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The “Love Rollercoaster” scream

Let’s take a break from fads to present to you an urban legend. Have you heard the song Love Rollercoaster by American funk/R&B band The Ohio Players? It was featured on their 1975 album, Honey. Of course you have. During the instrumental break (around 2:32 and 2:36), you can hear a high-pitched scream. According to an urban legend, it was not singer Billy Beck, but a human being murdered. Hmm, let’s discuss.

Some explanations have been presented as it was an individual that was killed previously and inexplicably the band/technicians looped her scream into the track. Another explanation is that someone outside the studio killed a rabbit. The rabbit’s scream was picked up and included into the track. But the most popular explanation is Ester Cordet. She appeared nude on the cover of Honey and had been badly burned by the super-heated honey that they used for the photo shoot. This photo shoot occurred simultaneously with the recording session. Suffering permanent disfigurement from the burns, she came in and interrupted the recording and threatened to sue. This led the band’s manager to stab her to death in the control room. All of these scenarios are highly unlikely, especially since Ester Cordet is still alive.

The urban legend first appeared from Casey Kasem’s reporting on his radio show, American Top 40 while the single was charting in 1976. Jimmy “Diamond” Williams described the scream as, “There is a part in the song where there’s a breakdown. It’s guitars and it’s right before the second verse and Billy Beck does one of those inhaling-type screeches like Minnie Riperton did to reach her high note or Mariah Carey does to go octaves above. The DJ made this crack and it swept the country. People were asking us, “Did you kill this girl in the studio?” The band took a vow of silence because you sell more records that way.”

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