Evidence and clues indicate that James Paul McCartney, the original Beatle was gone by late summer 1966. In Paul is Dead lore, the date of his death is thought to be either September 11, 1966 or November 9, 1966. For many reasons, Nov. 9 appears to be too late in the timeline. At any rate, Beatle Paul was definitely gone by Christmas 1966. One of the many anomalies that pops up in this time frame is the radical departure in Beatles' Christmas messages from the past.
“The Beatles’ 1966 Christmas Fan Club offering, Pantomime - Everywhere It’s Christmas, marks a drastic turn in their holiday recordings... Several aspects of the 1966 recording set it apart from the Christmas messages that preceded it. First, the Beatles do not provide a direct spoken message to the fans in their usual roles as band members, nor do they reflect on the events of 1966... Rather, they choose to take on alternate roles as character actors in a recording inspired by pantomime... Second, rather than simply parodying folk songs and Christmas favorites, Pantomime includes, for the first time, original compositions... Third, McCartney created a psychedelic, hand-painted, full-color illustration especially for the disc sleeve, which stands in stark contrast to the black and white band photos that adorned previous Fan Club discs (Spizer 329)."
New Critical Perspectives on the Beatles: Things We Said Today
Edited by Kenneth Womack, Katie Kapurch, p. 166
Beatles Christmas 1966 - Pantomime (Everywhere It's Christmas)
Other indications that James Paul McCartney died and was replaced are biometrics and voice prints.
The Beatles - Christmas Record 1968
John Lennon asks, "Are you Faul?" at 1:10:
The answer is "Yes!"
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