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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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"Weird Al" Yankovic Is Getting the Funko Treatment
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Though the New York Toy Fair—the largest trade show for playthings in the western hemisphere—won't officially kick off until Saturday, February 17, kids and kids-at-heart are already finding much to get excited about as the world's biggest toy companies ready to unleash their newest wares on the world. One item that has gotten us—and fans of fine parody songs everywhere—excited is "Weird Al" Yankovic's induction into the Funko Pop! family. The accordion-loving songwriter behind hits like "Eat It," "White & Nerdy," "Amish Paradise," and "Smells Like Nirvana" shared the news via Twitter, and included what we can only hope is a final rendering of his miniaturized, blockheaded vinyl likeness:

In late December, Funko announced that a Weird Al toy would be coming in 2018 as part of the beloved brand's Pop Rocks series. Though we know he'll be joined by Alice Cooper, Kurt Cobain, Elton John, and the members of Mötley Crüe, there's no word yet on exactly when you’ll be able to get your hands on Pop! Al. But knowing that he's coming is enough … for now.

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11 Fun Facts About The Wedding Singer
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

On February 13, 1998, Adam Sandler gave Valentine’s Day sweethearts a retro treat with The Wedding Singer, a 1980s-set rom-com about a heartbroken wedding singer named Robbie Hart (Sandler) who falls in love with a waitress/bride-to-be whose married name will leave her as Julia Gulia (Drew Barrymore).

At this point in Sandler’s career, he was known more for his puerile comedies like Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison, not as a romantic leading man. The Wedding Singer changed all that. After earning its $18 million budget back during its opening weekend alone, The Wedding Singer went on to gross $123 million worldwide—making it Sandler’s highest-grossing movie to date at the time.

Besides being a bona fide box office hit, the film’s two ’80s-heavy soundtracks—which included tunes by The Police, David Bowie, The Psychedelic Furs, New Order, and The Smiths—were also popular. For the film’s 20th anniversary, here are 11 fun facts about The Wedding Singer.

1. THE DIRECTOR’S OWN REAL-LIFE HEARTBREAK ALLOWED HIM TO TAP INTO THE FILM’S EMOTION.

Longtime Sandler friend and collaborator Frank Coraci directed The Wedding Singer, and said that his own experience with having his heart broken was part of what allowed him to tap into the movie’s unique balance of humor and heartfelt romance.

“I remember lying in bed and not being able to move, so it was easy to tap into that pretty quickly,” Coraci told The Hollywood News of his own heartbreak, which happened a couple of years before the movie came along. “I think the distance between those two things was good. It let me look at it differently and allowed it to be funny. I think if had happened before, The Wedding Singer would have been one seriously depressing movie.”

2. THE IDEA TO SET THE FILM IN THE 1980S CAME FROM THE RADIO.

The Wedding Singer was written by Tim Herlihy, a longtime collaborator of Sandler’s who, in addition to writing for Saturday Night Live, wrote the scripts for Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Waterboy (among other Sandler-starring films). Sandler mentioned to Herlihy that he wanted to do “a film about a wedding singer who gets left at the altar.” For his part, Herlihy let the radio inspire him. “I was listening to the radio show Lost in the ’80s, and I said, ‘I want to do a movie set in the 1980s. So of course, we thought, ‘Why don’t we do a story about a wedding singer in the 1980s?’”

3. SANDLER WANTED TO MAKE A “PRO-LOVE” FILM.

While promoting the movie on Late Night With Conan O’Brien in 1998, Sandler said, “We wanted to make a romantic comedy that was heavy on the laughs. It was nice to do a movie that was pro-marriage and pro-love.” He explained men have a difficult time falling in love. “You got guys who say they don’t want to be in love, but those are usually guys who have been hurt before.”

4. THE MOVIE DOESN’T FEATURE ANY SEX SCENES, AND THERE’S A REASON FOR THAT.

In the same interview, Conan O’Brien asked Sandler why there weren’t any sex scenes in the film, which seemed odd for a rom-com. Sandler was candid with his answer: “The main reason for not having a sex scene is I’m not good at sex,” he said. “I started when I was pretty young and I was always like, you’ll get better. And I got older and it’s still not good.”

5. BARRYMORE APPROACHED SANDLER ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER.

Since the release of The Wedding Singer, Sandler and Drew Barrymore have gone on to star in 50 First Dates (2004) and Blended (2014) together, but their original collaboration was really the actress’s doing. Barrymore told Howard Stern she was interested in working with Sandler because “[I thought] I want to be a modern weird Hepburn, Tracy old Hollywood couple.” Sandler agreed to meet with her. “We looked like the worst blind date you’ve ever seen,” Barrymore recalled, referencing how she had purple hair and wore a leopard coat. Still, as Barrymore told The Huffington Post, she was convinced that she and Sandler were “cinematic soul mates,” and wasn’t afraid to tell him so. Soon after this meeting, the script for The Wedding Singer came along.

6. THE “RAPPING GRANNY” LIVED TO BE 101.

At the age of 84, Ellen Albertini Dow portrayed Robbie’s neighbor Rosie, a.k.a. “The Rapping Granny.” During a wedding scene in the movie, Rosie gets on stage and raps to The Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” However, when the filmmakers asked Dow to perform the rap, she admitted she wasn’t familiar with that style of music.

In a 2008 radio interview, she recounted how Sandler and Coraci approached her with the idea. They told her, “‘We think it might be funny for an older woman to do rap,’” Dow explained. “And I said, ‘What is that?’ I had no idea what rap was. They took me to a soundstage and handed me this rap song. I went in the booth and it was very foreign to me. I said, ‘Can I move a little to it?’ They said, ‘Oh, sure.’ I’m not bragging, but I danced all my life, and I played the piano, so I know music. I started to move to it and I got it right it away. I got it very fast and loved it and had fun with it.” Her rapping success led to her rapping in a Life Savers commercial, and she even considered recording a rap record for children. In 2015, Dow died at the age of 101.

7. IT’S THE FIRST SANDLER FILM TO INCLUDE A FEMALE PERSPECTIVE.

In previous Sandler films, women mainly existed only as love interests. Herlihy, however, changed that with The Wedding Singer. “Drew elevated things for us,” the screenwriter told Esquire. “The scenes with her and Christine [Taylor]—the scenes with her without Adam—[were all great]. You look at the first movies and there’s not a lot without Adam because we did test screening and they said, ‘Get rid of that scene.’ But this time with Drew we were able to do that and have those scenes survive to the movie.”

8. THE CREATORS OF THE WEDDING SINGER BROADWAY MUSICAL KNEW IT WAS “BORN TO SING.”

The success of the film inspired a Broadway musical adaptation that ended up earning five Tony Award nominations and eight Drama Desk Award nods. Matthew Sklar composed the music, and Chad Beguelin wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the book with Herlihy. It premiered in Seattle in January 2006 and then officially opened on Broadway in April 2006.

In the fall of 2007, the musical toured nationally, then eventually landed overseas in London, Abu Dhabi, the Philippines, and Australia. Beguelin said the musical came from him pitching a movie idea to New Line Cinema. “They asked me, ‘What would you do with our catalogue?’ Well, I thought The Wedding Singer was born to sing,” he said. They felt a musical could convey stronger feelings than what was on the screen. “In the movie, you get a close-up of Drew Barrymore looking distraught at her reflection in a wedding dress, but you can’t do that on stage,” Beguelin said. “That’s where you write a song.”

9. BARRYMORE WANTED THE AUDIENCE TO “HOLD THE BOWL OF LOVE.”

In a 1998 interview, Barrymore explained what drew her to the character of Julia: “She has an ease that follows her and that’s the energy that she exudes, and I really, really like that about her. And she’s a happy girl.”

Barrymore further said she wanted people to be happy and for the movie to cause the audience “to hold the bowl of love and have those hearts in their eyes and all of that good mushy stuff we live for."

10. BILLY IDOL STARRED IN THE FILM TO APPEASE HIS SON—AND TEENAGERS.

Billy Idol, whose song “White Wedding” appears on the soundtrack, portrays himself during a climactic scene on a plane. “My son loved Adam Sandler and I thought: ‘I’m going to have to see it anyway, so why not be in it?,’” Idol said. “I gained a number of diehard teenage fans through doing it, who are adults now and are still turning up to my gigs.”

“There’s something about Billy Idol hanging on a plane, knocking back champagne, and getting involved with my love life,” Sandler said of Idol’s cameo. “Everybody thought that’d be fun.”

11. BOY GEORGE WAS A FAN OF BOY GEORGE.

In the film, transgender actress Alexis Arquette played a character named George, who had similarities to the iconic Culture Club frontman Boy George. Wedding Singer George even sings the band’s 1982 hit song “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” at a wedding in the movie. Arquette passed away on September 11, 2016, and around the same time the real Boy George paid homage to the actress at a concert in Maryland. He dedicated “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” to Alexis and her family.

“Alexis played me in The Wedding Singer, very hilariously,” he said. “When I went to [see] The Wedding Singer, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When I saw Alexis doing an impersonation of me, I was rolling around on the floor laughing.”

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