Inspiration for music and lyrics comes from almost everywhere, even then dark and dismal world of murder. There are countless songs written about murder, we have chosen 5 of our favorate songs written about murder and listed them below.
1. Sonic Youth, “Death Valley ‘69”
Charles Manson has inspired enough song to get a his own list in itself. This one by Sonic Youth, a duet with Lydia Lunch, is on this list of songs written about murder, simply because of it how creepy it is. With twisted lyrics like ‘And you wanted to get there / But I couldn’t go faster I wanted to get there / But you couldn’t go faster / So I started to hit it you couldn’t go faster / So I started to hit it’ with of Lunch’s voice and the addition of Richard Kern’s dark artistic videography you come out with one very creepy moment in indie rock history.
2. Neko Case, “Deep Red Bells”
Gary Ridgway, murdered 48 women in Washington State and California in the 1980s and 1990s. He was dubbed the Green River Killer by newspapers as his victims were found in the Green River. These crimes occurred when Neko Case was a young child growing up in Tacoma. She wrote Deep Red Bells for one of Ridgway’s victims, and it is very chilling; much like any classic murder ballad. The lyrics manage to balance the song with overwhelming compassion, and vivid imagery, “When speckled fawns graze ‘round your bones / Who took the time to fold your clothes / And shook the valley of the shadow?” This song only gets further unsettling when you consider Ridgway was, without any links to this song, actually arrested shortly after it was recorded, in November 2001.
3. Nirvana, “Polly”
Gerald Friend, who was also suspect in the Green River Killer case, kidnapped and victimised a young girl who revived a ride from him after a rock concert in 1987. Kurt Cobain read about the story in the paper and this song; “Polly” during production of Nirvana‘s 1989 debut album, Bleach. Its acoustic style didn’t quite fit with Bleach’s heavy and abrasive sound, so it was decided to be released later. In 1991 Nevermind came out and it was included in that album. One certainly doesn’t need to know why the song was written to feel the song’s bleakness, but once you understand the true nature the words it becomes that much more sobering.
4. The Smiths, “Suffer Little Children”
Witnesses of the Moors murders, Maureen Hindley and David Smith helped create the cover on Sonic Youth’s Goo to The Smiths’ “Suffer Little Children'” while there are endless of references to Myra Hindley and Ian Brady in music. The complexly of the lyrics pull of the heart strings. “Suffer Little Children” presents as a magnificent closing song on The Smiths’ self titled 1984 debut. Opening with Johnny Marr’s pleasant guitar, leading you into a false sense of security, it takes a wild turn with Morrisssey’s unchained voice. At for example; the disembodied laugh of a child at the end of the song. This is a great example of being able to create horror in a very unlikely setting.
5. The Killers, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine”
The Killers singer Brandon Flowers has been quoted as saying he was inspired by Morrissey to write songs about murders. It makes sense why, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” is just one of the three songs that makes up what’s known as the Killers’ “murder trilogy.” This song write for Robert Chambers’ murder victim; 18-year-old Jennifer Levin, who he killed New York City in 1986. While some think The Killers are sell out, making music to please the masses, especially at the time of their 2004 debut Hot Fuss. “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” is a solid rock, proving there was something behind the Las Vegas glitz of some of the songs the band is well known for.
What songs written about murder do you think should have been included in our list? Comment below.
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