Backmasking: Rock Music and Messages

essay B

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

Backmasking: Between the devil and the media Are you aware of the music nowadays? How does the band affect the lives of young people today? Well, different bands and songs had already flourished in the world. They had grown into new ideas and captured the hearts of the people, especially the teenagers. They sometimes play songs for dancing, singing, recreation or listening. People use them to express feelings and ideas and also a way for them to relax. It is an unavoidable element in everyone’s life.

It has always been a part of every culture, big or small. Music is often a major part of a teenager’s separate world. Most of the young people enjoy listening songs without even recognizing its lyrics as long as they were pleased with its catchy tunes. Music is not usually a danger for teenagers, unless they are not preoccupied with music that has seriously destructive themes like taking alcohol, presenting suicide or getting abused with drugs. It is easy for us to check on songs that contain good and clean messages by just analyzing its lyrics.

However, for many years, there have been rumors that certain songs, speeches, and ads contain hidden messages that can only be heard when played backwards. Some people believed that most of the bands corrupt young people by burying subliminal messages in music. This process is known as backmasking and there is much debate about its existence. Backmasking is a way of reversing an audio that is meant to be played forwards. When the music is played normally, one hears a passage that sounds like gibberish, unclearly word-like, as if it is in another language.

However, when it is played backwards, sometimes clear understandable phrase or sentence is heard wherein the original message was revealed. They ran reel-to-reel tape recorders backwards, but then, digital audio recording has greatly simplified the process. It had first appeared in the late 1960s as a result of an accidental tape mixing error by John Lennon in the Beatles’ song “Rain. ” He realized his mistake, but he continued doing it in. A verbal message is recorded, reversed in direction, and placed on a recorded track.

The Beatles used tapes played backward for musical effects in some of their recordings. One thing is when they theoretically put in backward or subliminal messages announcing Paul McCartney’s death when he was much alive and was clearly intentional. Another thing is when Jimmy Page, the guitarist, is said to have inserted the backward message “here’s to my sweet Satan” into his “Stairway to Heaven” song that seemed to be unintentional for many people. Since then, backmasking has been used all throughout the past four or five decades.

It has been used to display the thoughts of the artists for comedy, censorship, and sometimes just by accident. Today, reversing audio is a popular way to censor explicit words on radios. This technique is often used for aesthetics in order to develop or enhance the message of a song. Stanley Kubrick said that “When you’re composing songs, you’re always looking for new ideas, new sounds. ” One example of this was when the band of Stone Roses had used this technique on their songs, including “Don’t Stop,” “Guernica,” and “Simone,” which in reverse added new vocals.

Through this process, sounds or instrumental audio produce interesting and attractive sound effects. Sometimes, it results to a reverse echo that artists found appealing. This also plays an important role on concerts wherein guitar parts were played live on stage using a backward emulator. Another use of back-masking is for humorous messages. They used this technique to entertain the listeners by hiding its comedic messages through back-masking. One example of this was when Pink Floyd made a back-masked message in his song “Empty Spaces” that resulted to a message “Congratulations.

You have just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the Funny Farm, Chalfont…” The message turned out into a ridiculous stuff which amazed the listeners. Back-masking has also been used to censor words or phrases for clean releases of songs. For example, the word “shit” is resulted into a word “ish” when back masked. In a result of this, “ish” became an alternative word for “shit. ” Through this system, songs would be acceptable in public though in behind of it is a bad message.

This was a common process for some of the recording radios, which would prevent them from prohibiting in releasing songs and so that people would feel safe to listen with their songs. Another use of back-masking is for satanic purposes. This was a common controversy engaged in rock songs and heavy-metal bands. Some of the satanic messages that Robert Radish collected were “It’s fun to smoke marijuana”, “I am Satan”, “Serve the beast for money”, “I love Satan”, “Satan knows I love Him” and the most famous, “Glory, glory to my sweet Satan, there was a little child born, it makes me sad, whose power is Satan”, from Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”.

One of the cases happened regarding this issue was when the heavy rock band of Judas Priest was taken to the court when two of their fans committed suicide after listening to their song. But then, the judge came with a decision that it was impossible to conclude that listening to music would cause fans to kill themselves. There was no such good evidence shown that music had such a power to influence and attract others with a tendency to obtain suicide. And now, satanic back-masking is still an issue if it was done intentionally or unintentionally.

Different accusations have sprouted regarding this issue. One of those was made by various Christian groups who have declared that Satan uses back-masked messages to reign on people’s life without letting them knowing it. Some of the fundamental preachers supported that Satan was speaking to teenagers through subliminal messages hidden in rock music. Teenagers are unaware of this, so they keep rocking on with different songs. Some Christian websites have claimed that back-masking is widely used for satanic purposes.

One of the statements mentioned on their websites was written by Bro. Joe in End Time Links. It says that “The Devil, being acutely aware of this fact, is using Rock music to transmit messages which keep people in bondage to him. Some Rock groups have become open mediums for the Devil and therefore subconsciously receive satanic inspiration for their lyrics and music. ” Another support written in the article of Knowledge of Islam was that “The listener may be unaware that their subconscious mind can pick up and understand the messages… n the long term these can be stored in the subconscious mind and may actually affect the person’s behavior or judgment. In many ways back tracking is a form of hypnotism or brain washing and has the power to be very destructive. ” I had also red an article from the book of Ravaged by the New Age: Satan’s plan to destroy our kids which states that “He thoroughly documents the dangerous, secret messages in kids’ TV shows, cartoons, movies, comic books, fantasy games, toys and even coloring books.

You’ll also discover the demonic designs behind Rock and Roll and the hidden, subliminal messages in Satan’s New Age “mood” music. ” Thirty teenagers in Huntersville, NC, had a record-burning at their church who believed that Satan was possessing the singers and manipulating their voices so that subliminally implanted backward messages could be placed on the record to destroy the youth of America. They believe that Satan himself is inserting back-masked messages while the recording company and band are unaware of this. Not only worldly songs are being back-masked but also Christian songs.

An example of this was a song entitled “Who Am I” which in its normal lyrics states that “Lord, You catch me when I’m falling” and in reverse “Oh father we thank You. ” Another example was a song “Jesus Christ” which states that “Holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty” and in reverse “Yeah, my God loves you. ” A lot of religious groups believe that Satan was using musicians as his demonic pawns. The innocent musicians were Satan’s worshipers who persistently planted the messages into the songs. They began putting more subliminal messages into their songs on purpose.

Besides of the accusations made by various Christian groups, skeptic rumors also flourished and had supported by different people. Some people believed that those back-masked messages were unintentional and made only by wrong perception of a pattern. John Vokey and J. Don Read concluded that if back-masking do really exist, it is still ineffective. People had difficulty in figuring back-masked phrases. We were unable to determine whether the messages are religious or satanic. This was because we were not exposed with the back-masked phrases. Psychology Professor Mark D. Allen says that “delivering subliminal messages via backward masking is totally and ridiculously impossible. ”

They believed that songwriter cannot write lyrics that scan forward and backwards and the brain cannot comprehend backward messages. Figuring out Satanic messages was caused by the observer-expectancy effect. The Skeptic’s dictionary states that “you probably won’t hear back-masked messages until somebody first points them out to you. Perception is influenced by expectation and expectation is affected by what others prime you for. ” In 1984, S. B. Thorne and P.

Himelstein said that “when vague and unfamiliar stimuli are presented, test subjects are highly likely to accept suggestions, particularly when the suggestions are presented by someone with prestige and authority. ” What they are trying to say is that our brain needs to look for recognizable or familiar patterns in order to understand back-masked messages. There are certain meaning for each patterns formed on various songs. And these patterns were used to identify the hidden messages. Messages such as “My sweet Satan” or “Kill yourself,” “it’s fun to smoke marijuana,” or “sleep with me, I’m not too young” were due to patterns formed.

Of course, you probably can’t determine these messages unless somebody first points them out to you. Perception is influenced by expectation and expectation is affected by what others prime you for. Since most of the people are unaware of listening to their music backward, there were two controversial concepts that have been made. Either jumbled words, whose meaning is grasped, influenced the brain subliminally or it is the brain who translates clear messages into reverse phrase. In either case, the unconscious mind evidently then directs the conscious mind to believe on bad things or do bad deeds.

But there is no evidence that such mechanisms exist. According to the book of The Emerging Generation, “The average teenager consumes 6 hours a day of rock music. It is their most devoted companion. It’s their teacher, preacher, and guiding light. It dictates every detail of their life — from what they wear to what they believe. ” Dr. Alan Bloom, in The Closing of the American Mind, writes “It is their passion; nothing else excites them as it does; they cannot take seriously anything alien to music. ” Homosexual rock star, David Bowie in Rolling Stone magazine surprised the music world, when he stated “Rock has always been THE DEVIL’S MUSIC . . I believe rock and roll is dangerous . . . I feel we’re only heralding SOMETHING EVEN DARKER THAN OURSELVES. ” Studies taken by the Georgia Police Academy exposed that 90% of those involved in Satanism are teenagers. Back-masking intrigued the fans, psychologists, preachers, skeptics, musicians and others for decades. There are hundreds of back-masked songs out there and many are yet to be discovered. The intention of these secret messages had ranged from comedic purpose to satanic. The fact is that many of these backwards recordings are merely a coincidence and were never planned to suggest anything at all.

Most of the band and teenagers are just ignoring this issue. For them, nothing is wrong as long as they know what they are doing. They know to theirselves that they don’t have the ability to write and understand songs in a reversed manner and they don’t have the ability to clean the lyrics when reversed. Their goal is to entertain and enhance their potentials as a musician or a singer. All I can say is that all of us our innocent and victim regarding this issue. We used to listen on our favorite songs repeatedly and analyze its lyrics but we will never know unless we won’t play it backwards.

We have seen that back-masked worldly songs contain destructive themes while back-masked Christian songs retain its real meaning. Satan knows that teenagers loved music. He uses these worldly songs to interact to our minds and alter our behavior by burying subliminal messages on various songs. It is his way to seduce us from different destructive behavior. He corrupts the mind of every young people who our innocent of this matter. He uses his power in which he continually work while bands and young people are enjoying rocking on. This is a dangerous and serious satanic worship — and rock music is filled with it.

We will never know if we choose the right song or not. So for me, we should avoid listening to worldly song to have the assurance that we are safe from Satan’s power. We are God’s sons and daughters, and we are just living on this world for a moment. We should not love and focus on things in this world but love the creator who gave us life. We cannot enjoy this worldly pleasure up to our death. If we accept and love God, we should learn then to give up all this earthly pleasure. Let us be aware on how Satan is trying to capture our minds, hearts and behavior. The facts speak loud and clear. Satan is alive and well.


(Self, T. 2002). Robert altman’s subliminal reality. London: University of Minnesota Press. Zusne, L. ; Jones, W. (1989).

Anomalistic psychology: A study of magical thinking. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Bindas, K. (1992). America’s musical pulse: Popular music in twentieth-century society. London: Praeger. Slade, J. (2001).

Pornography and sexual representation: A reference guide. Volume:2. London: Greenwood Press. Aranze, J. (1992). Backward masking unmasked: Backward satanic messages of rock and roll exposed. US: Vital Issues Pr. Bloom, A. (1987). The closing of the American mind. US: Simon ; Schuster. Anonymous. (2010).

Backmasking. Retrieved October 31,2011 from [http://www. bignerds. com/papers/20956/Backmasking/] DeMain, B. (2011). The Devil Wears Headphones: A Brief History of Backmasking. Retrieved October 31,2011]

Leno, J. (2004). Backmasking on records: Real, or hoax?. Retrieved November 29, 2011 from [http://www. religioustolerance. org/chr_cul5. htm] Watkins T. (2010). Rock Muisc: Devil’s Advocate. Retrieved November 29, 2011 from [http://www. av1611. org/rock. html] Robinson B. A. (2010). Christian Urban Legend.

Retrieved November 29, 2011 from [http://www. religioustolerance. org/chr_cul5. tm] Anonymous. (2003). Backmasking. Retrieved November 29, 2011 from [http://www. mahalo. com/backmasking/] Anonymous. (2009). Backward Satanic Messages. Retrieved November 29, 2011 from [http://www. skepdic. com/backward. html Prince, J. (2004).

End Time Deliverance. Retrieved November 29, 2011 from [http://www. demonbuster. com/] Marrs, T. (n. d. ). Ravaged by the New Age: Satan’s plan to destroy our kids. Retrieved November 29, 2011 from [http://www. biblestudy. org/] Cruz, A. (2011). Listverse: Top 10 Famous Cases of Backmasking. Retrieved November 29, 2011 from [http://listverse. com/2011/08/28/top-10-famous-cases-of-backmasking/]

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member