Any Sheryl Crow fans out there? If so, you no-doubt love her big breakthrough record, unoriginally called Sheryl Crow. A few years ago, I noticed something very strange about that record. First, there's a song called "Redemption Day" that contains these lyrics:
There is a train that's heading straight
To heaven's gate, to heaven's gate
And on the way, child and man,
And woman wait, watch and wait
For redemption day.
OK, nothing particularly strange about that. But there's another song on the same record ("Maybe Angels") that's all about waiting for aliens to come rescue the character who is singing: "I swear they're out there ... My bag's all packed in case they ever come for me ... I'm heading down to Roswell to wait and see..."
So we've got a song about someone who thinks aliens are coming to take her away and another song that repeats the phrase "heaven's gate" over and over in reference to "redemption day."
Maybe some of you reading this have already made the connection to the cult that went by the name Heaven's Gate, who thought an alien ship was hidden just behind the Hale-Bopp comet. The leader of the sect, Marshall Applewhite, had convinced his followers that the alien ship was coming to take them away. In March of 1997, thirty-eight members of the group, including Applewhite, committed suicide, believing they'd reached their own redemption day -- all of them wearing arm patches that said "Heaven's Gate Away Team."
But Crow's album was released in September of 1996, six months before any of this happened, which means she was writing these songs a year or more before the sect received any media attention.
If any readers can offer a reasonable explanation for this, I'd love to hear it. Sheryl, do you read Huffington Post?
Follow Christopher Ryan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sexatdawn