Donielle Flynn

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Today is National Backwards Day. In honor, I did some research on songs that have been accused of backward messaging. These are my top 5 songs.

  • Another One Bites the Dust - Queen

    Some religious groups were SURE that Freddie Mercury’s vocals at the end of the song sounded like “It’s fun to smoke marijuana” when played in reverse. My sister had this album and our parents freaked out when they heard about this.

  • Stairway to Heaven - LZ

    Rumors go way back that Jimmy Page was fascinated with the occult.  When he bought famed Satanist, Aleister Crowley’s mansion, people took the rumors next level, saying that Page sold his soul to the devil in exchange for fame.  To boot, an evangelical broadcaster (early 1980’s), went on a rampage, accusing multiple rock bands of hiding evil messages in their songs. Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” was one of the targets. “If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow…” was accused of saying, “Oh here’s to my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan. He will give those with him 666. There was a little tool shed where he made us suffer, sad Satan.”

    Jimmy Page said this of the accusation, “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.”

  • Hotel California - The Eagles

    Rumor has it, if you listen to the opening verse backwards, you could be able to discern the words “Yes, Satan organized his own religion,” but it’s a stretch.

  • Revolution #9 - Beatles

    The White Album, in general, had mad rumors around it. This went hand in hand with the conspiracy theory that Paul McCartney had been killed in a car crash in 1966 and replaced with a double.  The band placed clues to the “truth” in their songs to be found by the “true fans.” The indiscernible words of John Lennon at the end of “I’m So Tired” was heard by some fans as “Paul is a dead man, miss him, miss him, MISS HIM.” But the biggest trip-out comes at the end of “Revolution #9.” The voice repeating “Number nine” throughout the song, in reverse it appears to say “Turn me on, dead man.” But does it?

  • Snowblind - Styx

    This so so messed up. At one point in time, California State Legislature and the Parent Resource Music Center insisted that Styx lyrics contained Satanic backwards messages. Specifically, the line “I try so hard to make it so”  from “Snowblind,” was said to be “Satan move through our voice” when played in reverse. While it’s widely believed that any of this comparison is coincidental, it was used, in the moment, to wage war on a need for stricter warning labels on music.