Rebecca O'Connell (Getty Images) (iStock)
Rebecca O'Connell (Getty Images) (iStock)

10 Unbelievable Music Conspiracy Theories

Rebecca O'Connell (Getty Images) (iStock)
Rebecca O'Connell (Getty Images) (iStock)

As these musicians can attest, conspiracy theories aren't just reserved for UFOs.

1. Jay-Z is in the Illuminati

Conspiracy theorists believe that Jay-Z is a member of a secret society called the Illuminati that has the ability to control world affairs. The proof, conspiracy theorists say, is in the rapper's "diamond cutter" hand symbol, which is believed to be connected to the Illuminati's All-Seeing Eye and Pyramid symbols. Conspiracy theorists believe that Jay-Z also has the power of mind control and time travel. In 2013, a curator at the New York Public Library unearthed a Sid Grossman photograph from 1939 that depicts two men, one of which looks very similar to the Brooklyn-born rap superstar.

Other recording artists that are believed to be members in the Illuminati are Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kesha, David Bowie, and Lana Del Rey.

2. Michael Jackson's Death was Planned to Cover Up an Iranian Revolution

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Some people believe that Michael Jackson's accidental drug overdose was not an accident at all, but rather the Iranian government's well-orchestrated attempt to divert Western media coverage of the Iranian Revolution in June 2009. Iranians protested and disputed presidential elections after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected president. Although the Iranian government tried to block news coverage, the people took to social media to get the word out about the revolution. But in the United States, most news outlets were covering Michael Jackson's death.

3. The CIA Murdered John Lennon

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According to conspiracy theorists, Mark David Chapman was just a pawn in John Lennon's assassination. The real mastermind of the ex-Beatles' death was the C.I.A. According to the theory, the organization recruited Chapman to kill Lennon because the C.I.A. was secretly surveying the recording artist for his anti-American and anti-capitalist political views and pacifism.

4. Kris Kristofferson is a Lizard

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In 1999, British writer and sports broadcaster David Icke published a book called The Biggest Secret that details his belief that a majority of the world's political leaders and celebrities are actually a race of reptilian aliens called the Babylonian Brotherhood. They are from the constellation Draco and have the ability to shapeshift into human form and control all of humanity. The internet, naturally, loved Icke's theory. Kris Kristofferson is reportedly one of these shapeshifters; other members of the Babylonian Brotherhood include Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II, and Pope Francis.

5. Andrew W.K. is Not the Real Andrew W.K.

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Apparently, the Andrew W.K. that we know today is not the same Andrew W.K. depicted on the record I Get Wet from 2001. In fact, Andrew W.K. grew a beard to hide his true identity, which may or may not be a person known as Steev Mike, who is believed to be a corporate amalgam that created the persona Andrew W.K. and is credited as Executive Producer on I Get Wet.

As the conspiracy theory goes, there were many people who played the role of Andrew W.K. in the past and there will be others in the future. 

6. Beyoncé Was Never Pregnant

The conspiracy theory goes like this: Beyoncé didn't want to gain weight while she was pregnant, so she hired a surrogate to carry her daughter Blue Ivy Carter to term. The pop star announced her pregnancy by rubbing her baby bump at the tail end of her performance during the MTV Video Music Awards in 2011. However, a week before her performance on MTV, Beyoncé performed a concert and many believe that she showed no visible signs of a pregnancy. The conspiracy theory also stemmed from an interview with Beyoncé soon after after the MTV VMAs when her belly seemed to fold as she began to sit down, and rumors suggested that she was wearing a prosthetic pregnancy belly. The singer denied that she used a surrogate, and footage that aired during the On the Run tour that shows her naked baby bump seems to have proven conspiracy theorists wrong.

7. Gangster Rap was Invented to Fill Prisons

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According to conspiracy theorists, in 1991, record label CEOs and very wealthy "decision makers" met behind closed doors to invent and actively push Gangster Rap onto the American public. The goal, allegedly, was to promote selling drugs and street violence through music to fill privately-owned corporate prisons. An anonymous letter sent to HipHopIsRead.com detailed a music industry insider's part in this conspiracy theory. 

8. Dark Side of the Rainbow

The idea that Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon perfectly syncs up with The Wizard of Oz is probably one of the most well-known and popular conspiracy theories among the general public. Supposedly, if you start playing the record at a certain point in The Wizard of Oz, then Pink Floyd's music will be in step with the visuals of the Hollywood classic. "The result is astonishing," Charles Savage wrote in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette in 1995. "It's as if the movie were one long art-film music video for the album. Song lyrics and titles match the action and plot. The music swells and falls with character's movements. Don't expect to be overwhelmed. But do expect to see enough firm coincidences to make you wonder whether the whole thing was planned. And expect to see many more coincidences that would be definite reaches if it weren't for other parts lining up so well."

The reality is The Wizard of Oz is roughly 112 minutes, while Dark Side of the Moon is about 43 minutes long, so you'd have to play the record around two and a half times to get the audio to perfectly sync with the picture.  

“It's such a non-starter, a complete load of eyewash," Alan Parsons, Pink Floyd’s audio engineer, told Rolling Stone in 2003. "I tried it for the first time about two years ago. One of my fiancée's kids had a copy of the video, and I thought I had to see what it was all about. I was very disappointed. One of the things any audio professional will tell you is that the scope for the drift between the video and the record is enormous; it could be anything up to twenty seconds by the time the record's finished. And anyway, if you play any record with the sound turned down on the TV, you will find things that work.”  

9. Elvis is Alive

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Many believe that Elvis Presley is alive and well, and living in Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee today. According to conspiracy theorists, Elvis faked his death in 1977 because he was tired of being famous. There are a few "clues" that point to Elvis still being alive: His middle name is misspelled on his gravestone; multiple sightings (such as allegedly being an extra in Home Alone and seen with Muhammad Ali in 1984); and his life insurance was never cashed or claimed. Of course, this is all myth and speculation.

Elvis isn't the only deceased musician that conspiracy theorists believe faked his death; it's also believed that rapper Tupac Shakur is still alive.  

10. Paul McCartney is Dead

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It has been rumored since 1967 that Paul McCartney died in a car accident and was replaced with a lookalike. Conspiracy theorists point to two records from the Beatles that "confirm" McCartney's death. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is believed to be McCartney's burial record: The cover features a hand above McCartney's head, which indicates being blessed and given Last Rites; on the record's inside jacket, he's facing backwards, while the rest of the band is facing the viewer. Abbey Road, conspiracy theorists say, is his funeral procession album; it features McCartney barefoot, which symbolizes Paul being out-of-step with his "living" bandmates.

Rumors of McCartney's death were so prevalent that he had to explain his whereabouts to LIFE magazine in 1969. "Perhaps the rumour started because I haven't been much in the press lately," he said. "I have done enough press for a lifetime, and I don't have anything to say these days. I am happy to be with my family and I will work when I work. I was switched on for 10 years and I never switched off. Now I am switching off whenever I can. I would rather be a little less famous these days."    

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Your Library Has a Free Music Service That You Probably Didn't Know About
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Did you know that you can download free music from your local library? Music that you can keep. That's right: not borrow, keep.

It's all possible thanks to a service called Freegal (a portmanteau of free and legal), which gives patrons of participating libraries access to 15 million songs from 40,000 labels, notably including the Sony Music Entertainment catalog. All you need is a library card.

Here's how it works: You can download a few songs a week, and, in many areas, enjoy several hours of streaming, too (the precise number of songs and hours of streaming varies by library). Once you download MP3 files, they're yours. You're free to put them on iTunes, your iPhone, your tablet, and more. You don't have to return them and they don't expire. The counter resets on Mondays at 12:01 a.m. Central Time, so if you hit your limit, you won't have long to wait before you get more downloads. And Freegal has some great stuff: A quick scan of the front page reveals music from Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Cardi B, Simon & Garfunkel, Childish Gambino, The Avett Brothers, Lykke Li, and Sara Bareilles.

Freegal has been around since 2010 and is offered at libraries worldwide. In the U.S., that includes the New York Public Library, Queens Library, Los Angeles Public Library, West Chicago Public Library, Houston Public Library, and more. In the past few years, libraries have debuted some other amazing free digital services, from classic films streaming on Kanopy to audiobooks and e-books available to borrow on SimplyE and OverDrive. But the thing that's so exciting about Freegal is that you can keep the MP3 files, unlike services that limit you to borrowing.

Freegal's site is easy to navigate: You can browse playlists and make your own, check out the most popular tunes, and save songs to your wishlist for when you get more credits. In the old days, music fans would check out CDs from the library and upload them onto their computers before returning them. But Freegal eliminates the need to go to your local branch, check out an album, and bring it back when you're done.

Freegal app
Freegal

To find out if your local library has Freegal, go to freegalmusic.com and click login, then search for your area. It's important to note: Your library's contract might not have both streaming and downloading privileges. You can use Freegal on the web or as an app available on the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon. Of course, the service doesn't have everything. And sometimes, when it does have an artist, it will only have a few of their most popular albums. But if you frequently buy music on iTunes or elsewhere, checking Freegal first may save you a bit of money.

If you don't yet have a library card, Freegal is just one more reason why you should get one ASAP.

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An Anthology Series Based on Dolly Parton's Songs Is Coming to Netflix
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Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Though she may be best known for her music career, Dolly Parton is a Hollywood powerhouse. In addition to starring in more than a few contemporary classics, from 9 to 5 to Steel Magnolias, she's also been partly responsible for some of your favorite TV series. As part owner of Sandollar Entertainment, a film and television production company, she's been a silent figure behind shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now, the queen of country music is preparing to return to the small screen once again—this time on Netflix.

The beloved singer is partnering with Warner Bros. Television to produce an anthology series for Netflix, Engadget reports. Set to debut in 2019, each of the eight episodes will have a theme based on a song by Parton, who will serve as executive producer and singer-songwriter in addition to appearing in the series.

"As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music," Parton said in a statement. "I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favorite songs to life with Netflix. We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations, and I want to thank the good folks at Netflix and Warner Bros. TV for their incredible support."

The list of songs hasn’t yet been released, but I Will Always Love You, Jolene, and The Bargain Store are among Parton’s greatest hits.

Parton previously worked with Warner Bros. to produce the made-for-television movies Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors (2015) and Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love (2016). She has also nearly finished the music for the upcoming film Dumplin'—based on a novel by Julie Murphy and starring Jennifer Aniston—and the soundtrack will be released via Dolly Records and Sony Music Nashville, according to Parton’s website.

[h/t Engadget]

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