Why Fans Thought 3 Beatles Reunited for a Music Video in 1987
The Beatles had plenty of hits. They even had plenty of hits after they stopped being the Beatles. However, false rumors may have helped one of the Beatles’ post-breakup songs become a hit.
There’s a first time for everything. In the late 1980s, George Harrison wanted the surviving Beatles to reunite for one of his music videos. He lied to make sure everyone thought that happened.
George Harrison wrote a tribute to the Beatles
Aside from the infectious hit “Got My Mind Set on You,” the most famous song from George’s 1987 album Cloud Nine is “When We Was Fab.” “When We Was Fab” is a meditation on the Fab Four’s time together. It features some lyrical references to the Beatles songs. The song’s beat resembles that of “I Am the Walrus.” “When We Was Fab” also has some Indian instrumentation, recalling George’s composition “Within You, Without You.”
By the time Cloud Nine was released, music videos were an essential part of selling pop singles. Videos had to be special to make a song a big hit. The video for “When We Was Fab” was very memorable, both for its actual content and for its rumored content.
The video depicts George with many arms like a Hindu deity. After all, George was a famous convert to Hinduism. The video features a cameo from Ringo Starr and a man in a walrus costume. This was clearly a reference to both “I Am the Walrus” and the walrus in the film Magical Mystery Tour. However, some fans thought there was more to the man in the walrus costume.
Who was the walrus?
John Lennon famously proclaimed himself to be “the walrus” in “I Am the Walrus.” In the later Beatles track “Glass Onion,” John joked “Her’e another clue for you all/The walrus was Paul.” Could the man in the walrus suit from the “When We Was Fab” video be Paul McCartney? Fans were convinced this was the case.
First of all, the walrus in the video played bass, just like Paul. The walrus was also left-handed, just like Paul. Paul even told the BBC he would like to appear in the clip for “When We Was Fab.” Surely, the man in that costume was Paul!
George was asked about this theory in an interview. In response, he quoted “Glass Onion” and said “the walrus was Paul.” He was simply joking. However, fans took his words seriously and rumor persisted the Beatles had reunited – if only for a music video. This miscommunication may have helped the single become a success.
“When We Was Fab” hit number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100. It wasn’t a major hit but it was a big hit in relative terms. Shockingly, only 13 of George’s solo songs managed to reach the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. Compared to many of his contemporaries, George wasn’t a reliable hitmaker. However, he was a reliable innovator.