One of the greatest hoaxes in the history of popular music had its origins in the state of Iowa. Clearly, we all know now that Paul McCartney is alive and well. But for a time many Beatles fans were convinced he was dead, and that was why their beloved band was calling it quits. It was a story whose flames were fanned by a story out of Drake University.

Tim Harper was a journalism student at Drake University and a writer for the Drake Times Delphic. He wrote his story for the newspaper not really believing all the gossip and rumors. The newspaper, however, published a front-page article on September 17th, 1969 that turned idle chatter into global gossip! In fact, Beatles websites and other articles point to Harper's story as the first one published about the Paul is Dead rumors.

Despite his effort is spreading one of the biggest hoaxes in music history, Harper's 15 minutes of fame was short-lived. He traveled to cities like Chicago to do media interviews. Many were shocked to find out he didn't make the rumor up. He was just reporting on what he heard others talking about. Harper describes his part in the Paul is Dead story as "a very minor footnote in the history of rock n' roll."


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