rarely ever did and went almost totally off-radar for three months.

Bits and pieces of McCartney’s ‘lost weekend’ have been identified. One source claims that on September 1 he was ‘entertaining’ Yoko Ono and, according to the Beatles Bible, on September 15, he attended a concert by AMM then, the following day, he was in Paris with John, Brian Epstein, Neil Aspinall and Maggie McGivern. We know he worked on composing the theme to ‘The Family Way’, produced a single for the band ‘The Escorts’, got settled at Cavendish Avenue and then embarked on his mystery tour of France, Spain and Africa. Was he, however, sufficiently disillusioned with life as a Beatle to want to walk away? Were outside interests and influences pulling McCartney in a new direction?

When researching Maggie McGivern I was struck by this recollection of her time with McCartney which will become more meaningful as we progress; “I used to spend many nights at his house in St. John's Wood. It was a beautiful Regency house, and his garden was full of Alice in Wonderland characters built in stone. We spent many romantic times there. At the end of the garden was a glass-topped, circular, domed building where we meditated. I'll never forget the first time he showed me that place. We went inside the dome and he told me to stand on the floor. Suddenly, the floor started rising and there I was, up in the air, looking at the stars”. [Source]

Thanks to the excellent research of Gerard Tomoculus (here) we can see that McCartney was certainly talking publicly about the break-up of the band around this time.

“It’s all part of breaking up the Beatles” revealed Paul.

Indeed, the good Dr T also goes on to speculate that it may have been McCartney who initiated the first approach to Allen Klein around this time to take over the management of the Beatles citing Christopher Sandford’s McCartney biography as his source, although this is not something, as yet, I have been able to substantiate.

It was also in 1966 that Epstein formed Nemperor Records with Nat Weiss and in early 1967 Epstein did a deal with Robert Stigwood concerning joint ownership of NEMS, so change was certainly afoot in the Beatle camp. However, there is nothing conclusive, yet, about McCartney wishing to leave. Though this 1984 McCartney interview with Playboy may be quite telling about McCartney’s mindset at that time...."It was an idea I had, I think when I was flying from L.A. to somewhere. I thought it would be nice to lose our identities, to submerge ourselves in the persona of a fake group. We would make up all the culture around it and collect all our heroes in one place. So I thought a stupid-sounding name for a Dr. Hook's Medicine Show and Travelling Circus kind of thing would be 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'. Just a word game, really."

McCartney is talking about the genesis of Sgt. Pepper, and, as he quite often does, is getting a bit muddled with his history. The generally quoted story is that McCartney came up with the concept when returning to London from Africa with Mal Evans - who as we now know had a major claim to song-writing credits on Pepper - whereas the L.A. trip was in 1967 and, I believe, was when he came up with the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ concept. 

But, I digress, the clues lie in the words; ‘I thought it would be nice to lose our identities, to submerge ourselves in the persona of a fake group’ and ‘Just a word game, really’. That, perhaps, sums it up best. A lot of the clues on Pepper are word-games that point to Alice in Wonderland and reflect the increasing loss of identity that the band feels. For example, when in ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, Alice encounters the Hookah-smoking Caterpillar he asks who she is and she says ‘I hardly know, Sir, just at present-at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then’. 

Is that why on the Pepper cover we have both a Hookah pipe and a caterpillar next to one another?

Let us not forget that a caterpillar will indeed change its identity to that of a butterfly. Goto next chapter.

A is for Apollo 

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