Rock and Roll & the Occult

Hosted byGeorge Noory

Rock and Roll & the Occult

About the show

Writer Peter Bebergal discussed the connection between rock and roll and the mysterious world of the occult as seen in lyrics, performances and album covers. He opined that the essential driving force behind the early popularity of rock and roll was the act of rebellion against societal and social norms. To that end, Bebergal said, "young people were looking away from mainstream religion to find a spiritual solution to what they saw as a chaotic world." He observed that this concept can be seen in the music of the 1960's that embraced Eastern philosophies and "pre-Christian values around nature." As the promise of that decade gave way to disappointment, he said, a darker perspective, which embraced the paranormal and the occult, emerged during the 1970's.

Bebergal credited Led Zeppelin and David Bowie for being artists who realized how rock music could be enhanced by embracing the mystery of the occult. Specifically, he pointed to Jimmy Page promoting the writings and work of Aleister Crowley as a way of raising the mystique of Led Zeppelin as an "occult band." In modern times, Bebergal suggested that successful musicians have continued to use the occult as a way of piquing the interest of the public and cited Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show that "looked like an Egyptian mystery cult initiation." Additionally, he noted that many popular hip hop artists have utilized Masonic symbology to generate discussion amongst their fans much like their predecessors from the 1960's and 70's featured similarly cryptic messages in album covers and song lyrics.

Open Lines

During Open Lines, Jalvez in Colorado shared a tale from his childhood involving dark forces and popular music. Back in 1981, he said, the youth pastor at his church brought in a recording of the song 'Stairway to Heaven' and claimed that playing it backwards would produce spirits. After having the children pray to protect themselves, the pastor first played the song as it is normally heard and then switched to the reversed version. Initially skeptical of backmasking in popular music, Jalvez was stunned when he heard sinister voices in the recording. "It was like people in hell screaming," he recalled, noting that his pastor would later warn the children that many rock artists use such techniques to gain favor with sinister forces to help their careers.

Later in the program, Kyle in California recounted a bizarre story which befell his grandmother a few years ago while traveling to Canada via train. During the trip, the conductor stopped the train, announced that there was a problem, and two federal agents came aboard to remove a pair of passengers. The conductor then warned everyone that the power would soon go out and all electronics on the train subsequently ceased to function, including the woman's hearing aide. From her seat, she spied the agents vigorously questioning and searching the men until they ultimately led them away to an unknown destination. Shortly thereafter, the power resumed and "the train just rolled away."

News segment guests: Steve "Dr. Sky" Kates & Peter Davenport


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