Church groups demanded introduction of legislation to protect their children but the only action taken was the firing of five DJ`s who had encouraged listeners to look for hidden messages in records. At a later date, in 1983, legislation was passed unanimously by the California State Assembly which made it illegal to distribute records without a warning sticker that clearly stated the presence of backward masking. When presented to the state senate, the bill did not pass law but it was mandated that records with backmasking include a warning sticker “Warning: This record contains backward masking which may be perceptible at a subliminal level when the record is played forward”
The debate about backmasking continued to rear its head when Richard Ramirez, a fan of the group AC/DC claimed when on trial that he had been inspired to carry out a spree of murders after listening to their records, referring to the song “Night Prowler” from which he acquired his nickname. In 1990, following a suicide pact by two men in Nevada, Raymond Belknap and James Vance, their families filed a lawsuit claiming that the hidden message in the Judas Priest song “Better by you better than me” contributed to their deaths with the words “Do it”. At the time the judge found against the families as the two individuals had been troubled young men who had made a suicide pact and there was insufficient evidence to support the theory that the song was to blame for their deaths.
It is the convergence of all these influences that has given rise to backmasking as it is now in its current form and through time it has become an unorthodox technique in delivering intentional messages that are concealed within the music in order to elicit thought provoking responses, which is no doubt, what the artist is seeking in the first place.