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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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This Just In
Police Recover Nearly 100 Artifacts Stolen From John Lennon’s Estate
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Keystone Features / Stringer / Getty Images

A collection of artifacts stolen from John Lennon’s estate, including diaries, glasses, and handwritten music, has been recovered by German police, the Associated Press reports. After arresting the first suspect, law enforcement is now working to apprehend a second person of interest in the case.

The nearly 100 items went missing from the New York home of the late Beatles star’s widow Yoko Ono in 2006. Years later, German police were tipped off to their whereabouts when a bankruptcy administrator came across the haul in the storage facility of a Berlin auction house. The three leather-bound diaries that were recovered are dated 1975, 1979, and 1980. One entry refers to Lennon’s famous nude photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz, and another was written the morning of December 8, 1980, hours before he was shot and killed. In addition to the journals, police retrieved two pairs of his iconic glasses, a 1965 recording of a Beatles concert, a 1952 school book, contract documents for the copyright of the song “I’m the Greatest”, handwritten scores for "Woman" and "Just Like Starting Over”, and a cigarette case.

German authorities flew to New York to have Ono verify the items' authenticity. "She was very emotional and we noticed clearly how much these things mean to her,” prosecutor Susann Wettley told AP. When the objects will be returned to Ono is still unclear.

The first suspect, a 58-year-old German businessman from Turkey, was arrested Monday, November 21, following a raid of his house and vehicles. The second suspect is one of Ono's former chauffeurs who has a past conviction related to the theft. Police officers are hoping to extradite him from his current home in Turkey before moving forward with the case.

[h/t AP]

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Scientists Analyze the Moods of 90,000 Songs Based on Music and Lyrics
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Based on the first few seconds of a song, the part before the vocalist starts singing, you can judge whether the lyrics are more likely to detail a night of partying or a devastating breakup. The fact that musical structures can evoke certain emotions just as strongly as words can isn't a secret. But scientists now have a better idea of which language gets paired with which chords, according to their paper published in Royal Society Open Science.

For their study, researchers from Indiana University downloaded 90,000 songs from Ultimate Guitar, a site that allows users to upload the lyrics and chords from popular songs for musicians to reference. Next, they pulled data from labMT, which crowd-sources the emotional valence (positive and negative connotations) of words. They referred to the music recognition site Gracenote to determine where and when each song was produced.

Their new method for analyzing the relationship between music and lyrics confirmed long-held knowledge: that minor chords are associated with sad feelings and major chords with happy ones. Words with a negative valence, like "pain," "die," and "lost," are all more likely to fall on the minor side of the spectrum.

But outside of major chords, the researchers found that high-valence words tend to show up in a surprising place: seventh chords. These chords contain four notes at a time and can be played in both the major and minor keys. The lyrics associated with these chords are positive all around, but their mood varies slightly depending on the type of seventh. Dominant seventh chords, for example, are often paired with terms of endearment, like "baby", or "sweet." With minor seventh chords, the words "life" and "god" are overrepresented.

Using their data, the researchers also looked at how lyric and chord valence differs between genres, regions, and eras. Sixties rock ranks highest in terms of positivity while punk and metal occupy the bottom slots. As for geography, Scandinavia (think Norwegian death metal) produces the dreariest music while songs from Asia (like K-Pop) are the happiest. So if you're looking for a song to boost your mood, we suggest digging up some Asian rock music from the 1960s, and make sure it's heavy on the seventh chords.

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