10 Songs With Hidden Messages

These classic songs have a bit more to them than meets the eye. The advent of recorded music also meant the ability to backmask — hiding an audio cue through recording tricks embedded within songs. If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite artist was actually saying, read on. Sign in to Rdio to hear the full songs!

1. Franz Ferdinand, “Michael”

Right before the second verse (at 1:33) the garbled voice is a backmasking of the phrase “She’s worried about you, call your mother.” It’s a reference to bassist Bob Hardy being homesick during recording.

2. Oasis, “D’You Know What I Mean?”

Listen closely: the beeping at 1:29 after the line ‘Don’t look back cos you know what you might see’ is an attempt by Noel to say “Bugger All” in morse code — although he’s said in interviews he’s not entirely sure if they got the code right. There’s also some backmasking throughout the song, but especially at the 5:00 mark… they’re saying “All my people right here, right now… d’you know what I mean? Yeah, yeah…”

3. Frank Zappa, “Hot Poop”

A somewhat oddly titled dialogue track called “Hot Poop” appeared on the end of side one of We’re Only In It For The Money (1968), and it contained a hidden message. It’s a lyric that was removed by the label from the original version of “Mother People,” something like “Better look around before you say you don’t care / Shut your f-cking mouth about the length of my hair / How would you survive / If you were alive, / Shitty little person?” Listen for it at 0:15.

4. Pink Floyd, “Empty Spaces”

At 1:15 you can hear a faint backmasking occur. When the record is reversed, it says “Congratulations. You’ve just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the funny farm, Chalfont.” Whether it’s a reference to former Floyd lead singer Syd Barret, or Pink (the main character of the album) is up to you.

5. Prince, “Darling Nikki”

At the end of the song (around 3:40), during the rain sound effects, a weird ethereal chorus begins, but it’s actually a hidden message. It says “Hello, how are you? / Fine, fine / ‘Cause I know that the Lord is coming soon / Coming, coming soon.”

6. Soundgarden, “665”

On Soundgarden’s debut album Ultramega OK, the band has a nefariously titled track called “665.” At first the unintelligible yelping sounds fairly sadistic, but they are actually just parodying the notion of the ‘hidden Satantic message.’ Play it backwards and it says: “Santa, I love you baby / My Christmas king / Santa, you’re my king / I love you, Santa baby / Got what I need.” Just pure evil.

7. Cake, “Jesus Wrote A Blank Check”

At the end of the song after the music stops, the message plays. Spin it backwards and it says “Don’t forget to breathe in.”

8. Mew, “New Terrain”

Mew’s “New Terrain” sounds entirely strange because it’s actually two songs in one. If you play it backwards, it becomes an entirely different song called “Nervous.”

9. Ozzy Osborne, “Bloodbath In Paradise”

This was right after Ozzy and some of his other 80s contemporaries were brought to court for supposedly hiding Satanic messages in their music (most of it was coincidental). If you play the beginning of the song backwards, you can hear him say “Your mother shells whelks in Hull,” a reference to that famous line from The Exorcist and a Northern England fishery town.

10. Weird Al, “I Remember Larry”

Weird Al has poked fun at the back-masking controversy of the 80s in other songs as well, but this is the only one that actually trolls the listener. Play his cryptic notes at 3:09 backwards and Al says “Wow, you must have an awful lot of free time on your hands.”

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