Russ Gibb

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Russ Gibb (June 15, 1931[1] – April 30, 2019) was an American concert promoter, and media personality from Dearborn, Michigan, best known for his role in the "Paul is dead" phenomenon, a story he broke as a disc jockey on radio station WKNR-FM in Detroit.[2]


In 1965-66 Gibb was hired by The Methodist Church to host Night Call on the Mutual Broadcasting Network. Around this time he also hosted Cross Country Checkup a Canadian national call in talk show from Montreal.[citation needed]

He returned to teaching[when?] and spent over 20 years teaching video and media production at Dearborn High School, which spawned the cable video show Back Porch Video.

"Paul is dead"[edit]

On October 12, 1969, a caller to Detroit radio station WKNR-FM told disc jockey Russ Gibb about the rumor and its clues. Gibb and other callers then discussed the rumor on the air for the next hour. Two days after the WKNR broadcast, The Michigan Daily published a satirical review of Abbey Road by University of Michigan student Fred LaBour under the headline "McCartney Dead; New Evidence Brought to Light".[3] It identified various clues to McCartney's death on Beatles album covers, including new clues from the just-released Abbey Road LP. As LaBour had invented many of the clues, he was astonished when the story was picked up by newspapers across the United States.[4] Gibb further fueled the rumor with a special two-hour program on the subject, "The Beatle Plot", which aired on October 19, 1969, and in the years since on Detroit radio.[citation needed]

Business ventures[edit]

Gibb operated the Grande Ballroom in Detroit,[1] and was a major player in the late 1960s and early 1970s Detroit music scene. He was instrumental in giving the MC5, Ted Nugent and Iggy Pop their start. The Grande Ballroom also was where The Who played their rock opera, Tommy, for the first time in the United States.[citation needed] Gibb also owned or leased other live music venues around the Midwest including the Eastown Theatre, Michigan Theater (where the New York Dolls played), and the Birmingham Palladium. He expanded his music endeavors when he invested in Creem magazine.[citation needed]

Gibb bought the Dearborn, Michigan; Wayne, Michigan; and Grosse Pointe, Michigan cable licenses in the late 1970s.[citation needed]

Social causes[edit]

During the administration of Gerald Ford he worked under Senator John Warner on the United States Bicentennial Commission as the National Director of Youth and Education.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Russ Gibb Remembered - The Grande Ballroom". Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Russ Gibb talks about Paul McCartney and the famous 'Paul is Dead' rumor". Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  3. ^ LaBour, Fred. "McCartney Dead; New Evidence Brought to Light" The Michigan Daily 14 October 1969: 2
  4. ^ Glenn, Allen (11 November 2009). "Paul is dead (said Fred)". Michigan Today. University of Michigan. Archived from the original on 28 December 2010.


  • Andru J. Reeve. Turn Me On, Dead Man (2004) ISBN 1-4184-8294-3
  • David A. Carson. Grit, Noise, and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n' Roll (2006) ISBN 0-472-03190-2
  • Tom Wright. Roadwork: Rock and Roll Turned Inside Out (2007) ISBN 1423413008

External links[edit]