Stairway to Heaven and other Songs with hidden messages

Im sure many of you have heard songs such as Stairway to Heaven and Another One Bites the Dust have been played backwards revealing hidden messages. Some being intentional and some being intentional. Now Led Zeppelin has claimed that the message in the song is unintetional. But it is understandable that it could be unintentional if it were only a string of words or a sentence, but it is a whole entire paragraph. Now are they lying or not and what makes so many songs played backwards appear to sound like theses bands are talking about satan. For more info

Has anyone any credable evidence for any such hidden messages?

I’ve played Stairway to Heaven backwards. There is no discernable message of any sort, at least none that I could hear.

To start with, it was probably a case of human perception hearing what it wants or expects to hear; in much the same way as we see faces in flickering flames and animal shapes in clouds.

Once it became popular currency that records played backwards contained hidden messages, artists started including them on purpose, but I’m pretty sure the first ones reported are just wishful thinking.

Then there’s this guy, who thinks that *every human utterance contains hidden messages from the speaker’s subconscious, encoded in reverse. Clearly stark raving bonkers.

It isn’t a “whole entire paragraph”. There are a lot of placces in the “paragraph” that really don’t sound anything like what they are purported to be unless you are really letting your imagination twist the sounds into what you think you should be hearing.

I think it’s mostly the power of suggestion. Just like when people see stains or clouds that look like things, they tell other people (“See, then that part sticking out is the nose, and the eyes are up there, see? You do have to use some imagination.”) and the idea becomes increasingly popular.

I had heard that the “Strawberry Fields” backmask was true. I believe John Lennon said the message was “I’m very bored,” while everyone else thought it was “I buried Paul.” That’s the first instance of backward masking that I’ve heard of.

Actually, it wasn’t “I buried Paul” or even “I’m very bored”; it was “Cranberry Sauce”. And it wasn’t reversed either, it was straight forward, right at the end of the song.

The first intentional backwards “message” I’m aware of is in The Beatles’ song Rain; an entire verse is backwards… I’m sure there were others before it, however.

He said “cranberry sauce” forward, or so the story goes.

The Strawberry Fields thing isn’t backwards at all, and the “I’m very bored” bit was a sardonic thing made up after the fact. It’s actually “Cranberry sauce,” which is just as funny.

Making up reverse speech that is bidirectionally coherant and information-bearing is extremely difficult, if not actually impossible.

Back in the early nineties, I set out to do just that, armed with a reel-to-reel and a carefully-prepared chart of phonemes and their reversals. I got pretty good at being able to work out what phrases would be backwards without referring to the chart.

Trying to create disguised backwards speech is another thing altogether.

The best one that I was ever able to come up with is “I’m scary Nevada,” which, played backwards, is “I have an earache – smell.” Oh, and you have to fudge the enunciation a bit to make it work.

It’s nowhere near as easy to do as, say, a textual palindrome. My best effort there: “In Eden, I? Never! Even in Eden, I,” which refers to Nicholas Poussin’s *Shepherds of Arcadia*.

Now, all due respect to Jimmy Page, but there’s no freaking way he could have sat down and worked out lyrics that carry an intended message when played backwards. He just ain’t that smart. (I’d be surprised if anyone managed it.)

Anyway, if you sit down and render that passage’s reversal phonetically, you will see that it simply is not “My Sweet Satan, no other made a path for it makes me sad – whose power is Satan?” Nobody has ever heard that without first being told that that was what they were hearing – except maybe for the lone nutbag that first started sending those photocopied warnings about the supposed satanic conspiracy of backwards messages in the music industry.

previews Missed the gravy boat when it comes to the cranberry sauce, I see. :smiley:

Pink Floyd stuck the following into The Wall :

“Congratulations. You’ve just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the Funny Farmhouse.”

The B-side of “Indian Giver” by The 1910 Fruitgum Co. (Buddha records studio band) was called “Pow Wow,” and was simply the A side reversed in its entirety. I know at least one German beat band did the same with a 45 of theirs, although I don’t remember the title or band at the moment.

I think the point was supposed to be that the reverse speech had been inserted deliberately by mixing down a reversed recording and that this was only properly noticeable when played backwards, as it was just a jumble of noise when played forwards, lost in all the other sounds.

Of course, the doubt still remains as to whether the story is true, but I think the allegation was that it was done more straightforwardly(pun intended) than your method (which, by the way, is fascinating)

See, you can take most any country song, and there is a hidden message:

He sobers up, the wife comes back (and brings the dog with her), his truck runs fine again, and his best friend goes back into jail (where he belongs).

And I say most songs: The ones where his father is his uncle and his sister’s his aunt, well, no amount of backplaying is gonna fix that one. :smack:

ELO did a backwards recording on “Fire on High” from Face the Music, but it wasn’t “masked”. They were accused of masking (something like, “Jesus is the nasty one”, or some such crap).

Jeff Lynne responded by releasing Secret Messages.

It featured such gems as “You’re playing me backwards.”

Funny, I heard it as “…care of the Funny Farm, Chelsea…” (Chelsea is a town in England.)

If it was lost in all the other sounds forwards, wouldn’t it be similarly lost backwards? OK, maybe not, but it would still be difficult to hear and you would still have to interpret what you were hearing, leading to the very problems looking for backmasking always has.

Thus proving that all the bands who have done so did it with help from Satan. :wink:

Before them, it was done by the Yellow Balloon (for “Yellow Balloon”)and Napoleon XIV (with “They’re Coming to Take Me Away.”). I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t the first.

Red Dwarf had an entire episode where most of the dialog ran backwards. Then, they backward masked one sentence so that it would make sense if someone recorded the tape and ran the entire thing backward. The comment was to the effect of “You went to all that trouble to figure this out? What a loser?”

Ah, well that’s easy enough to dismiss out-of-hand as naive nonsense.

It’s just plain impossible to do that. If it’s clear enough to be heard when played backwards, it’s going to be clear enough to hear when played forward – and reversed speech is clearly recognizable as reversed speech. You might just be able to get away with sneaking a backwards sound into something that’s totally cacophonous, but a verse of a song? Forget it.

Both of the examples in the OP are alleged to contain reversed messages in the vocal tracks. If we’re going to talk about the possibility of such a thing being true, the only way for it to be so would be for the vocalist to actually be uttering something that is a phonetic reversal of the “hidden” message.
We should take people who think “backward masking” is an electronic studio technique as seriously as we would someone who claimed that some photographers use clever darkroom techniques to hide steganographic images in their photos that are revealed when the image is viewed in negative. (Does that analogy make sense? If we can see purple in the negative, it’s because we can see green in the positive. Can’t have one without the other.)

Of course, there’s always “They used witchcraft to put the messages there,” as a fallback. :smiley:

(On preview, what Derleth said, only not as succinctly. Teach me to install an air conditioner while I’m posting to the Dope. Focus, lad.) :smack:

I tried playing Stairway to Heaven backwards. The laser refused to read.

Does anyone know who won that Pink Floyd competition and what they won?

I bought The Wall when it first came out and, as I recall, the backwards message became generally known about pretty soon after the album was released - it was mentioned in NME and other music papers. But I never heard who actually won the competition or what they won.

I checked google and found this guy who goes into way too much detail without telling me the answer to my question.

Oh and Chelsea isn’t a town, it’s an area of London. In the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The obvious backward speech said, “The music is reversible but time is not. Turn back…Turn back.” (This is from memory, after more than 20 years, so it may not be perfect.)