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Songs Accused of Satanic Backmasking

The Y! Music Playlist Blog

Backmasking in popular music became infamous in the 1980s when fundamentalist preachers started saying that Satan was speaking to teenagers through subliminal messages hidden in rock music. One only needed to play the record backwards to hear such diabolical ranting as "It's fun to smoke marijuana", "I am Satan", "Serve the beast for money", "I love Satan", "Satan knows I love Him" and who can forget the 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".

There were 3 trains of thought at the time in regard to backmasking in popular music:

1. Satan was using musicians as demonic pawns. The messages were put in the music unwillingly by the devil himself.

2. The musicians were Satan worshipers who purposefully planted the messages into the songs.

3. Hogwash

The controversy instigated teenagers across the country to play their records backwards in search of the next new "Satanic message". Most certainly a boon for the record industry as well as record needle manufactures.

On the not-so-humorous side, the band Judas Priest actually had to defend themselves in court for the suicide pact of Raymond Belknap, 18, and James Vance, 20 in 1985.

Supposedly, the subliminal messages "Try Suicide," "Let's Be Dead," and "Do it, Do it" found on the band's "Stained Class" album drove the youths to put shotguns to their heads and pull the trigger. Not only did the band win the lawsuit, but the case helped set a precedent. Law students study the case to this day in order to help them understand the difference between real science and junk science.

After this all unfolded musicians did what you would expect them to do. They began putting more subliminal messages into their songs on purpose. Sometimes in jest, sometimes as a marketing device and yes, even to glorify the devil.

You can listen to backwards clips and discover more at

The Playlist:

1. Another One Bites The Dust - Queen

2. Empty Spaces - Pink Floyd

3. Fire On High - Electric Light Orchestra

4. Gonna Raise Hell - Cheap Trick 

5. Perfect Sense, Part I - Roger Waters

6. Tops - The Rolling Stones

7. Snowblind - Styx

8. When Electricity Came To Arkansas - Black Oak Arkansas 

9. Darling Nikki - Prince

10. Anthem - Rush

11. No Anchovies, Please - The J. Geils Band

12. Better By You, Better Than Me - Judas Priest 

13. Still Life - Iron Maiden

14. Bloodbath In Paradise - Ozzy Osbourne

15. Down In The Park - Marilyn Manson

16. Azwethinkweiz - Incubus 

17. Metal Health - Quiet Riot

18. Pry, To - Pearl Jam

19. Jesus Wrote A Blank Check - Cake

20. The 4th - Filter 

21. Loser - Beck

22. Lift Your Head Up High (And Blow Your Brains Out) - The Bloodhound Gang

23. Pain Lies On The Riverside - Live

24. Subliminal - They Might Be Giants 

25. Oops!...I Did It Again - Britney Spears

26. Justify My Love - Madonna

27. Beat It - Michael Jackson

28. Do The Dark - Blondie 

29. Final Scream - Grim Reaper

30. Stairway To Heaven (Remastered) - Led Zeppelin

31. Bloodbath In Paradise - Ozzy Osbourne 

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