I'm Only Sleeping by the Beatles has a rather impressive backwards guitar solo in it. This seems like a rarely-used technique; even Jimi Hendrix's "Castles Made of Sand" uses the backwards guitar simply as an effect, and the solo guitar line throughout is mostly not reversed.

So what other songs feature instrumental solos that are actually played backwards, as opposed to brief "effect" moments of reverse-tape?

4 Answers 4


I imagine this question is impossible to answer in full, but there are few examples I can think of off the top of my head or I was able to find fairly easily via Google.


"Give It Away" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers features two different sections with a backwards guitar.

"Are You Experienced?" by Jimi Hendrix actually has an entirely backwards solo, rather than just backward effects like "Castles Made Of Sand".

"Cosmic Dancer" by T. Rex closes with a minute-long backwards guitar solo.

I've managed to find a thread on Steve Huffman Music Forums that discusses other songs with backwards guitar.


Though the bass solo on "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon is brief, the second half of it is actually a backwards recording of the first half.


A few songs I can think of with reversed vocals that are solo length, rather than just a line or two, are "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" by Ol' Dirty Bastard and "Gloryhallastoopid (Pin The Tale On The Funky)" by Parliament. The former features a verse by ODB in reverse, while the latter features George Clinton repeating different versions of the phrase "I'm Wellington Wigout".

The Beatles' "Rain" has a few lines of backwards vocals at the end of it.

The song "Empty Spaces" by Pink Floyd also features reversed voices, but they aren't sung. It's actually a phone message that contains the following message:

– Hello, Luka [hunters]... Congratulations. You have just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the Funny Farm, Chalfont...

– Roger! Carolyne's on the phone!

– Okay

  • Adding to the Marc Bolan thread - "Deboraarobed" was the entire song forwards then backwards. I have it on an old vinyl copy (which I no longer have a player for:( & managed to find a YouTube link for it - youtube.com/watch?v=5dSazFK3uNY
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 9:58
  • Man, I'd listened to "Are You Experienced" years ago but hadn't noticed that at the time. That's pretty awesome. Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 18:02
  • That bass solo trick is subtle. How did you catch it? Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 0:22
  • @KyleStrand I was searching for songs with backwards guitar and stumbled across this article: heartwoodguitar.com/great-backwards-moments-in-rock Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 15:05
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    For the vocals section, Missy Elliot's "Work it" prominently features a reversed vocal in the hook. Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 15:03

The song Misunderstood by Dream Theater features a doubled backwards guitar solo at 4:45. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdpCnRSeshU

It's interesting to listen to the reversed audio (that is, the original recorded solo tracks, but with all the other reversed) in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kx4CF6NDxtE

  • Man, that sounds weird both ways! Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 16:25

Money (the Beatles song) by the Flying Lizards, has a backwards sax solo. And a great snare drum sound too.



"Armenia City In The Sky" by The Who on "Sell Out" album 1967

  • 1
    Hi Chuck, could you add a little more details on your answer? Also a link to hear the song would be great.
    – Bebs
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 8:13

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