I came of age in the seventies. So, I am a baby boomer from the latter half of the generation. We grew up when Rock and Roll music came into its own. A dominant radio format at the time defining the music for that era was Album Oriented Rock (AOR). These were usually the FM radio stations broadcasting in stereo playing the other songs on a rock album; the ones that music companies did not release as singles but were even better. For example, I love the single Carry on Wayward Son released from the Leftoverture Album of Kansas. I think Miracles Out of Nowhere is even better but that was not released as a single. If those stations did play the pop singles, then it was the longer album version rather than the shorter heard on top 40 radio.
The album-oriented format was so called because DJs actually played a track or more from albums which today we call vinyl. I used to go up to the fiftieth floor of the Prudential Tower in Boston and watch the WBCN DJs take an album from the record library behind them, cue it up on the turn table and then after explaining what listeners just heard and what they are about to hear in that soft FM voice, they would hit the button. The turn table would spin as the needle sent the music to the board and out over the air.
Later in college at UMass Boston, I was the DJ who played the albums on WUMB-AM which was the internal radio station at the University of Massachusetts/Boston.
Backmasking and Satanic Influence Claims
Back then Rock and Roll in all its forms suffered condemnation by religious figures for being homages to Satan. Claims were that rock musicians put secret backward messages in their music that would enter your mind subliminally and take you under some spiritual control or make you do things that you normally would not.
The one song they said was the most evil was, of course, Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin which became a rock anthem for our generation. Supposedly, the music had an homage to Satan if you played it backward. I refuse to accept this premise but not because I just don’t believe it. A friend and I did an experiment at the studios of WUMB one night where we tried pronouncing words backwards, to see if they came out forward if the tape was turned around. In fact, they…