June Music Geekery – Connections

This is posted for my fellow music geek friends.  Here are my selections since I was unable to attend this month’s gathering.

My selections were more mental connections rather than literal connections, but they mostly involve backmasking, playing music backwards to find hidden messages.

It started earlier in the month when I was cleaning up my hard drive and found the track I had reversed from Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

Pink Floyd – Empty Spaces

In the left channel you were hear some backwards talking.  I discovered this when originally listening to the album when I was  high school.   I had a reel-to-reel tape recorder at the time and I was able to listen to Empty Spaces in reverse.   The sample below has just the left channel isolated.  When I was a kid, I also ran the audio through a graphic equalizer.

Empty Spaces reversed

“Congratulations. You have just discovered the secret message. Send your answer to Old Pink, care of The Funny Farm, Chalford, UK.” Roger Waters is interrupted by a man who says “Roger… Carolyn’s on the phone!”

Old Pink refers to Syd Barrett, an early member of Pink Floyd who had a mental breakdown and left the band.  I came across this song by Syd which lampoons Bob Dylan. It’s interesting when listening to this song, I hear things that remind me of later Pink Floyd albums, long after Syd had left.

Syd Barrett – Bob Dylan Blues

The whole concept of putting backwards messages into music seems to start with The Beatles, although I don’t think they ever intentionally inserted any backwards messages into their music.  It started with the hoax that the original Paul McCartney died in a car accident and was replaced by a look-alike, and there were clues scattered around in the lyrics and album covers.

The Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever

For example at the end of Strawberry Fields, someone says,  in the left channel, “I buried Paul”. (Note the backwards percussion in the left channel at times.)  A DJ at WABC AM in New York broadcasted the following in the middle of the night in 1969 perpetuating the rumor:


As a kid, this whole thing surrounding Paul McCartney’s death was very intriguing and I thought it was all plausible. But now, as I re-examine some of this stuff, I think a lot of people were imagining things (which given the psychedelic culture at the time doesn’t surprise me).

Here are a couple of clips from the Officially Pronounced Dead website which supposedly offer some clues (the site has over 300 clues).

Revolution 9

Forwards: Number nine.
Backwards: Turn me on, dead man.

I’m So Tired

Forwards: Unrecognizable mumbling.
Backwards: Paul is dead man. Miss him, miss him, miss him!

So with everybody hunting for clues and playing music backwards, musicians started inserting backwards messages in their music.  In 1975, Electric Light Orchestra inserted a couple of backmasked passages in their Face The Music album.

Electric Light Orchestra – Fire on High

The reversed portion of the song:

Fire On High reversed

“The music is reversible, but time is not.  Turn back, turn back, turn back.”


“The music is reversible, but time does not turn back, turn back, turn back.”

As I was creating this post, I came across this Wikipedia article on backmasking.  Very interesting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *