This week a nagging conspiracy theory returned, alleging punk-pop star Avril Lavigne was dead, and replaced by a doppelganger way back in 2003. The fetish behind killing off your heroes for macabre effect remains alive and well, apparently.
Dating back decades, these hoaxes have targeted numerous politiciansand stars. Even large conglomerates have gotten in on the act: Sony Music incorrectly tweeted that Britney Spears had perished back in 2016. Lavignes hoax marks further proof these deceptionswill continue.
Going beyond Lavigne, here are sixdead rock stars who remain alive and well.
Day 1 as president they hand you a piece of paper saying
Paul McCartney: Dead
— Fujoshi's Island (@Dauragon) May 14, 2017
1) Alice Cooper
Called the Godfather of Shock Rock and a legendary wild man, Cooper (born Vincent Furnier) was the victim of a satirical Melody Maker magazine obituary, printed in 1973. Because Google hadnt been invented yet, the mock articlecaused enough panic among the Schools Out singers fans that he issued a statement, informing them that Im alive, and drunk as usual.
People are still trying to kill him in spirit, though.
Wtf how is Alice Cooper not dead yet lmao
— whoops (@telethuggin) May 11, 2017
2) Dave Grohl
The Foo Fighters lead singer and former Nirvana drummer felt compelled to address a ridiculous hoax, to rock mag NME in 2006, refuting rumors of his demise. He discussed how he discovered hed left us.
I got a phone message from a friend saying Er I guess Jordyn this is maybe for you. Im so sorry to hear what happened, Grohl told NME. I heard this message and went what the fuck? They were leaving a message on my cell phone saying Im sorry Dave died.
The rumors derived via aheadline from a fake news site—a common modern trick.
3) Willie Nelson
Nelson was so amused by the many death hoaxes over the years, he released a song in April, Still Not Dead,” witha hilarious video—featuring the 84-year-old legend in a Smoke Weed Every Day sweater.
Most recently another fake news outlet, MSMBC, reported that Nelson was found dead in Maui, complete with fake detective quotes like “There was no evidence of drug abuse or alcohol and no signs of foul play.”
4) Fats Domino
This is more of a unique, unintentional hoax, created out of stark realities. The legendary Blueberry Hill singer and pianist was one of the first black crossover American artists, directly influencing the Beatles. Many cite the New Orleans natives 1949 platinum single, The Fat Man, as the first rock ‘n’ roll record, but hed been long forgotten in the mainstream for decades.
In August 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, where Domino and his wife Rosemary live. He had initially stayed back, in part because of his wifes health. After someone found the home without its owners, they spray painted, RIP Fats. You will be missed on the dwelling—causing many to believe he’d passed.However, it was reported days later that Domino had been rescued by the Coast Guard.
Hesubsequently ended up staying with then-LSU star quarterback JaMarcus Russell, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana—who was dating Domino’s granddaughter.
Domino was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2016.
Piano legends Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Brian Auger, 1969 pic.twitter.com/8EYPYaQ32e
— Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) May 18, 2017
5) Axl Rose
Done up as a wildly flagrant cable news-inspiredreport, a 2014 faux headline read, Sources: Guns N’ Roses Frontman Axl Rose Found Dead in West Hollywood Home at Age 52.
Because Google did exist in 2014, the rumor was vanquished by Rose fans overnight. The official Guns N’ Roses Facebook page also provided proof of life.
Rose, of course, hasnt passed over. In fact, he wondered about his after-death monetary commitments to the United States government.
If I'm dead do I still have to pay taxes?
— Axl Rose (@axlrose) December 4, 2014
6) Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney is the owner of the best-known hoax and unfortunate Lavigne analog:He allegedly died in a car accident in 1966,and was subsequently replaced by a doppelganger—a man named Billy Shepherd, frontman of Billy Pepper andthe Pepperpots. The rumors circulated as the Beatles’ fracturing personal relationships became public. The hoax gained steam in 1969 thanks to aDrake University newspaper article, which was propagated by a local radio DJ. In just a few weeks, it had spread across the globe.
Suggestive clues included McCartneywalking shoeless and off step on the Abbey Road cover, from which the group-walk was also stretched to interpret a hidden funeral procession. Apparently if you spin back Revolution 9 from the White Album, and really squeeze your ears, youll hear “turn me on, dead man.”
Even today, there are a handful of sites continuing to proclaim McCartney dead, including one attached to a film about the incident.
Though we have the benefit of the internet, hoaxes will likely never end—someone will always believe.