Admit it you nerd. You were super impressed as Robert Langdon spouted off the meaning behind dozens of mystical symbols throughout The Davinci Code. You drool every time there’s a new episode on the History Channel investigating the mysticism of the Nazi SS. And of course, you visit every building in Washington D.C. looking for hidden Masonic Symbols. Not the obvious ones, but the secret hidden ones. Possibly to the extent that you’ve been escorted off the premises of the Lincoln Memorial for lurking somewhere you shouldn’t.
You might have even tried to defend that Kiss album cover to your Jewish grandmother who insisted that the SS was a little too much like the Nazi SS. Nothing you said mattered until you conveniently pointed out that Gene Simmons’ real name is Chaim Weitz. Then you couldn’t get the albums away from her. She was rocking out to Detroit Rock City. Playing canasta to Rock and Roll (All night) and getting busy with Grandpa to Let’s Put the X in Sex. Side note, that might be the reason Kiss songs didn’t make the list.Regardless, there are hundreds of albums that incorporate historical, mystical, and even brand-new made-up symbols on their covers. Here are the top 5:
- Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
- Sirius – The Alan Parsons Project
- Shout at the Devil – Motley Crue
- Jam of the Year – Prince
- The Temples of Syrinx – Rush
Stairway to Heaven
Led Zeppelin IV or is it Led Zeppelin 4 or is it Led Zeppelin 4 Symbols or is it Led Zeppelin ZOSO. I’m not sure it matters. Few albums could get away with just calling their album a bunch of unpronounceable symbols. It’s almost like Page, Plant, and Jones liked reading H.P. Lovecraft and similar authors. Oh wait. The Battle of Evermore, Misty Mountain Hop, Black Dog…I guess they do like that sort of thing.
Stairway to Heaven has been surrounded with mysticism for as long as I can remember. No other song on the album, though most of the others are better, embodies the mythic aura of the album better.
So, Eye in the Sky was a great single on the radio. The cover of the album had that cool Eye of Horus on it. Then one night listening to an AOR station in Dayton, Ohio I heard this really cool instrumental and after a couple of moments, the song just sort of slid into Eye in the Sky.
Oh my God. Sirius became the audio embodiment of everything mystical and Egyptian. I realize that the song and album have nothing to do with that, but it didn’t matter to my ~10 year old mind.
Shout at the Devil
Driving guitar riffs for the intro. People literally shouting ‘Shout!’ over and over. And then there’s that big glowing inverted pentagram on the cover. I can’t imagine a 12 year old trying to convince their parents that this album isn’t promoting satanic worship. I bet that would be funny to watch. Fortunately, I was old enough to never have to endure that impossible task.
Jam of the Year
Prince or should I say, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Although the Former Artist Formerly Known as Prince might be more appropriate now. #TooSoonWhat can I say? The guy changes his name to some kind of mystic symbol. Legend…ary. Jam of the Year is an underappreciated ditty on Emancipation that just doesn’t stop. Base line…check. Lyrics…check. Awesome backing vocals…check.
2112: The Temples of Syrinx
Me: It isn’t a pentagram. It’s a star in a circle.
Mom: But they’re singing about a temple.
Me: It’s a made-up temple in the city of Megadon and individualism and creativity are outlawed. They are evil priests, and we need to defeat them.
Me: With music.
Mom: That’s too silly to be Satanic. I guess you can listen.
Jonathan is a degreed physicist and engineer by day, and amateur entertainer in the evenings. He enjoys studying and performing improvised comedy and writing sketch comedy. When he’s had enough of listening to people complain, you can find him underwater scuba diving where he can’t hear you. It’s like space. No one can hear you, but not because of a vacuum. No. It’s because you can’t talk. So it’s like space, but without the radiation and deadly aliens that burst out of your chest.