10 Weird Backwards Messages In Rock Songs

Reading between the lines.

Pink Floyd
Harvest Records

The psychedelic movement really did a lot for the rock scene at large. Just as the '60s were about to get underway, these were the kind of songs that could open your mind to the more free spirited side of rock and roll, more often than not informed by taking a looot of drugs. One of the biggest leftovers from that time though was able to play things both backwards and forwards.

Starting with acts like the Summer of Love style bands, there were thousands of acts that were trying to play everything they could backwards to make for something a little bit strange, which turned into something a lot funnier once we got past the Woodstock era. Throughout rock history, there have been rockstars that used the backwards message tactic for both good and evil, looking to make songs that were designed to give you an alternative message or just to screw with your head.

The actual bands of the '60s were certainly not slouches either, and even the original hippies had a few things on their mind when you start running those original backwards recordings the right way around. So you might want to listen closely on this one and hear the strange, outlandish, and often times hilarious things that people were up to when they delved into the world of backmasking.

10. Fire On High - ELO

The entire concept of turning a record backwards takes a lot of time in itself. Before the age of digital, you had to literally try to mess up your record player to make sure that the vinyl could be played backwards so you could hear everything. What's even worse is when you do all that work just for the band to troll you at the end of everything.

At the height of ELO's stardom in the '70s, they were already being hounded for putting satanic messages in their songs, which Jeff Lynne dismissed as being complete "skcollob" (read it backwards and you'll get it). That didn't stop them from actually indulging in some backwards messages at the start of Face the Music, with Fire on High featuring pretty prominent backwards vocals.

But what are they actually saying behind everything? As it turns out, the entire backwards message is just Jeff and the boys taking the piss, with the lyrics being "the music is reversible, but time is not. Turn back!." If you really think about it, this might be one of the greatest bits of meta commentary that the band could have gotten away with at the time. Since there's already a kickass song playing, this is the best kind of practical joke that teaches you a lesson about paying attention to the music. Because if you don't pay attention the right way around, you're just going to get a waste of time when you try to play it in reverse.

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