Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mop Top

Gavin left the following comment on an old thread:

From John Colapinto's profile of McCartney in the June 4, 2007 New Yorker:

"McCartney's hair, which he admits to dyeing, still falls in bangs over his forehead...."

It's possible Colapinto is a really bad judge of hair, but it is an up-close observation that seems to go against the "Paul is bald" thesis.

Dyeing his hair doesn't preclude McCartney from having a piece as well, of course. Dick Cheney, to take one example, is both bald and gray-haired. I spent some time today looking for photographic evidence that Paul might just live and let dye, hoping to find something showing hair actually coming out of his scalp. In a way, this is unfair, since McCartney has worn his hair over his forehead since about 1962, but George and Ringo used to wear it like that as well, and each managed to pull it back in the Beatles Anthology.

The best photo I found is the one at right, which you can see larger here. It is just possible that a bit of the hair on the right side of McCartney's forehead is attached to his skin. But it also looks to me like there's an unnatural layer of hair over his real hair, further down that side of his face. You make the call.


Gavin said...

I asked my wife (she's met McCartney; I haven't). I should have thought to do that before.

Her emphatic opinion is that he dyes.

She hung out with him one evening circa 1999, after Linda had died but before he hooked up with Heather Mills. His hair at the time looked awful, she reports: gray and generally grannyish. Not a piece, she thinks: if it were, he would have had a much more flattering one.

Not long after, he met Heather Mills and began dyeing his hair (presumably at her behest).

Now, Paul may have lost some or all of his hair in the decade since then. But Anthology was filmed before all of that, circa 1995. So I think all we can conclude from his not touching his hair in that program is that he doesn't like to touch his hair.

I think either he stopped dyeing his hair after Linda passed on, or it got much grayer between age 53 and age 57. But I'm not going to be the guy who does the photo research.

Gavin said...

Also, I agree that photo is suspicious, but I think it's also possible we're seeing a dye job that's growing out and sideburns that never got dyed.

T. Nawrocki said...

OK. I give.

Marshall said...

Someone sort of in the know once told me that Charlton Heston was so protective of his wig secret that when he played someone wearing a toupee, he put a skin wig over his own toupee then let them put on another wig. I only add this because it feels hair-related.

Gavin said...


I tried to answer the question "Which rock stars wear wigs?" for my column a few years back--this conversation reminds me of why I was never able to whip a good answer into shape. Lots of forensic study of photographs, lots of hearsay and speculation that wouldn't pass muster with the legal department, very little facts on the ground other than Elton John. But assuredly, many older rock stars are getting technological help.

T. Nawrocki said...

I remember that after Del Shannon died, the autopsy report (or maybe just the newspaper stories) noted that he was found without his wig on.

That might be the only real evidence we can hope for.

Marshall said...

The day they find me dead (and that'll be Thursday, people, so let's block out some time), they'll find me with both my wig and merkin in place. That's a promise.

Gavin said...

For the record: My wife and I caught 30 seconds of McCartney on the Grammies, and agreed that his current hair looks suspiciously wiglike. He wouldn't be the first guy to lose his hair between age 53 (Anthology) and 66 (now).