Motocultor: where does the sign of the horns made by the mayor of Carhaix come from?

The clenched fist, the index and the little finger raised: who would have bet one day to see Christian Troadec, the Carhaisian mayor, make the sign of the horns with his hand? The photo was taken on the occasion of the signing of the convention between the city of Carhaix and the metal festival, Motocultor, which will take up residence in Finistère for the next two years at least.

But by the way, where does this famous sign come from that any regular rock or metal concert has necessarily already seen?

The sign of the horns, also called devil horns, is a sign of rallying or approval. (Photo archives Emmanuel Schmitt)

Gene Simmons and Ronnie James Dio: the origins of the sign of the horns

If it is attested that the origin of the gesture dates from Antiquity, its meaning in the world of music is obviously much more recent. The sign of the horns first appeared on the back cover of an album by the Coven group: “Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls”, in 1969.

In the 70s, two musicians from well-known bands, Kiss and Black Sabbath, popularized the gesture. Gene Simmons, bassist and singer of the first group, even claimed paternity in 2017 before withdrawing his request two years later. Ronnie James Dio, singer of Black Sabbath, then made it a distinctive sign. “I will never say that I take credit for being the first to do so. It’s because I did it so much that it became the symbol of rock’n’roll, in a way, ”he admitted in an interview in the 2000s, taken up by the specialized magazine Rock & Folk.

Other signs used in the world of music

Sign very close to the horns of the devil, that of ILY (meaning “I love you”) is sometimes confused with. On the cover of the album “Yellow Submarine”, John Lennon does it: in addition to the index and the little finger, here is the thumb extended to form the three letters.

Another sign of the hands but which is obviously not born of the music: the V. That Ozzy Osbourne, among others, made his own. The former singer of… Black Sabbath – Ronnie James Dio’s predecessor – had made it his gimmick.

More recent, more… French too: Jul’s sign has established itself as a classic among the younger generations. It was the Marseille rapper who invented it by joining his hands to form his pseudonym. To the point of being used all the time for a few years.

For Franceinfo, Mehdi Maïzi, a specialist journalist, explained that, in rap, “the hand sign refers to a neighborhood or a well-defined area”. Thus, 2Pac made a W with his fingers representing the West Coast. In France, other rappers like Booba, PNL or the Belgian Damso also went there with their gestures taken up by their fans.

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