Playing some of your favourite vinyl records backwards sometimes reveal messages that don’t exactly tell you to keep brushing your teeth, or call your mother. Oh no, dear reader, this is heavy stuff, like we’re all going to hell, or smoke a lot of dope. Not entirely surprisingly, famed occultist and Fundamentalist bugaboo Aleister Crowley is credited with starting the whole thing. In his 1913 essay on meditation, Magick: Book 4, Crowley promoted the idea of “listen[ing] to phonograph records, reversed,” to train one’s brain to think backward.
The Beatles allegedly, used this technique to let the world know Paul McCartney was dead, because, well, I guess they couldn’t do a press release. Jimi Hendrix gave a hint on And the Gods Made Love that he understands…something when he is heard to say “Yes, yes, yes, I get it. Okay, one, okay, one more time.” Electric Light Orchestra on Can’t Get It Out of My Head goes all out and is heard to sing, “Here it comes, another lonely day / Playing the game. I’ll sail away / On a voyage of no return to see” backward and heard “He is the nasty one — Christ you’re infernal — It is said we’re dead men — Everyone who has the mark will live.” OK, then.
The backwards hits just kept coming and being revealed, long after that album was released, too, continuing in the 1980s, thanks to these televangelists.