Joel Glazier of Wilmington has been a guest speaker at International Beatles Conventions in Liverpool, England and around the world. On Saturday, he will travel just down I-95 to Newark, to present a program called “Is Paul McCartney Dead?” at the Newark Free Library.
“This presentation makes people think,” Glazier said, warning: “Some die-hard fans get upset and have walked out.”
Born and raised in Wilmington, Glazier, 60, was a freshman at the University of Delaware in 1969 when the rumor about Paul McCartney’s death spread around the world.
“It was the topic at the University of Delaware, and campuses across America,” Glazier said. “It was a wonderful time.”
College students scoured The Beatles’ album covers and song lyrics for clues about the mystery of whether or not the real Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by someone else, Glazier said.
The cover of the album “Abbey Road” started the rumor, Glazier said. People believed that other band members were pictured out-of-focus while Paul McCartney was not, for a reason. Fans even played Beatles songs backward searching for messages hinting to McCartney’s death.
Marking McCartney’s 70th birthday on Monday, this event is the only one in Delaware celebrating the singer’s birthday, he said.
Glazier will give an hour-long PowerPoint presentation starting at 1 p.m. He said he will show the most obvious clues, and play the obvious sound-clip clues to the audience, while keeping his opinions to himself and letting the audience members come to their own conclusions, he said.
“My opinion is really irrelevant,” he said. “I’ve given the talk so many times, and each audience has given me so many views, I haven’t made up my mind.”
As a member of the Delaware Humanities Forum, which sponsors speakers, Glazier said he is used to giving three-hour lectures on the topic. Besides discussing the rumors of McCartney’s death, Glazier also speaks on the historical impact of The Beatles, a speech he gave at Newark Free Library last fall.
Glazier began sharing his interest in Paul McCartney’s “death” as an avid letter to the editor of a Beatles fan magazine called Strawberry Fields Forever. The magazine sponsored a convention in Boston in 1976, and asked Glazier to speak to 1,200 people on the topic.
Other convention organizers saw Glazier’s speech and continually requested him to speak. They included organizers of the International Beatles Convention in Liverpool, England, who booked him three times.
“I go to Liverpool and I tell them for an hour or so that their favorite son is dead,” Glazier said. “None of them believe me but they enjoy hearing the story.”
He said one time Paul McCartney’s cousin, singer Kate Robbins, was in the audience and shared her views on his speech.
“She said ‘I don’t believe a single word, but it’s very brilliant,’” Glazier said.
Glazier is a retired public-school teacher of the Colonial School District who has taught at Dickinson High School and Gunning Bedford Middle School.
He said he has given his speech at many schools, and in May alone gave four presentations on “Is Paul McCartney Dead?” in local schools. He said the teachers love it because it teaches the students to think about song lyrics.
“If I’ve convinced you, then just re-think everything,” Glazier said. “If I haven’t convinced you, then you can be happy that your Paul is alive.”
IF YOU GO
Joel Glazier will present “Is Paul McCartney Dead?” at Newark Free Library, 750 Library Ave., at 1 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.