Mental Floss

6 Songs Used to Torture & Intimidate

Danny Gallagher
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Playing an annoying song over and over to get someone to spill their guts might sound like a gag from a Mel Brooks movie, but it's actually become a standard practice. An article by an NYU musicologist in the Journal of the Society for American Music details how music was regularly used in interrogations on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan as a method of inducing disorientation to get suspects to talk without inflicting physical force. Here are some of the songs used by military and law enforcement entities to get their suspects to sing.

1. Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA"

It should stand as no surprise that a large majority of the songs used in Guantanamo Bay consisted of seemingly patriotic ditties like Springsteen's most famous American anthem. One Spanish citizen accused of being linked to the terrorist network Al-Qaida claimed his interrogators played this song the majority of the time during his entire two year stay in the Cuban prison. However, Clive Stafford Smith, the legal director of the UK human rights charity Reprieve, noted that it may not have been the most patriotic choice since "the message of the song is harshly critical of American policy, condemning the war in Vietnam and describing a veteran's efforts to find work."

2. Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty"

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Dirrty_CD_cover /

3. Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Were Made for Walking"

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4. AC/DC's "Shoot to Thrill" and "Hells Bells"

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hells-bells /

5. Anything by Barry Manilow

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6. Barney the Dinosaur's "I Love You"

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Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, humorist, reporter and piano man living in Texas. He can be found on the web at dannygallagher.net, on MySpace at myspace.com/dannygahatesmyspace and on Twitter at twitter.com/thisisdannyg.

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