PARENTS have long suspected that it's the evil, subliminal messages in rock lyrics that make teen-agers act the way they do.
Receiving these messages is not easy. You have to play the record backwards at least 20 or 30 times before you start feeling weird, and that's assuming you've consumed at least a quart of strawberry wine.
I remember, sort of, playing the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" album backwards many, many times one night to find clues about Paul McCartney's "death." I was absolutely certain that I heard the words "Paul is dead," though my friend, Keith, who was drinking Jim Beam at the time, was of the opinion that the lyrics actually said "Haul out Fred."
But either way, the important thing to remember here is that impressionable teen-agers can be profoundly influenced by Jim Beam . . . excuse me, I mean subliminal messages. This is why parents should discourage their children from attending parties where subliminal messages are being played and point out to their kids that if they do find themselves in a situation where they've had a few too many subliminal messages, they should call a cab or let someone else drive them home.
I did considerable research into this subliminal message business while shaving this morning, and I came up with several important findings:
* Evil, subliminal messages can be found in all kinds of music, not just rock.
* Playing records backwards repeatedly is an excellent way to ruin your stereo.
* I need to buy some new blades.
Here is a list of some seemingly innocuous popular songs and the evil, subliminal messages you might hear if you listen to the songs played backwards long enough:
Song: "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Evil, subliminal message: "You're not the sex you think you are."
Song: "Amazing Grace." Message: "Jimmy Swaggart needs your money."
Song: "White Christmas." Message: "Bowling shirts are fine for church."
Song: "Camptown Races." Message: "Jerry Lewis is a scream."
Song: "New York, New York." Message: "Your boss would be grateful if you pointed out that his toupee looks like a diseased muskrat pelt."
Song: "Moon River." Message: "You can't watch enough TV."
Song: "Stormy Weather." Message: "Tattoos are a mark of success."
Song: "Three Blind Mice." Message: "Everything you read in a newspaper is to be taken literally."
David Grimes is a columnist for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.