TV Legends Revealed | What Message Did Paul McCartney Hide in a 'Simpsons' Episode?

TV URBAN LEGEND: Paul McCartney had a hidden message in an episode of “The Simpsons.”

As we’ve noted a few times over the years, sometimes the producers of “The Simpsons” have trouble with the celebrities who guest star on the series. Whether it’s dialogue (like Justin Timberlake), script issues (like Johnny Carson) or simply general weirdness (like Michael Jackson), working with celebrities was often a pain for the production staff.

However, legendary musician Paul McCartney made just one notable demand when he appeared in the Season 7 episode "Lisa the Vegetarian,” which dealt with the eldest Simpson daughter’s decision to give up meat. Asked to appear in the episode, McCartney, a well-known vegetarian, agreed, on one condition: that Lisa's vegetarianism wouldn’t be a one-off gag. Lisa has been a vegetarian ever since. Besides that small request, McCartney was game for pretty much anything the writers came up with, including an amusing “Simpsons”-style twist on the all of the rumors of hidden messages in Beatles songs.

McCartney was actually the last living member of the Beatles to appear on “The Simpsons,” as Ringo Starr was the central figure of 1991's "Brush With Greatness" and George Harrison (who passed away in 2001) made a hilarious cameo in 1993's "Homer's Barbershop Quartet." McCartney's then-wife Linda (who passed away in 1998) also guest-starred in “Lisa the Vegetarian,” noting at the time that they loved the chance "to spread the vegetarian word to a wider audience."

One of the most famous myths that followed the Beatles around during the 1960s was that Paul McCartney died and was replaced by a look-alike. People found “proof” all over the place, from the cover of 1969's “Abbey Road” (he’s not wearing shoes and is walking out of step) to the “fact” that if you played “Revolution #9″ on 1968's “The White Album” backward, you would hear a clue to Paul being dead (the claim is that you could hear the phrase, "turn me on, dead man," which, of course, simply HAD to mean McCartney was dead).

So in the episode, McCartney makes fun of that myth by telling Lisa, "Linda and I both feel strongly about animal rights. In fact, if you play 'Maybe I’m Amazed' backwards, you’ll hear a recipe for a really ripping lentil soup." "Maybe I'm Amazed" was a love song McCartney wrote for Linda that appeared on his 1970 solo album “McCartney.”

But amusingly enough, over the closing credits, that's exactly what happened! The show’s producers had McCartney record the recipe and then they placed the reversed recipe into a recording of "Maybe I'm Amazed." Here is the recipe:

– one medium onion, chopped– two tablespoons of vegetable oil– one clove of garlic, crushed– one cup of carrots, chopped– two sticks of celery, chopped– half a cup of lentils– one bay leaf– one tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley– salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste– two and a quarter cups of vegetable stock or water

In one last gag, there’s a final hidden message by McCartney after the recipe where he says, "Oh, and by the way, I'm alive."


The legend is...


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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