MORSE CODE in MUSIC

by Brian Pasternack, KA3VSP, ka3vsp@voicenet.com
If you know of more Morse appearing in music, you might drop an email to Brian and let him know.

This story uses the background music feature of Internet Explorer 2.0 to play the introduction to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony using your computer’s MIDI compatible sound system. Netscape users can download the MIDI file at http://www.hamradio-online.com/1996/apr/fifthsym.mid.

While listening to your favorite music, don’t be suprised if you hear those strange and annoying sounds of that terrible Morse code!

Case in point, on Joe Walsh’s latest solo album “Songs for a Dying Planet” is a song titled “Vote For Me”. The song is preceded with Morse code which pounds out “REGISTER AND VOTE FOR ME AR”. Brian, KF2HC, states that the same message appears on Joe’s first album “Barnstorm” in a song titled “Mother”. Joe holds an Advanced class Amateur license.

Another album worth noting is Roger Waters’ album “Radio Kaos”. This album is filled with Morse messages. Most of the code is underlying the haunting music and very difficult to copy. The album’s cover is also worth noting…it is littered with Morse code characters. The album’s song titles are all spelled out in Morse Code!

The rock band RUSH has a song title “YYZ” on their album “Moving Pictures”. This songs starts out with a heavy percussion belting out “YYZ” and then followed by bass and guitar blaring out the same. Well, the characters YYZ are the beacon identifier for the Toronto International Airport. The inspiration for the song came from Alex Lifeson, the guitarist for the band, who holds a private pilots license.

Carter Bennett, KI5SR, brings to my attention that there is badly formed Morse code on Kate Bush’s album “Hounds of Love”. Carter informs me that the song “Watching You Without Me” contains the code “SOS”. It was also reported that this track has some RTTY going in and out of tune. KI5SR continues with information regarding the album “Saving the Wildlife” by Mannheim Steamroller. He states that there is a track on the album which sounds too much like “CQ” in Morse.

Charlie, N2JQA, brings to my attention that there is Morse Codeon Ronnie Montrose’s album (Elektra 1982 EI-60034) “GAMMA 3”. The song “Stranger” contains Morse Code which spells “STRANGER”.

Wayne, WA6MPG, states that in 1967, the band “PEARLS BEFORE SWINE” recorded a song with an adult-rated CW message in it. The song was titled “MISS MORSE”. The song is said to have vulgarities in it spelled out with Morse Code. The album was titled “ONE NATION UNDERGROUND”.

Randall, KE0YG, provided the following info about Morse Code in the computer game called “RED STORM RISING” by Microprose. Randall says that in the opening credits there is music which contains Morse Code which spells out “THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING” at about 18 WPM. Randall says that he can confirm this on the C-64 version and he believes that the IBM version plays the CW message in the theme song.

Craig, VK3CRA, informed me of a TV show called “INSPECTOR MORSE”. Craig has never seen the show but, from info gathered, states that the inspector’s name is never given in the show. It is alleged, however, to be contained in Morse Code which is played as part of the show’s introductory music.

Howie, N2WX and Mark, KM6XU, informed me that “Radioactivity” by Kraftwerk has lots of good Morse code in it. Mark also states that the band Missing Persons has a song with some code in it but Mark didn’t supply any info on the song.

A message from John, NI6D, brought to my attention of pseudo Morse code in the song “Radio Silence” on Thomas Dolby’s album titled “The Golden Age of Wireless”.

Dave, N0DET, adds that there is code in the song “Planet Claire” by the B-52’s. In the intro to “Planet Claire”, a kind of Spy vs. Spy mood is created by the music, and plainly audible CW. The Morse code says, “NAKS DE CFH I I ZKR F13395 5156 AS 662 ….,”, then fades to music. Dave believes that ‘NAKS’ and ‘CFH’ are commercial station callsigns. More information pertaining to the code comes in from Ron, VE3RYN. Ron says that “NAKS” should be “NAWS” which stands for ‘North Atlantic Weather Station’ and “CFH” is a CDN military ship/shore station located near Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Michael, W9OJ, claims that the words “love you” are spelled out in morse code at the end of the “Iron Butterfly Theme” by Iron Butterfly. This song is on their first album “Heavy” and is also on the double album titled “Rare Flight”.

Ian, VK2IAQ, writes in with information stating that the UK rock band ‘Barclay James Harvest’ has two songs which contain morse code. Ian states that the song “Nova Lepidoptera”, a sci-fi song from the 1977 album “XII”, starts off with “UFO” repeated in slow morse code. Also, the title track of the album “Ring of Changes” starts with the title sent twice in morse code. John Lees, the lead guitarist, is a licensed amateur operator in the UK.

Bill, WA6ITF, reports some really good Morse code on the CD “SEEK YOU” by Andrew, G3WZZ, and Lissa Huddleson.

Well, that’s about it for now. Thanks to all who have provided me with information on this subject and thanks to all who have inquired about the subject.

Until next time, KEEP POUNDING BRASS!

73 de Brian Pasternak, KA3VSP!

Editor’s note: And let’s not forget Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with its famous “dit-dit-dit-dahhhh”. Okay, so the Morse code had not been invented yet…

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