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Nothing odd about a scream in a song called “Rollercoaster”

Ohio Players — near-naked women, yes; murder, no

Oh One of Endless Knowledge: In a recent musical-intellectual discussion, it was brought to our attention by a colleague that in the song “Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players there can be heard a blood-curdling scream of a woman. Our colleague went on to say that the woman was actually being murdered in the studio during the recording of this song. It was also said that this was reported on the news. Can any of your sources tell us if this is a true story or not? — Faye, UCSD

Reported in the Weekly World News, maybe. Don’t think CNN covered it. File this one under “Funky Snuff — Teen Fantasies Division.” It’s a story that circulated in various forms beginning in the late ’70s. Strictly an urban legend originally cooked up by unreliable teens who are now middle-agers still spreading around the same bad information. It somehow just sounds more reasonable when it’s coming from someone who’s going bald. The scream in the song is real — what’s so odd about a scream in a song called “Rollercoaster”? — but the story may derive from the Ohio Players’ inclination to put seductive, near-naked women on their album covers. And no, I don’t believe the scream is coming from the severed head in the previous question. Well, somebody had to say it.

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Oh One of Endless Knowledge: In a recent musical-intellectual discussion, it was brought to our attention by a colleague that in the song “Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players there can be heard a blood-curdling scream of a woman. Our colleague went on to say that the woman was actually being murdered in the studio during the recording of this song. It was also said that this was reported on the news. Can any of your sources tell us if this is a true story or not? — Faye, UCSD

Reported in the Weekly World News, maybe. Don’t think CNN covered it. File this one under “Funky Snuff — Teen Fantasies Division.” It’s a story that circulated in various forms beginning in the late ’70s. Strictly an urban legend originally cooked up by unreliable teens who are now middle-agers still spreading around the same bad information. It somehow just sounds more reasonable when it’s coming from someone who’s going bald. The scream in the song is real — what’s so odd about a scream in a song called “Rollercoaster”? — but the story may derive from the Ohio Players’ inclination to put seductive, near-naked women on their album covers. And no, I don’t believe the scream is coming from the severed head in the previous question. Well, somebody had to say it.

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