I guess it’s a terrible reflection on society that there is so much attention given to serial killers. I mean most adults in the western world would not struggle to name at least two serial killers off the top of their head. Considering 24 news coverage and the ridiculous fascination with crime scene related drama, it really is no wonder that having an interest in serial killers is completely socially acceptable. So with that in mind, really just me justifying having such a tasteless list, not that I have to, you clicked on it, lets get down to business.
In this list I have covered the best and I believe most interesting songs about serial killers. There are thousands out there and many from the same genre. Who knew that heavy metal would draw such influence from bloodbaths? Not I. So, rather than run down a generic list I have tried to pick songs across the board to fill this list. Enjoy, as much as one can/should.
To begin, the Prince of Misery himself:
Jack the Ripper-Morrissey
Classic Morrissey dripping with anguish yet juxtaposed with the most malice lyrics like ‘I know a place were no one is likely to pass’. Morisseys focus on the iner-turmoil gives you the uncomfortable feeling of being within the beast and accidently empathizing. It also captures the fear surrounding the anonymous nature of the Ripper with the lyrics ‘Nobody knows me”. Terrific and unique interpretation of the serial killer tune. Win for Moz. I’m going to call him that. I think he would hate it.
*I think the cake I am eating is stale. (unrelated, or is it)
Old Mean, Ed Gein – The Fibonaccis
A female voice addressing Charles Manson and telling him of Ed Gein, this is a terrifying premise for a song but an extremely interesting look at the cultural influence of these men. To further that point the narrator talks of Manson introducing her to certain music. This is because Manson himself was a musician and actually auditioned for the Beach Boys. I know that Brian Wilson is nuts but imagine Manson in the Beach Boys. Music History meltdown. Now obviously there is no denying the cultural influence of Ed Gein, more on that later but the idea of a 15 year old kid engaging with this topic with such affection is really creepy. I believe that is what makes this song so awesome. It is legit a good song and is currently stuck in my head.
Ed Gein- Killdozers
This is not a good song. The album title is in English so one may presume that so are the songs, but we will never know. Unintelligible. It had all the potential to be ‘Where’s me jumper?”- Sultans of Ping F.C. but instead sounds like Shane Mc Gowan of the Pogues, ate the Sultans and shat them out. But sure isn’t tht what punk is all about and in its own way isn’t it representative of the culture that allows for the idolation of murderers. Yes, these are all valid points. And now I have made them so you don’t have to. Ed Gein is a goldmine of cultural references. He is the bases of the characters Norman Bates of Psycho, Leatherface of chainsaw Massacres and Anthony Hopkins character from Silence of the Lambs. See that is how you take life and make art from it. Screaming for a minute, I expect better from punk. Also Gein was a bad bastard.
Gacy’s Place – Mentally Ill (NSFW)
A screaming torrent of noise that would eventually lead any sensible individual to acts of violence, I appreciate their passion but I don’t know to what end they are progressing. I think there might be a more productive means of getting their message across. Im joking, it does what it is supposed to, though wouldn’t have hurt to be a little more articulate. It tells you little of the John Wayne Gacy Jr after whom it was name, except that he is ‘ fucking your kids’. To be honest if he ever got close to your kids, that unfortunately is accurate. More about that waste of human life shitbag later. There were only 300 of these singles release on there original run however so if any of you have one get in contact.
Son of Sam – Chain Gang
The beginning of this song is reminiscent of the sound of sirens so I from the start think it is wicked. It encapsulates the tension and fear surrounding having a person like this on the loose. Well it should do as while this song was being recorded the band members spent their time hanging out on the streets looking for Son of Sam, because of the 30k reward. In the song the band address a woman telling her to get a gun. This woman came running towards them saying that Son of Sam tried to kill her inspiring this song. Actually this particular case opened up a really interesting debate about the moral implications of giving media attention to murders and led to the introduction in New York of the ‘Son of Sam law’ . Its worth reading up on. Anyway I think that connection to the events makes this a particularly appropriate addition to this list.
I Don’t Like Mondays- The Boomtown Rats
This is one of my favourite songs. It was actually while listening to this on repeat that I decided to do this list. This song is about the school shooting by Brenda Ann Spencer who went to school in Grover Cleveland Elementary in San Diego in 1979 at age 16 and killed 2 adults, 8 kids and a cop. Bob Geldof said he was inspired to write it after hearing the girl being interviewed. The journalist simply said ‘tell me why?’. Brendas now famous response was “I don’t like Mondays”, just like that, with no contrition. That idea is so striking and makes for an extremely powerful song.
John Wayne Gacy Jr-Sufjan Stevens
ALL of the trigger warnings
This is without a doubt the most tragically beautiful song about a serial killer ever. It tells the story of John Wayne Gacy Jr, who I told you I would get back to. This song will actually tell you in much more detail that I would be able to face going into about him, so im going to stick to the bear facts. Between 1972-1978 he raped and murdered 26 boys and hid them under his house. Now bearing that in mind Sufjans delicate description of these acts is a little to much for me to handle. However it deserves to be on this list because it is an incredible song.
Burke and Hare (traditional, kinda) sung by Robin Laing
I was initially going to include Burke and Hare- Screamin Daemon, and by all means listen to it, if you fucking hate your ears.
Then I found this little gem. This is exactly what I have been waiting for a lovely little scathing song by an old man about serial killers being bollocks. So back story, Burke and Hare where two irish immigrants that moved to West Port in Scotland in 1828. At the time there where not enough Cadavers for the town anatomist Knoxs to work. So showing a bit of initative the pair went out and killed some people to get the cash for the bodies. Anyway one sold out the other and they got hung. You will know about it, there was a recently released movie about it with Simon Pegg. What I love most about this song is with this serious subject matter. These guys killed like 16 people this dude singing the song has included the line ‘sure beats work said the lazy Burke’. Like that is really going to discredit them. I can forgive the killing but get a job you lazy bastard. It made me laugh. So I think that is a nice wee not to depressing note to end on. Its been wonderful, and I hope I havn’t scared you or inspired you in any way,
As always Notable Exceptions:
mentions serial killers, not really about them. wonderful song.
this was also supposed to have been inspired by Son of Sam but he was on the loose in ’77 and the original of this was out in ’74. Maybe in was what make them release it in 77.