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Does the song Stairway to Heaven contain Satanic messages?

Oh here's to my sweet Satan.
The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan.
He will give those with him 666.
There was a little tool shed where he made us suffer, sad Satan.[1]

Personally, I couldn't really discern any of those words until I listened a few times.

The band, however, denies this claim.

Led Zeppelin audio engineer Eddie Kramer called the allegations "totally and utterly ridiculous. Why would they want to spend so much studio time doing something so dumb?" [Davis, Stephen. The Hammer of the Gods (1985) p. 335]

Robert Plant expressed frustration with the accusations in a 1983 interview in Musician magazine: "To me it's very sad, because 'Stairway to Heaven' was written with every best intention, and as far as reversing tapes and putting messages on the end, that's not my idea of making music."[2]

  • Hi, we cannot really address "motivation" questions. I've reworded yours to make it answerable :-) – Sklivvz Dec 23 '11 at 9:54
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    What we can unanimously agree on, though, is that if you are making the effort, "There was a little tool shed where he made us suffer, sad Satan" is a terrible piece of lyric. Suspiciously pareidoliaesque wording. – David Hedlund Dec 23 '11 at 12:48
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    possible duplicate of Backwards masking in music – Sam I Am Dec 23 '11 at 14:45
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    The supposed "messages" in the reverse are illusions. We are pattern seeking animals, and if you try to find patterns hard enough, you will. Michael Shermer did a very good demonstration of this in his 2008 TED talk. It begins at 9 minutes, and it uses exactly the same song you asked as an example. – Adamsan Dec 30 '11 at 15:14
  • Simon Singh nails this one. Pretty sure it's still on youtube. – Monkey Tuesday Jan 5 '12 at 0:12
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I strongly suspect they didn't add a message on purpose:

  1. They say so clearly in your quote. Why would they lie? There are many bands who play Satanic rock with Satanic lyrics, all in the open. There is no reason for Led Zeppelin to lie!

  2. Pareidolia need to be accounted for. A serious study of back masking and pareidolia was performed in the early 80's and thoroughly debunked it[1].

  3. Even the proposed lyrics don't really mean much: "whose power is Satan"? "He will give those with him 666"? I would expect a Satanic message to at least mean something and to be grammatically correct...

  4. When Led Zeppelin wanted to speak about a controversial subject, they did so by using metaphor and double meaning, not by using back masking.

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    Why would they lie? The allegation is the messages were meant to be subliminal, not overt. – Sam I Am Dec 23 '11 at 15:32
  • @SamIAm it wouldn't change the nature of the messages - and also, if subliminal messages worked (which they don't), they would still work if you knew they were there. They would still remain imperceptible... – Sklivvz Dec 23 '11 at 17:08
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    @Sklivvz don't you say all the time that answers must be be backed by sources and that there is no place for personal opinions? Can you please link the source where it backs that they don't have a reason to lie? – isJustMe Dec 23 '11 at 19:09
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    @Rafael.IT It proves that there are bands whose message is openly Satanic. Why hide it, if it is tolerated? – Sklivvz Dec 23 '11 at 23:47
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    @Rafael.IT: not a very smart subliminal message if you have to reverse the tape to hear it... – nico Dec 30 '11 at 18:10
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Researching this a few years back I came across a site which demonstrated that in most cases like this, you can only hear these lyrics if prompted with them in advance. Otherwise you just hear gibberish or some other 'my brain trying to make sense of this' words.

http://jeffmilner.com/backmasking/index.html

  • I also saw that website, however it does not "demonstrate" anything. – Sklivvz Jan 3 '12 at 10:44

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