The first known printing of this urban legend was in the Drake University paper, the Times-Delphic, on September 17, 1969. The rumours surrounding McCartney began in earnest on October 12, 1969, when someone telephoned Russ Gibb (a radio DJ on WKNR-FM in Dearborn, Michigan serving the Detroit market). Identifying himself as 'Tom'(allegedly Tom Zarski of Eastern Michigan University), the caller announced that McCartney was dead. (via wikipedia)No matter how often the Beatles repudiated the rumor, no matter how often Paul appeared in public and sang, the rumors persisted. Today, I think most people believe Paul is alive. Still.
The modern day version of a silly rumor that won't quit is perpetrated by the birthers, who insist on pushing their theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and, therefore, is not qualified to be President of the United States. It doesn't matter how often their silly stories are debunked, actual people who have been elected to Congress and others, who are supposedly credentialed journalists, push this nonsense. And it would be funny if they were making up stories about a rock musician but instead they are taking away from serious discussion about how to improve health care, how to fix the economy and how to end wars. And they need to stop. I find myself reading the news and yelling, "Grow up and stop playing around or pretty soon some one's gonna lose an eye."