Part 1: THE ? FACTOR…
Anyone familiar with the notorious ‘Illuminati’ and it’s alleged plans for a New World Order, will perhaps also be aware that one of it’s required aims in reaching this goal is to strip away any semblance of individualism.
Believe it or not, one such example is typified by the history of the music industry.
At the birth, of what has since become commonly known as “Pop music” during the latter half of the 1950s, there were a multitude of record labels in existence. By the end of the 1980s, most of them had been gobbled up and either dismantled, or merged into the larger companies known at the time as, “the Big 6” (EMI, CBS, BMG, Polygram, WEA and Universal). A decade later, this became “the Big 5” when Polygram absorbed into Universal, and then yet another decade later, “the Big 4”, when Sony (formerly CBS) merged with BMG to become Sony/BMG.
Many critics have argued that the death of the smaller, independent label has led to a slow, but steady decline in the nurturing and support of music artists, a nurturing that can only be successfully adopted by an intimate team of people who work within a reasonably small organisation where communication is easier to maintain.
Although many music artists have enjoyed fame and success instantaneously, history has shown others had to endure an uphill struggle. We now live in an age where newly-signed artists are dropped from record contracts and tossed by the wayside merely because their second or third release “only” manages to reach a “disappointing” number 3 in the charts. It’s perhaps important to acknowledge that had this policy been adopted in Pop music’s earlier pioneering days, then the world would probably have never heard of The Beatles, whose first ever UK single, ‘Love Me Do’ stalled at a modest number 17 in the charts. Furthermore, their early attempts at breaking into the lucrative U.S. market suffered continuous setbacks, despite the efforts of their record company. They are by no means an exception… Elton John, Queen, David Bowie, The Kinks, Stevie Wonder and even Elvis Presley (who released a total of 16 singles over a two-year period, all of which failed to appear in the U.S. mainstream charts until his first hit record in 1956) are other notable examples.
Question is, had these artists signed to one of the major “Big 4” companies during the impatient era we now exist in, would they have ever been given the chance to prosper and grow?
One possible symptom of the new corporate-led, centralised structure, is an apparent lack of artists who write and record music with a social/political emphasis. Anyone wishing to look at the current singles and albums chart-listings would be hard-pressed to find any such material. One is tempted to ask what has become of the fresh, brave, challenging forms of protest and social comment expressed in musical form in earlier years by such legends as Bob Dylan, The Clash, Marvin Gaye, Joan Baez, Bob Marley, The Jam and even the Sex Pistols? Has there been an orchestrated move by the Big Companies to stifle the growth of such acts in order to dissociate the mainly young music-buying public from thinking about the world they live in, choosing instead to bombard them with over-sexualised starlets and ’Pretty Boys’ singing trite lyrics over inoffensive, uniformed dance-beats?
The sharp increase in the presence of such manufactured acts has happened at precisely the same time as the acknowledged decline in the prominence of musicians who play in Rock bands (the genre most favoured by artists who feature social comment in their lyrical content). Current chart trends would support this view. According to the official UK Top 40 singles chart (as compiled by the reputable publication, ‘Music Week’ on May 22nd – 28th 2011), there were NO rock/guitar-based acts featured at all…. that’s right… not even one, unless you count the re-released ‘Fast Car‘ by Tracy Chapman (which is actually an old hit from the 1980s).
In January 2010, Martin Talbot, the head of the Official Charts Company, gloomily reported that 2009 had been the toughest year to date for independent guitar music in the UK. Only two ‘indie’ (independent) guitar bands featured in the top 20 top-selling albums of that year.
According to a BBC-news article in September 2010 under the heading of, ‘Rock Anthems Vanishing from Charts’, sales of Rock singles had dropped by almost 18% in the first eight months of 2010, compared with 2009, whilst Urban/Soul/Rap single sales were up 33%, with Pop rising 30% in the same period. In the same article, Absolute Radio head of music James Curran alarmingly stated that the singles chart had “become unrecognisable from even two years ago”. He said: “What’s quite frightening is how quickly it has changed. It’s very difficult to get a bona fide Rock hit these days, even by some of the biggest bands.” When asked about the current state of British Rock music, Mani, a former member of one of the 1980’s and 90’s most innovative bands, The Stone Roses said, “It’s all about the songs and technique and spirit. Bands of my era had a whacked out agenda. They walked it, they lived it, they breathed it. [They were] not necessarily the best musicians in the world but they can try things that are dangerous. I think what’s wrong with British music at the moment is people are too career-orientated. They’re afraid, or record companies will not allow them to take risks, and that just makes everything so uniform. Why bother?”
The depressing downturn was summed up rather tellingly by a web-article in January 2011, which starkly informed it’s readers that 2010 was the year the, “number of rock songs on the U.K. charts (was) at (the) lowest level in half a century”. According to the article, only three Rock songs appeared in the top 100 best-selling U.K. list that year.
Of course, this current downturn may be – as Talbot sates – all about fashion and “trends and movements.” As he points out, “sometimes movements can be sparked by one act coming out of nowhere and doing something different.”
Looking back at Pop history over the last 60 years, there have indeed been examples of music genres or acts that have entered the scene and given birth to a new style. For example, back in the early 60s, the initial Rock ‘n’ Roll craze (which had shot to prominence during the 1950s, introducing us to the likes of Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry) had just about run it’s course. A fallow period followed when the charts were invaded by pale imitators and so-called ’crooners’. It wasn’t until the arrival of The Beatles in 1963 and the ‘Beat groups’ that the music-scene was revitalised, giving birth to the ‘Swinging Sixties’. Punk music also achieved a similar feat in 1976, sweeping away the so-called “Progressive Rock” bands that had reigned supreme during the early to mid 70s. The rise and growing popularity of ‘House music’ during the late 1980s (a modernised version of 70s Disco music born in the clubs of Chicago) also made an impact – especially in the UK and Europe – giving rise to the ‘Acid House’ and ‘Rave’ era of the late 80s and early 90s.
However, what differentiates these examples to the current trends of today, is that, irrespective of any shake-up in the musical landscape, guitar-based music has always prevailed. Furthermore, the current domination of Pop, Urban and Rap music is not representative of a “new trend” or “movement“. For example, so-called “Urban” music is merely another word for “Soul” and “R’n’B”, a genre with it’s roots firmly fixed back to the 1950s and 60s. Additionally, Rap music (otherwise known as ‘Hip Hop’) has been a regular presence in the Pop charts since it’s early pioneering days in the late 1970s and is by no means, “something different“. Interestingly, the story of Hip Hop and Rap appears to show that there has been a deliberate move on the part of the major record companies to sanitise a particular music-genre. Once a voice-piece for the poor and disaffected, Rap music was born on the streets of America where, through the use of syncopated lyrics, young rappers and DJs highlighted the poverty and injustices of American society. This was further explored by such acts as Public Enemy, KRS-One and (the assassinated) Tupac Shakur well into the 1990s. Today, commercial Hip Hop music has largely become synonymous with lyrical content that rarely strays away from sexual innuendo. Any Rap fans looking for something a little more substantial, are forced to scour the outer fringes where a surprising amount of Hip Hop is recorded and released on a weekly basis concentrating on issues ranging from politics to foreign affairs and even the Illuminati. These offerings never reach the mainstream, irrespective of any quality or innovation that might be on display.
If there is indeed a conspiracy to disengage us from educating our minds whilst at the same time bombarding us with meaningless, unimaginative, uninspired, music performed by seemingly vacant Pop stars with little to say, then music mogul Simon Cowell requires further investigation for his possible – and perhaps – willing part in all of this.
Cowell has amassed a multi-million pound empire from the creation of TV shows such as the ‘X-Factor’ and the ‘…Got Talent‘ series. However, the music mogul has had more than his fair share of criticism.
His ‘stable’ of star discoveries has been described by some as nothing more than an army of bland, boring robots cynically delivered to the public via a constantly moving conveyor-belt. In fact, Cowell’s fiercest critics have blamed him for contributing to the overall death of a music scene that was once built on foundation-stones of ingenuity, inspiration, excitement, passion, outrageousness, vitality and rebelliousness.
Some of Cowell’s star-stable – such as Leona Lewis – have enjoyed continued success under the guidance of Cowell and his company, ‘Syco Productions’. Others though, have seemingly been tossed aside like discarded toys. In a recent UK newspaper article titled, ’Cowell the Executioner’, an unnamed “former music industry insider” said, “The way they run the business is immoral… The whole basis of a show like X Factor is to find the next big talent. But when they do, they use them and throw them away. Talk about crushing people’s dreams. What they forget is that often they are dealing with kids who are quite fragile.”
Former Bee Gee Robin Gibb, who once appeared as a special guest on one of Cowell’s talent shows, has also lambasted the TV talent scout. “I don’t like how these people are chosen almost from nowhere“, he said, during a 2008 interview. “I don’t believe that many of them really yearned to get into a life of music, more that they want fame. The ones that win are told what to sing, how to dress, how to behave. They are over-styled ‘puppets’. They aren’t musicians they are simply a product. It is a glorified advert. The shows are much more about television and making money for the people behind the show, than actually finding musical talent. For a while that product is popular but there is hardly ever any longevity. And then these kids just get dumped with no real way of getting back in again because they didn’t spend the time over the years building up contacts and working out how things worked for themselves.”
This view has also been enforced by former ‘X-Factor’ winner Steve Brookstein who – despite enjoying initial success – was later dropped by Cowell and ‘Syco’ leaving him without a record contract, a situation he has yet to recover from. In an interview earlier this year he said, “I was dropped because I wouldn’t play the game. Simon was quoted everywhere saying I just couldn’t sell records. I felt completely done over. I emailed him asking him for an explanation, but I got a message back from his lawyers asking me not to contact him directly”.
Of course, the concept of talent-spotting and grooming is nothing new. Back in Pop music’s formative years during the mid-to-late 50s, Simon would have been labelled a music “impresario”, much in the same way that Larry Parnes was when his stable of stars invaded the British charts back in that era. His approach was to select, and then groom, handsome young men who would be attractive to a teenage audience. He also gave his charges new ear-catching stage names. For example, Ron Wycherley became Billy Fury, Reg Patterson was re-named Marty Wilde and Tommy Hicks was re-branded Tommy Steele. Admittedly, Parnes was far from an angel. According to one report by researcher Steve Walker, one of Parnes‘s artists, Vince Eager, “began to wonder why he had never received any record royalties. “You’re not entitled to any,” Larry Parnes told him. “But it says in my contract that I am,” Eager protested. “It also says I have power of attorney over you, and I’ve decided you’re not getting any,” Parnes replied.”
Another significant figure who operated during this era was Carroll Levis, a Canadian talent scout who toured the length and breadth of Britain’s theatres during the latter half of the 1950s looking for new performers to appear on his TV programme. The show introduced new talent, with each show having a winner chosen by audience response in the form of applause measured by the ‘Clapo-meter’.
There are notable factors (if you pardon the pun) that differentiate Cowell from his Black & White-era counterparts. For example, despite his questionable business tactics, Parnes has since been credited for leaving behind a respectable legacy in the pages of British Pop history. His artist-stable was largely made up of genuinely talented performers who recorded a number of seminal British Rock ’n’ Roll classics during the late 1950s and early 60s. Parnes also employed an in-house songwriter to pen his artists‘ tunes, unlike Cowell who has been criticised for his over-reliance on uninspired, lacklustre cover versions. Levis too was constantly on the hunt for talented individuals based upon the merits of their own unique abilities.
In comparison, even after more than two decades in the music industry, Cowell has yet to provide even one universally acclaimed artist of note, let alone song, but despite this, his apparent influence on the current course of Popular music far outweighs the combined efforts of Parnes and Levis, whose contributions (although important) were never a game-changer.
Cowell currently enjoys a level of power and prestige that Parnes and Levis could only ever have dreamt of. In 2010, British magazine ‘New Statesman’ listed him at number 41 in a list of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures”.
Perhaps the question that has to be asked at this point is, has Cowell’s acknowledged influence only been felt in the music industry, or has it managed to permeate itself into everyday, so-called, “normal” society? In an age of reality-TV and celebrity worship, programmes such as ‘X-Factor’ have been blamed for giving millions of people the false hope that they too can become rich and famous overnight. In 2008, a UK teaching union claimed that children were turning away from schoolwork because they saw education as unhelpful to their ambition to become rich and famous. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers claimed to have been, “ appalled at the extent of the decline in this country into the cult of celebrity, which is perverting children’s aspirations and expectations”. Many teachers also said their pupils sought to be famous with no discernible talent.
Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the association, said: “We are not surprised about infiltration of celebrity culture in schools – it reflects the current media obsession with celebrity and the effect of celebrity culture on society as a whole. We are deeply concerned that many pupils believe celebrity status is available to everyone. They do not understand the hard work it takes to achieve such status.”
According to performing arts school franchise ‘Stagecoach’ student numbers leapt from 12,000 in 1999 to 36,000 in 2010. It was in 2005, when programmes like ‘The X-Factor’ were at their zenith, that David Sprigg, co-founder of Stagecoach, saw the biggest spike in student numbers. He said, “99.9% of students will not suddenly appear on television. We tell them it’s a crowded and unreliable profession.”
In 2007, former Oasis star, Noel Gallagher gave reporters a typical Gallagher-esque analysis of Cowell and his talent shows when he linked them to mental illness. He said, “if somebody is dangling this carrot of ‘fame and fortune’ in front of a girl who can sing like Britney Spears then they’re going to go for it, right, because they live in a s*** hole. But it seems to bring on instant mental illness. You’re going in at the top, with a number one that sells 750,000 or whatever. You spend a year slogging around the country and then what? You can’t go back cos that would look bad“.
Former ‘X-Factor’ winner Steve Brookstein called the Cowell process “humiliating” and akin to “bear bating”. He also gave a somewhat dark description of Cowell’s celebrated power and influence. “It’s amazing how many doors close when you part company with Cowell“, he said in a recent interview, “it’s almost like leaving a mafia family”.
Perhaps comparisons with the “mafia” are a little off target, but Cowell’s untold wealth, power and influence is the kind largely enjoyed and shared by members of another form of secret society, a society that is dedicated to an agenda aimed at global control.
Is Cowell a Showbiz/culture representative for a hidden Elite? Is he a designated Culture Assassin with a mission to dumb-down the world’s youth and destroy a music scene which has been used as a voice-piece and form of expression by young people for almost 60 years?
As many researchers, whistle-blowers and witnesses have claimed, this secret Elite operates within a dark, hidden world that goes far beyond the confines and clichés of Big Business and political machinations. In a bid to grasp every last morsel of control from an unsuspecting global population, this cabal has adopted techniques and methods that, to the unfamiliar eye, would beggar belief. One such technique is the applied, scientific use of Mind Control – also known as: MK Ultra.
Many of it’s origins reach back to the 1930s and ‘40s when Hitler’s Nazi regime began conducting live experiments on inmates at concentration camps at Auschwitz and Dachau. The victims were subjected to electro-shock, trauma-bonding, hypnosis and a variety of drugs. Following the end of World War Two, many of the top Nazi scientists who pioneered these techniques were brought over to the United States under the guise of ‘Operation Paperclip’, a secret program which was used to recruit Nazi experts from all fields of science. The aim of this covert operation (which was directed by the Office of Strategic Services – later to be re-named, the C.I.A.) was to deny German scientific knowledge and expertise to the USSR and the UK (as well as Germany). Backed by then-President Truman, ‘Operation Paperclip’ gave birth to many initiatives and organisations, including NASA (which was headed by Nazi rocket scientist and decorated war hero, Wernher von Braun).
According to official accounts, ‘MK Ultra’ began in April 1953 under the orders of CIA director Allen Dulles. With the ‘Cold War’ gaining pace between America and Russia, U.S. authorities were keen to use this mind-control technique on captured Russian spies and prisoners of war during interrogation. Millions of dollars were invested in these experiments, many (if not the majority) of which were conducted on unknowing participants.
Much of this secret operation became public in 1977 when an investigation was launched by the U.S. Senate Select Committe on Intelligence. One of the members of the committee included Senator Ted Kennedy, who said:
“The Deputy Director of the C.I.A. revealed that over thirty universities and institutions were involved in an “extensive testing and experimentation” program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens “at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign.” Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD to “unwitting subjects in social situations.”
Any chance of finding out the full, unadulterated facts surrounding MK Ultra, and how it was administered by the U.S. authorities, have been severely hampered due to a decision made in 1973 by the C.I.A.’s then head Richard Helms, who ordered all files regarding this project to be destroyed. Only 20,000 documents survived this purge, due to them having been incorrectly stored in a financial record building.
Helms’s efforts to block the public from finding out the full facts has led to much speculation about what really went on. For example, many researchers and first-hand witnesses have claimed that MK Ultra was more than just about extracting information from prisoners of war, and was actually used for a multitude of purposes ranging from creating (through ’brainwashing’) ‘robot-like‘ assassins (as documented in the movie, ‘The Manchurian Candidate‘), sex slaves and prostitutes (for the purpose of bribing top political figures into submission), drug-running, and spreading disinformation through the mass-media.
In recent years, researchers have also claimed that the world of entertainment has been an integral part in all of this.
In their bid to take control of our everyday lives, the so-called ‘Elite’ have been accused of going as far as to using (mind-controlled) Pop/Rock singers and movie actresses as unwitting agents in their bid to bring about a collapse in the basic moral values of society through the promotion of sexual promiscuity in the young, social upheaval, and a breakdown and lack of respect for the traditional ‘family unit’.
And this is – perhaps – where Simon Cowell appears in the ugly equation.
On taking a look at his life and career, there are certain ‘tell-tale’ signs that indicate Cowell is an active participant in the ‘handling’ of mind-controlled singers and artistes.
For example, there are notable and credible ‘clues’ to be found in his past relationships with women. And what about his ‘stable’ of star-acts borne from his TV-talent shows? Are they too unwitting (’controlled’) victims being used by Cowell to cheapen the cultural landscape of everyday life and bring about false dreams and hopes in the minds of millions of youngsters?
Cowell’s life-story appears to be entwined within a vast, tangled web of connections that link into other conspiracies and conspirators. In fact, a number of his closest friends and colleagues have also been accused of similar suspicious activities (as well as Satanism and murder). On closer inspection, this interweaving web is so long that it requires a great deal more than one solitary page on a website to investigate.
PART TWO: ‘MIND CONTROL HANDLER?’
**ADDENDUM (June 2011):
Shortly after completing this article, a number of stories and articles appeared in the mainstream media and on the internet which cast a critical eye over Cowell and his ‘…..Got Talent’ series.
The apparent backlash began in late May 2011 when it was revealed that Cheryl Cole (one of Cowell’s judges on the hit show) had been “sacked” from the U.S. version of the series. A number of media articles claimed that Cowell was to blame – although he strenuously denied this at the time, and insisted the decision to axe Cole was made by American TV bosses. Cowell’s recent series of shows were also attacked by TV critics who claimed the choice of judges were dull and uninspired.
Potentially more damaging are the allegations made via an anonymous internet article which claimed the most recent UK series of ‘… Got Talent’ was already “fixed” in the favour of contestant Ronan Parke to win.
The article is believed to have been written by a Sony/BMG employee based in Germany. It claims that ‘Syco’ talent scouts spotted Ronan two years ago and brought him on to ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ – with the plan to fix it for him to win.
The internet attack on Syco describes the alleged “manipulation of, not only the show and the contestants, but also the viewing public“. It also alleged that Ronan’s hairstyle, clothing and mannerisms were all choreographed.
Cowell has denied the allegations, labelling it a “smear campaign”. Cowell’s lawyers were reported to have made a formal complaint to the police about the allegations, and it is believed that the German equivalent of the FBI is also involved.
It is far too early to assess whether the latest media backlash against Cowell and his TV shows will continue, or whether they will have a lasting or damaging effect on his career. Undoubtedly, a number of weeks – and even months – will have to pass before a conclusion of any form can be made.
Regardless of the latest backlash, and how this will effect Cowell‘s power and popularity, it is clear his legacy has been assured. The changes he has helped to bring about in the music industry and in our cultural landscape will take months and even years to change.
– Conspiro –
*(Original article written: May 2011)*
2009: ‘The year British indie guitar music died’: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/10004881
Rock anthems vanishing from chart:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11212418