Aleister Crowley's Influence in Music

By enquirewithin · Jun 7, 2010 · ·
  1. enquirewithin
    --Crowley on Sgt Pepper. [imgl=red][/imgl]


    A number of rock musicians have been fascinated by the persona and ideas of Aleister Crowley, and several have made reference to him or his work in their own.

    Popular music groups who have made passing references to Crowley include:

    The Beatles, who placed him among dozens of other influential figures on the cover of their concept album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

    Graham Bond, keyboard player and leader of the Graham Bond Organisation recorded Holy Magick, a "Thelemic Mass" drawn from Crowley's writings.

    David Bowie, whose song "Quicksand", featured on his album Hunky Dory, makes the reference "I'm closer to the Golden Dawn, immersed in Crowley's uniform of imagery..."

    Crowley features in the opening lyrics of the song Bal-a Versailles, recorded by Australian pub rock band, Cold Chisel.

    Numerous heavy metal rockers have incorporated Crowley in their lyrics, though their interpretations more often follow the tabloid "Satanist" image of Crowley and not his actual writings. Such lyrics dwell on Crowley's sometime use of Christian eschatological imagery such as the number 666.

    Ozzy Osbourne in his solo album Blizzard of Ozz released the song Mr. Crowley which was about Crowley's struggles and beliefs.

    Ministry have also referred to Crowley in lyrics and sampled his voice on the track "Golden Dawn" from their Land of Rape and Honey album. The band reiterated in their album Psalm 69, in the eponym song the last lines "The way to succeed or the way to suk eggs" are borrowed from the Book of lies.

    Legendary British heavy metal band, Iron Maiden, also made references to Crowley in many of their songs (most obviously "Moonchild", on the "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" album); Bruce Dickinson, their lead singer, who is an ardent follower of mystical teachings, also frequently refers to Crowley's work in his solo projects.

    Swiss black metal / thrash metal pioneers Celtic Frost released a (now classic) album named "To Mega Therion". Crowley had adopted this title, which means "the Great Beast".

    The German power metal band Edguy has a song, "Out of Control", which refers to Crowley by name.

    Entertainer and rock star Marilyn Manson, who once stated that Crowley was one of his favorite authors. On his album Antichrist Superstar, the sentence "When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you" supposedly rephrases a line from Liber AL vel Legis: "Begone! ye mocker; even though ye laugh in my honour ye shall laugh not long: then when you are sad know that I have forsaken you." The line from Disposable Teens "I never really hated a one true god but the god of the people I hated" is believed to be a rephrased version of the line from Confessions "I did not hate God or Christ, but merely the God and Christ of the people whom I hated." Also, in the song Misery Machine the chorus goes, 'We've gotta ride to the Abbey of Thelema.'

    Experimental group Coil, near the end of the video for their eerie, funereal remake of Tainted Love (as a metaphor for AIDS), flash the phrases LOVE IS THE LAW and LOVE UNDER WILL, from Crowley's Liber AL vel Legis, or The Book of the Law.

    Liverpool, UK grindcore band Carcass (band) repeats "Hate is the law, love under will", a slight variation on the phrase from Liber AL vel Legis in the song "Firm Hand" on the album Swansong.

    British music group Current 93, fronted by a former member of the OTO, takes their name from a mystical term referring to Thelema itself, and has drawn extensive inspiration from Crowley's writings and works. Group leader David Tibet even wrote an article on Crowley's influence in contemporary music for Flexipop magazine.

    Polish death metal band Behemoth: a record of theirs is entitled Thelema 6.

    The British gothic rock band Fields of the Nephilim, who make numerous indirect references to Crowley and to Thelema in their works, with the songs "Moonchild" and "Love Under Will" being more obvious examples. The album Elizium features a sample taken from a Phonograph cylinder of Crowley reading from one of his works.

    German pop group Alphaville, noted for mystical references of various sorts, who penned a song about Crowley's wife Rose, entitled "Red Rose", which makes coded reference to a number of Thelemic and otherwise occult ideas.

    The San Francisco-based Folk-Rock band Annwn, who have performed a similarly themed song, "The Scarlet Muse", about Leila Waddell, one of Crowley's mistresses. Some of the same performers, under the band name Nuit, have produced an album, Mother Night, based in part on Thelemic mystical concepts.

    There is a reference to the Diaries of Crowley in the song "Liezah" by The Coral.

    The American nu metal quartet Mudvayne references one of Crowley's books in their song "Mercy, Severity". On their album The End of All Things to Come, the sentence "Pain of division is nothing, joy of dissolution is everything." rephrases a line from the Liber AL vel Legis: "This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all." Also, the Thelemic teaching, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" is rephrased in the song "(K)now F(orever)" as "Do what you will, make it the whole of your law."

    British rock band Manic Street Preachers feature Crowley in the video for their song You Love Us.

    American rock band Murder City Devils titled their last album "Thelema" and featured the phrase "Do what thou wilt" on the back cover of the CD case.

    Aleister Crowley also had a heavy influence on the band Tiamat, a Swedish metal group, in their album "Prey" with songs like "Light in Extension" (a direct quote from Crowley), and "The Pentagram" where Crowley was directly quoted from one of his recorded lectures.

    American progressive metal band Tool is heavily influenced by Crowley's works, ranging from Danny Carey's Enochian Magic Board, supposed references to Qabalah in Lateralus, and citations by Blair MacKenzie Blake on the Tool newsletter to name a few.

    Several bands have used samples of Crowley reading his own works, including British band Paradise Lost and Finnish band Babylon Whores. In his film House of 1000 Corpses, Rob Zombie used an actual recording of Crowley himself reading his poem "The Poet".

    Perhaps most curiously, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page owned Crowley's Loch Ness estate, Boleskine House, from 1971 to 1992. It is also said that on some pressings of the Led Zeppelin III album, one or more Aleister Crowley quotes are inscribed into the runoff matrix of the vinyl (the space between the last groove and the label.) This may be a misinterpretation of the signatures left by master cutter George Peckham.

    Page also composed the original music for Lucifer Rising, a film by Kenneth Anger heavily influenced by Crowley.

    Mick Jagger composed the soundtrack to another Crowley inspired Kenneth Anger film, 'Invocation of my Demon Brother'.

    The track Synchronicity II, from the album Synchronicity by The Police, is said to be partly inspired by strange events at Boleskine House while Jimmy Page was the owner.

    Crowley is the old man pictured on the cover of Led Zeppelins fourth album (IV, Zoso, Runes etc).

    Former Pantera frontman Philip Anselmo used the alias "Anton Crowley", (In reference to Anton LaVey from "Satanic Bible" fame, and Aleister Crowley), to avoid lawsuits while recording for his many side-projects.

    Brazilian rock singer Raul Seixas and his songwriter Paulo Coelho were influenced by Aleister Crowley. The influence extended not only to music, but also the creation of the "Alternative Society", which was to be a thelemic community. The project was considered subversive by members of the Brazilian military, which imprisoned all prospective members of the group.

    'Anti-folk' musician Kimya Dawson depicts hell as a place "where Aleister Crowley milks cows in the dairy" in the song "Velvet Rabbit"

    John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) is an admirer of Crowley, and the songs, '666' , 'I'm Around' , 'Emptiness' and 'Look On' (from his solo album, 'Inside of Emptiness') are all inspired by Crowley.

    American Heavy Metal band, Devildriver, also reference Crowley in the lyrics of their song, 'Nothings Wrong?': "Do what thou wilt, Shall be the whole of the law, Do what thou wilt, All they understand is the claw."

    The alternative scottish rock band Primal Scream refrases a sentence from Crowley's Liber Al vel Legis (I, 3: "Every man and every woman is a star") in the refrain of their song 'Star': "Every brother is a Star, Every sister is a Star"

    Krautrock legends Can recorded a song named "Augmn" (Crowley's ultimate word of power) on the Album "Tago Mago" (which itself is a rock formation off the coast of Ibiza, reputedly part of the Crowley legend).

    Throbbing Gristle track "United" contains the refrain "Love is the law."

    It was quoted from Wikepedia actually, but it was fun seeing it in a Christian blog. Some right wing Christians in the US give the Beast a lot of credit!

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  1. Crazy Insane Sanity
    I didn't see this one in the list...maybe I over-looked it. I was listening to Twiztid's W.I.C.K.E.D. album the other day, and noticed Crowley's name in one of the songs.
  2. rawbeer
    Good list but that's not Crowley on Zep 4, it's a 19th century oil painting Robert Plant bought in an antique shop.
  3. enquirewithin
  4. Potter
    oh man, we've got a thread on occult history of rock, I need to find it, this will be an excellent addition.
  5. enquirewithin
    It would good to get more additions here! I have a lot more, when I get the time!
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