Uri Geller ~ The Album

Weird Musical History #7

In the early 1970s a young Israeli self-proclaimed psychic called Uri Geller made his first appearances in Britain, gaining tabloid headlines and demonstrating his supposedly supernatural powers on TV. The superpower that Geller became best known for was the rather prosaic one of bending spoons with the power of his mind, simply by gently stroking the metal. The amazing ability to bend cutlery with one’s psychic power was dubbed ‘The Geller Effect’.

My family and I watched one such television demonstration and saw Uri stroke a spoon gently before it began to wobble and bend before our eyes. He told his TV audience to try it for themselves. Like many across the country, I did and to my parents’ amazement, I found that I too had the ability to bend spoons with the power of my mind.

I accomplished this feat in the same way that Geller did. I waited until no one was looking and bent the spoon by force then wobbled it in my hand to make it look like it had turned to jelly, pressuring it with my thumb for a bit of extra bend.

Geller’s fame was such that he gained the attention of several high profile scientists who tested and supposedly validated his powers in their laboratories. Of course, clever physicists would never be outwitted by cheap conjuring tricks… would they?

Anyway, by 1975 the world was ready for Uri Geller – the album. I listened to it so that you don’t have to.

A cross between Donovan and Charles Manson

The music on the LP is composed by two of Geller’s friends. One is Byron Janis, a world-celebrated American pianist, most known for his performances of Chopin. Janis believed Geller had helped him contact the spirit of Chopin one time when Geller, Janis and some friends were holding Chopin’s death mask – a plaster cast made from the dead composer himself. As they held it, Janis claims, tears started trickling from its eyes. Janis tasted the tears and they were salty. They also saw bubbles surface on the mask’s mouth.[i]

If you’re wondering what made poor old Chopin drool and weep, it could well have been this album.

The second composer is Del Newman who was arranger to stars like Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Paul Simon, Elton John, Donovan and many others. Uri himself provides the lyrics.

Uri doesn’t sing though. He whispers his new agey cosmic verse as if he’s trying to hypnotise you. The first track has Uri exhort us to ‘Come on and Love’ sounding creepily like a cross between Donovan and Charles Manson, though this is possibly being unfair to both those parties.

As pianos and strings swell, Uri intones that he is ‘Floating in deeeeep, velvet, black spaaaaccceeee….’

The best track is the ‘The Day’ which is the cold war apocalyptic closer to side one. It’s Geller’s Book of Revelations and against a backdrop of ominous spacey noises and gurgling 70s synths he warns us about the day that…

The mist became so heavy sunken

Sunk so deep above

The colours dropped to nothing burnt

Again and sown the fields

The fields that grew these colours yellow…

In one song (‘The Lonely Man’) Uri ignores his producer’s injunction not to sing and he tunelessly warbles a few phrases, which may not make your spoons bend, but will make your toes curl.

It’s only when we get to the final track on side two that we get what we’ve been waiting for – how to bend stuff with your mind. ‘Inner cosmos outer space, they have no ending’, Uri explains before instructing us to pick up something, ‘…maybe a fork, a spoon or a key’. Hold the thing in your hand, he tells us, as syrupy strings weep and groan, while repeating in your mind:

‘Bend….. Beeeennnnddddd….’

Unfortunately, he missed a key part of the instructions – cheat!


Speaking of cheating, the inside of the gatefold sleeve has a photo of Geller with Professor John Taylor, a well-known physicist of King’s College, London. Above the photo is a letter from Dr Taylor describing how he has tested Geller’s metal bending abilities in his university laboratory and how ‘the Geller Effect’ is ‘clearly not brought about by fraud’. He thinks Uri’s magic powers are such a challenge to orthodoxy that it could ‘destroy’ the scientific establishment.

Professor John Taylor (left) and Uri Geller (from the inside gatefold)

In fact, Professor Taylor studied 38 psychic metal benders (mostly children) in his lab. He noted one curious aspect of the phenomenon that he dubbed ‘the shyness effect’. For some mysterious reason the bending of the metal only seemed to occur when the ‘psychics’ were not being observed. Funny that.

Another believer, Harry Collins, a sociologist from the University of Bath, carried out a similar experiment but observed the test subjects through a one-way mirror.[ii] Guess what.

They cheated.

[i] Byron Janis, Chopin and Beyond: My Extraordinary Life in Music and the Paranormal (Wiley Publishing: New Jersey, 2010) pp.181-183

[ii] David Marks, The Psychology of the Psychic (Prometheus: New York, 2000) pp.195-196

Published by Paul Weatherhead

Author of Weird Calderdale, musician and songwriter

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