Saturday February 10th marked the 40th anniversary of classic Judas Priest album Stained Class. The album itself was very influential early metal, but gained infamy outside of it’s niche audience due to a single song on the album.
Better By You Better Than Me, became an early example of the now tired trend of blaming violent actions on subliminal messaging hidden in Metal music. In 1985 (7 years after Stained Class was released) two young men attempted suicide by shooting themselves, one of them survived. When the question was raised as to why they would do such a thing, the answer was that they were fans of Metal music and the song Better by you Better than Me has a hidden message in it that can only be heard when played backwards. Supposedly the phrase “Do It” is repeated several times in the song if listened too backwards. Now if that just sounds like some crazy conspiracy theory….. you’re right, but it was a crazy theory that had the support of actual doctors and Judas Priest actually had to go to court to defend themselves and their music. Ultimately the case was reluctantly dismissed by the judge, but you know what the dumbest part of this is? Judas Priest didn’t even write that song! Better by you Better than Me is a remake of a song by the same name, originally written and recorded by Spooky Tooth!
Years later Metal artists were still getting accused of promoting violent actions through their music, such as the case of Marilyn Mason with the Columbine tragedy. Never has one of these cases lead to a conviction, but if you need more proof I’ve embedded a link to a Nelly Furtado song where she repeats the phrase “Do It” many times and you don’t even need to listen too it backwards to hear! Listen at your own risk folks.