Tuesday, 8 June 2010
The satanic rites of Jeff Lynne
I’ve loved the Electric Light Orchestra since their 1970’s heyday. At their best, they were a preposterous juggernaut of pop: pompous, ridiculous, brilliant. What I didn’t realise is just how evil they were.
In 1981, Christian DJ Mike Mills threw his best Sunday hat into the debate on so called ‘backmasking’ in rock records (hidden subliminal messages only revealed by playing the records backwards) by providing a comprehensive list of bands actively seeking to corrupt young minds with studio trickery and Satanism. Unbelievably, ELO were on it.
Up until the moment I heard this extract from ‘Hidden and Satanic Messages in Rock Music’, I honestly and genuinely thought that there were only two disturbing things about ELO: their hair, and the fact that prolific serial killer Denis Nilsen strangled one of his victims to death with a headphones cord as the unfortunate man listened to ‘A New World Record’. How could I have been so stupid?
In actual fact, Mills makes a rather pathetic case, as his limited examples are either completely innocuous or quite clearly satirical responses to the debate itself. ELO even called one of their albums ‘Secret Messages’ to extract the piss, which may be sublime, but is hardly subliminal. Ultimately, Mills is reduced to listing song titles that he thinks sound vaguely sinister in order to pad out his wafer thin case. It's rather sad, best summed up by Jeff Lynne’s comment on the controversy: ‘skcollob’.
Even so, beware, casual listener, this is through the looking glass stuff so take care, especially if you’re listening to it on headphones in the flat of a man you’ve just met.
As a bonus, please find attached the Orchestra's mental version of 'In The Hall Of The Mountain King', which almost makes me think Mills might have a point.