Hidden Messages in Music | BackMasking
Feb 28th 2010 Patrick Saad Miscellaneous What do you think?

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Check this related article first | Heavy Metal Encourages Teen Suicide?

Definition (from Wikipedia): “BackMasking is a recording technique in which a sound or message is recorded backward onto a track that is meant to be played forward.”

In the beginning, the general public feared these so called ‘hidden messages’ for they imagined an ability to reach the listener’s subconscious and affect their behavior and actions. The media world suddenly appeared as this giant brainwashing forefront that was blocking people’s free will and directing them towards bad actions. The “Big Corporations” were having their way with commercials that included hidden messages, but no one could stand up against them of course; but when the music industry, especially rock / metal started “messing” with that field, people jumped into an attack mode, blaming music for issues of suicide, violence, etc.

  • Heavy Metal on Trial

On December 23, 1985, after listening to Judas Priest, drinking beer and smoking marijuana, James Vance and Ray Belknap shot themselves in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun. Belknap died instantly while Vance died several years later after 100+ surgeries. Their parents filed a lawsuit against Judas Priest and their record company demanding 6.2$ million dollars and contending that the boys were brainwashed by subliminal messages on a Judas Priest’s “Stained Class” album and specifically the song “Better by You, Better than Me” which the attorneys claimed to have a hidden message “do it that pushed the button for these young men.

Judas Priest Trial

Still, the judge ruled in favor of Judas Priest since it’s clear that the boys’ past was already violent with tones of personal family issues, etc:

Ray Belknap’s parents split up before he was born. Ray had a police record, had quit high school after two years and used marijuana, hallucinogens and cocaine.

James’ mom used to hit him as a kid, and he grew up and hit her back. He was also a drug addict and abused alcohol on a daily basis.

Many rock bands have used backmasking but that doesn’t mean it affects the listeners in any way. This argument can be supported by simply saying that there are thousands and thousands of rock and metal music fans around the world, and the world have yet to see them all commit suicide. That should be a big evidence right there!

So after noticing the people’s reaction, Rock/Metal bands began to humor the public by inserting messages on purpose just to piss people off.

  • Examples

Pink Floyd – Empty Spaces (“Hello, hunters. Congratulations. You’ve just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the funny farm, Chalfont.” (voice in background) “Roger! Carolyne is on the phone!”)

Tenacious D – Karate (“Eat donkey crap”)

“Weird Al” Yankovic – I Remember Larry (“Wow, you must have an awful lot of free time on your hands”)

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Taste the Pain (“Come again some other day”)

Tool – Intension (“Listen to your mother. Your father is right. Work hard. Stay in school. Listen to your mother. Your father is right. Listen to your mother. Your father is right.”)

The most famous one may just be Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven which Robert Plant commented on:

“I think it just goes to show how sad the world is, that people actually allow themselves to become audiences to other people with nothing better to do. To me it’s very sad, because “Stairway To Heaven” was written with every best intention, and as far as reversing tapes and putting messages on the end, that’s not my idea of making music. It’s really sad. the first time I heard it was early in the morning when I was living at home, and I heard it on a news program. I was absolutely drained all day. I walked around, and I couldn’t actually believe, I couldn’t take people seriously who could come up with sketches like that. There are a lot of people who are making money there, and if that’s the way they need to do it, then do it without my lyrics. I cherish them far too much.”

I encourage you to download Audacity, a free software found online which you can reverse songs and listen to them in that way. Thus, you’ll be able to listen and analyze any song you want to and draw the appropriate conclusions.

  • Conclusion

No matter what’s the “Hidden Message”, it won’t affect the listener in any way! If you want more proof, I have dug out these next examples just to show you that EVERYONE uses “hidden messages still no one gets really affected by them. These next examples might be REAL or MADE-UP but as I said earlier, it wouldn’t matter since it doesn’t do nothing to you!

secret-message-grave1

– For all of you rock/metal haters: here are some commercial artists who have used BackMasking in their songs; Britney Spears (“Sleep with me… I’m not too young”), Chris Rock (“So I’m walkin’ down the street, right? And I saw this prostitute, right? And I said, ‘How much?’ She said, ‘For three hundred dollars, I’ll do anything you want.’ I said, ‘Bitch, paint my house!’)

– For all of you parents / rock-metal haters: here’s the SpongeBob theme song in reverse:

I guess that should do it! I leave you all with this video, hoping that this article was useful for you.

Drop a comment if this article seemed interesting to you and if you have something to share.

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  • hihihi

    amusing

  • Patrick

    Thanks

  • Why is the media still using it if it has no effect ?

  • Jad Joubran

    Well Rami I think they still use it for commercial purposes.
    Take the example of Hotel California… imagine the millions of albums sold because of its subliminal messages

  • ma7fouz

    nice article =)

  • Jad Joubran

    audacity OPEN SOURCE TEJ RASKON KELKON 😛
    fi open source stand bel karaoke night^^ 😛

  • Tino Deeck

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL WAAHAHAHAAHHAAHHAAHAH WTF!! i heard bout all this but AHAHAHHA LOL!! nice one guys i really liked tool’s message kinda…

  • Patrick

    haha thanks Tino 😀
    There are many other funny messages out there but these seemed to fit the article’s purpose