Times Musicians Have Been Accused Of Devil Worship

From a hip-hop power couple to  an iconic ’60s band of mop-tops,   many musicians have been accused of  worshiping Satan. But were they just   trying to sell records? Or is there  some truth buried within the fiction? Now that Lady   Gaga is considered a veteran and darling of  the 21st-century pop firmament, it is perhaps  

Easy to forget that the clean-cut lead of “A  Star is Born” was considered a particularly   risque performer at the start of her career.  Cultivating a freak-art image that culminated   in Gaga donning a dress purportedly crafted from  raw meat to the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010,  

The “Poker Face” singer made a claim for being  one of the strangest pop stars out there. So perhaps it was no surprise that in 2012,   rumors spread that Gaga’s coordinated public  eccentricities had roots in something darker:   blood-thirsty satanism. As reported at the  time by NME, it was rumored that while on  

Tour in the U.K., the pop star had stayed  at London’s Intercontinental Hotel and left   behind evidence of satanic rituals — namely, a  “bath full of blood.” The story was originally   spread by a website called Truthquake,  with a hotel worker reportedly stating:

“Lady Gaga left large amounts of blood in  the suite during a stay this summer. The   incident was reported to the concierge,  who was told to put it out of her mind.” No evidence of Gaga’s occult  leanings was ever presented,   however, and her team quickly refuted  the allegation, which went no further.

In recent years,   it seems the biggest pop stars in the world  have made the conscious choice to adopt satanic   imagery in their live performances. British  singer-songwriter Sam Smith, for example,   drew plenty of attention in 2023 when they  took to the stage at the Grammys to perform  

Their new single “Unholy,” dressed as Satan  with horns emerging from their red top hat. When described in such terms, such a  performance doesn’t sound particularly   shocking. But it seems that the combined effect of  the sexualized performance from the queer singer,   as well as cage dancing from their  co-star, Kim Petras, a trans woman,  

Saw Smith draw an angry response from many  prominent online commentators. Conservative   senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Ted  Cruz tweeted: “This…is…evil.” Meanwhile,   other Twitter users described the devilish  show as “satanic” and “a tribute to Satan.”   Such tweets generated thousands of likes  and retweets from horrified viewers. The furor around  

Sam Smith’s 2023 Grammys performance was  reminiscent of that which emerged after   the adoption of Devil imagery by another  chart-topping queer performer: Lil Nas X.   Lil Nas X has a skill when it comes to getting  people talking, with his 2019 smash single,  

“Old Town Road,” generating a huge amount  of discourse from commentators across the   political and cultural spectrum for its catchy  merging of trap and country music. But in 2021,   Lil Nas took things up a level with the release  of “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” the video for  

Which involves the viral rapper descending to hell  on a stripper pole to give a lapdance to Satan. While the blending of erotic, queer, and satanic  imagery drew condemnation from conservatives,   the tension was ratcheted up when the accompanying  merch was announced: 666 pairs of limited edition  

Nike sneakers, each made with a single drop of  human blood. But even those who sought to praise   Lil Nas X for his incredible success in the first  act of his stellar career were seemingly taken   aback by the devil imagery he employed in this  video. Per Rolling Stone, later that year Lil  

Nas began a public feud with the BET Awards after  his team was forced to confirm that the rapper was   not, in fact, a “satanist or devil worshiper”  before his performance at the awards ceremony. “You know I’m keeping the energy positive.” Even veteran pop superstars  

Can sometimes be accused of having an unholy  relationship with the devil himself. In the   last two decades, there has been no bigger  celebrity couple than Jay-Z and Beyoncé,   whose dominance over the world of popular  culture shows no sign of abating. Nevertheless,  

This has not stopped fanciful theories emerging  of a supposed Faustian pact between the ultimate   pop power couple and Lucifer himself … or maybe  it is their incredible success that attracts it? The Carters have long been fodder for Illuminati  conspiracy theorists, with some claiming online  

That the pair exhibit symbols on stage to show  their allegiance to a shadowy cabal, and others   accusing the pair of witchcraft and devil worship.  One example given by music writer Peter Bebergal   is the symbology featured in Jay-Z’s “On To The  Next One” video, which Illuminati hunters have  

Claimed shows the rapper has entered into  a pact with the Masonic demon god Baphomet. The most bizarre piece of “evidence”  circulating on the internet that   supposedly confirms the couple’s links  to hell came with the announcement in   2011 that they were to call their newborn  baby girl “Blue Ivy,” after which rumors  

Spread that the name spelled backward is Latin  for “Lucifer’s Daughter.” The rumor persists   on platforms such as Twitter, though Latin  dictionaries show that this is not the case. It is no surprise that, over the course of a  career spanning more than 50 years, Ozzy Osbourne,  

As frontman of proto-heavy metal rockers Black  Sabbath, has perpetually been associated with   satanism and devil worship. The Birmingham, U.K.  band caused controversy right from the start,   with references to the devil, horror-inspired  riffs, and dark cover art featuring ghostly   figures — all of which earned the band an  audience that included many real-life occultists.

Though he was the vocalist, it wasn’t Ozzy  who had penned the lyrics recounting a   devil encounter for their debut’s opening  track, “Black Sabbath.” They were actually   the work of bassist Geezer Butler, who  had at one time been interested in the  

Occult but had abandoned it after reportedly  encountering a ghostly figure in his bedroom. Nevertheless, Ozzy became the poster boy for rock  and roll devil worship during the decades that   followed, an image that proved marketable for  future classic albums such as 1970’s Paranoid.  

He was interviewed during the so-called “satanic  panic” of the 1980s, though his devilish image   has become more ironic in recent years, with  the metal legend jokingly claiming that his   affiliation with Satan was responsible for his  avoiding infection during the Covid-19 pandemic. “I don’t, I don’t want to make anybody to start  

Doing all of this devil worship crap  because that’s not my intention.” Heavy metal is a musical genre   that has long been accused of devil worship, an  association that many bands working in the style   have sought to amplify and capitalize on. The  classic London heavy metal outfit Iron Maiden has  

Been plying their trade for almost half a century  — and, as it turns out, their devilish imagery is   still enough to cause an uproar. Another band that  got caught up in the satanic panic of the 1980s,   Iron Maiden drew much attention from concerned  parents the world over with the release of  

Their breakthrough album, the commercial  smash-hit The Number of the Beast in 1982. “Back in the early 80s there  was a bit of a problems,   especially in the States,  with, uh, devil worship.” As recounted in a recent interview  with the Miami New Times, founder and  

Bandleader Steve Harris found the accusations  of satanism “absolutely hilarious,” adding: “It was so ridiculous we thought  we’d do something ridiculous back.” In response, the band inserted a joke  satanic message on their following record,   Piece of Mind, which could only  be heard when played backward.

The classic rock group Led Zeppelin is famous  for its devoted and cult-like fanbase, who pore   over the symbols on albums such as Led Zeppelin  IV for added clues to the meaning of the music.   As noted by The New Yorker writer James Wood,  worried parents in the 1970s often considered the  

Sound of Zeppelin’s music to be demonic, with the  intensity of the guitar sounds and the frenzied,   pained vocals being a far cry from much of the  music that was heard on the radio at the time. Concern over the true meaning of the band’s  music later mutated into rumors about hellish  

Messages in their most famous songs, notably that  their 1971 classic “Stairway to Heaven” contained   secret satanic messages, such as “my sweet  Satan,” that emerged when the song is played   backward. Though the existence of such messages  is a myth, the truth is that Zeppelin guitarist  

Jimmy Page was certainly interested in the  occult for many years, according to Wood,   so much so that he purchased the home of Golden  Dawn leader Aleister Crowley. Some saw this as   evidence that Page would be attempting to  include satanic utterances in his records,  

But as Page himself argued in an  appearance at the Oxford Union, “It’s hard enough writing the music  one way round, [let alone] backward.” In 1966, a claim by The Beatles star John Lennon  that the band was “more popular than Jesus” caused  

An enormous rift between the Fab Four and  millions of offended Christians. As a result,   many people boycotted the band and publicly  burned their records, forcing Lennon to apologize. “I just said what I said and it  was wrong, or it was taken wrong.”

However, in 2010 news broke that the Liverpool  rockers may finally have earned the forgiveness   of at least one denomination of Christianity. Per  The Guardian, it was announced in the Vatican’s   L’Osservatore Romano newspaper that the  Catholic Church officially excused The  

Beatles for anti-religious comments made by  John Lennon at the height of the band’s fame. More recently, an image has circulated  online that purportedly shows the Fab   Four carrying inverted crosses,  accompanied by a quote said to be   from their press agent which describes the  musicians as openly “Anti-Christ.” However,  

The fact-checking website Snopes has decisively  demonstrated this to be a forgery, doctored   from a photo of the band proudly holding their  Member of the Order of the British Empire medals. Fellow ’60s superstars The Rolling Stones  were some of the earliest musicians to  

Actively encourage their association with  Satan. As described in Far Out magazine,   Stones frontman and lyricist Mick Jagger  reportedly became infatuated with the   devil after reading the satirical Soviet novel The  Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, in which  

A rather charming version of Satan returns to a  corrupt Moscow and plays havoc with the locals. Jagger incorporated Bulgakov’s version of  Satan into his lyrics for the Stones’ hit   “Sympathy For The Devil,” which,  though a timeless classic now,   drew some criticism for the band, not least  from prominent Christian musicians such as  

Carlos Santana. Santana reacted to the  song by telling NME in an interview: “I don’t have no sympathy for the Devil …  The Devil is not Santa Claus. He’s for real.” Some have even suggested that the song is  cursed, and have blamed it for technical  

Failures encountered by the band and their  entourage at the time of composition,   as well as for the fatal disaster at the  Altamont Festival in 1969. While Jagger   has since dropped the satanist imagery that  he continued to turn to during the decade for  

Titles such as 1967’s Their Satanic Majesties  Request, Stones guitarist Keith Richards has   continued to playfully invoke his links to  the underworld, telling Rolling Stone in 2002: “I’ve had very close contact with  Lucifer — I’ve met him several times.” It is perhaps unsurprising that the  much-missed starman David Bowie,  

Who plunged into all kinds of esoteric  subjects to furnish his songwriting,   had several brushes with the occult over the  course of his career. Like many musicians of   his generation, Bowie was keenly interested  in mysticism, with the Kabbalah and the work   of Alistair Crowley featuring in his album  artwork, videos, and lyricism for years,  

As noted by his biographer Peter Doggett in The  Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s. Unfortunately, Bowie’s long-term interest in the  occult coincided with his growing use of cocaine,   which developed into an obsession. According  to the memoirs of his first wife, Angie,  

At one point Bowie was becoming so paranoid  that he had grown certain that Satan himself   was living in his swimming pool. The  addled rock star demanded an exorcism,   which Angie helped to organize. Strangely, Angie  claims that during the ritual, the pool did indeed  

Bubble with no explanation, and a shadow in  the shape of a demon was left on the bottom   of the pool thereafter. She admits, however,  that she too was taking cocaine at the time.

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