Rock Music and the Devil

Before Black Sabbath made their accusations about Old Nick famous, jazz musicians had to endure accusations that their music was the “Devil’s music”. Jelly Roll Morton was often singled out, though this criticism applied equally to blues, rock & roll, heavy metal and other forms of popular music.

Christian theology portrays Satan as an agent of temptation that promotes moral degradation; these genres’ provocative, taboo-breaking music often elicited negative responses from conservative societal groups.

The Blues

The Devil has long been an influence on blues songs, from Robert Johnson’s encounter at the crossroads with Satan to modern depictions such as Black Sabbath’s artwork for their song ‘Devil Woman’ by depicting him as a dark angel, Satan has long fascinated musicians and inspired their creativity across musical genres such as folk songs, reggae, disco and even modern rock (with its use of synthesizers and computers).

Some artists have used Satanic words and supernatural imagery in their music to increase its impact, such as Skip James in his song ‘Devil Got My Woman.’ Others such as Gene Simmons and LL Cool J have employed such imagery during stage shows; there have even been claims that bands may have concealed hidden messages within their songs that only become evident when played backwards.

Due to its associations with depression and despair, blues is an especially effective vehicle for Satanic worship. This may be related to its roots in African-American spiritualities that incorporate elements of magick, sorcery and witchcraft into its music.

Another factor contributing to its appeal is that blues has its own special harmonic structure. While most other popular music has a I-IV-V progression, blues songs include an extended dominant seventh chord that can often be found in Satanic hymns and prayers.

While some believe the Devil to be at the core of all musical forms, more likely it is the Blues that lies at its foundations – with Satan simply serving as a metaphor for expressing oneself musically and finding expression through other music styles. Thus he plays his part in rock and roll’s evolution; we encourage you to read up on its history for yourself! For further reading on this subject, Paul Oliver’s ‘The Meaning of the Blues’ would provide ample background material.

The 1950s

Rock music‘s rise out of blues was linked with virtually every social problem imaginable, including teenage violence, drinking, drugs use and sex use. Furthermore, rock music was seen as contributing to moral decay and anti-establishment sentiment; religious and conservative communities denounced it as the “Devil’s music.”

Rock ‘n’ roll had an enormous influence on youth culture, which was marked by rebellion against authority figures and breaking with traditional norms. Teenagers craved excitement and rock songs’ lyrics were often sexually suggestive – further increasing perceptions of immorality among society at large.

In the 1950s, some blues musicians exploited their connection with Satan by using Satanic imagery such as depictions of devil’s head and tail on guitars to promote their brand of rock music and sing songs about Satan like Skip James’ “Devil Got My Woman”. There is even speculation that one theory holds that Eagles is actually an anagram for “devil’s head and tail.”

At its height during rock’s golden era in the 1960s, sex and drugs became an everyday part of society. Many rock bands such as The Beatles and Slayer were accused of practising Satanism; some were even banned from performing in certain cities such as Boston. This controversy arose from band members using pentagrams and inverted crosses on their albums to boost sales.

Through the 1970s, rock bands continued to incorporate occult symbols. This gave rise to various conspiracy theories suggesting some bands were intentionally hiding secret Satanic messages within their music that could only be revealed when played backwards – claims often leveled at ELO, Slayer, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath artists like ELO, Slayer, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath in particular; yet these claims could never be proven and ultimately these bands never intended indoctrinating fans into Church of Satan; instead their intention was more shocking audiences; many of their hits continue playing today despite claims otherwise; so when someone refers to rock music as being “devil’s music,” remember it’s just blues played by white people – no different from anything else you might encounter!

Heavy Metal

Heavy metal has long had an affinity for all things dark supernatural, yet in heavy metal this fascination reached a peak. Album covers often feature 666, pentagrams, inverted crosses and other symbols associated with the occult; song lyrics often contain references to Satanism or other spirituality-themed topics; band names often incorporate Christian, Jewish or mystical elements such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest or Marilyn Manson for example.

Although metal was already controversial before, in the 1980s it really came under attack from political and academic groups, as political and academic groups blamed musicians and fans of metal for everything from crime and violence to despondency and suicide. Yet its supporters proved its point that, while critics may see only small signs of its complexity or depth; metal’s exploration of madness and horror has always been more varied and dynamic than they wish to admit.

This debate generated significant publicity, leading many bands to reevaluate their image and imagery. Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne in particular found themselves having to adapt. Many opted for more secular imagery in concerts and videos while there were still Satanic imagery found throughout. Concertgoers could still be seen flashing the “devil horns” hand gesture made famous by Ronnie James Dio.

At this point, “Satanic Panic” became part of popular parlance, as media, parents, and concerned citizens began associating metal music with everything from drug abuse to sexual misconduct and murder. Marilyn Manson being part of the Church of Satan only further fuelled such fears; when Columbine occurred metal was quickly blamed as well.

At its heart, Satanic Panic of the 1980s eventually dissipated as metal critics began to recognize that Satan represents more than an apocalyptic figure in a metal song; he’s an embodiment of anger, hatred, greed, and power hunger that so many feel. Luckily for metal music itself, however, this was not seen as its death knell; millions continue to enjoy its music across the globe.

The 1990s

Motley Crue, Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath made it their goal to craft music that emulated horror movie soundtracks in order to produce frightening or provocative pieces in this vein. The end product was often dark, heavy and explicitly satanic – sparking moral panic with Satan lurking around every corner and ritual devil worshippers ravaging streets and slaughtering innocent people. Religionists and parents at the time were understandably concerned over this situation, which was compounded by the dramatic Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) list known as the Filthy Fifteen which identified fifteen songs with purported sexual, pro-drug or occult themes as being offensive to society.

In the 1990s, metal bands went one step further in exploring Satanic music than blues musicians did in the 1950s. One extreme subgenre called Black Metal has long been known for incorporating pentagrams and inverted crosses into its imagery, while Slayer once even refered to itself as being “warriors from Hell”.

As our world deteriorates, musicians were inspired to use evil as a theme in their music more freely than ever before. There have been claims that certain musicians secrete Satanic messages into their work which can only be decoded when played backwards; conspiracy theorists especially love this theory – ELO, Slayer and Judas Priest have been accused of this tactic, while accusations have even been leveled at The Rolling Stones with their classic song Sympathy For The Devil as possible culprits.

Though rock music may be drawn to the subject matter, one aspect is not appropriate: naked girls gyrating around with heavy makeup on and in provocative clothing. Satan may have many sinister motives but rock and roll just isn’t his natural home.