15 Famous Songs That Were Based On Or Inspired By Heinous Events

·6 min read

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1."I Don't Like Mondays" by Boomtown Rats was inspired by the crimes of Brenda Ann Spencer:

Brenda Spencer being escorted into custody

Lyrics: "(Tell me why) I don't like Mondays? I wanna shoot the whole day down."

On January 29, 1979, Brenda Ann Spencer opened fire on an elementary school across the street from her home. She injured nine students and killed two administrators. When asked for her reasoning / motive for the crime, Spencer responded, "I don't like Mondays."

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2."Hurricane" by Bob Dylan was inspired by the wrongful imprisonment of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter:

A promotional boxing photo of Hurricane by Bob Dylan

Lyrics: "The man the authorities came to blame for something that he never done. Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been the champion of the world."

In 1967, middleweight boxer Hurricane Carter was wrongfully accused of a triple homicide in New Jersey. He served 19 years in prison before his conviction was overturned.

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3."Georgia Lee" by Tom Waits was inspired by the death of Georgia Lee Moses:

An info card on Georgia Lee Moses

Lyrics: "Lonesome was the place where Georgia was found, she's too young to be out on the street."

On August 22, 1997, the body of 12-year-old Georgia Lee Moses was found near an onramp in Petaluma, California. She'd been missing for nine days before she was discovered. Her death remains unsolved.

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4."Nebraska" by Bruce Springsteen was inspired by the murder spree of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugit:

A candid photo of Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugit

Lyrics: "I saw her standin' on her front lawn just twirlin' her baton. Me and her went for a ride sir and ten innocent people died."

In 1958, Charles Starkweather and his teenage girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugit, went on a spree and killed 10 people, including the parents and two-year-old sister of Fugit.

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5."Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine" by The Killers was inspired by the crimes of Robert Chambers, aka the Preppy Killer:

Robert Chambers going into the court room

Lyrics: "There was no motive for this crime, Jenny was a friend of mine."

On August 26, 1986, the body of Jennifer Levin was found in Central Park. Robert Chambers, aka the Preppy Killer, plead guilty to manslaughter after the jury couldn't convict on second degree murder. Jennifer was a classmate and romantic partner of Robert Chambers.

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6."Suffer Little Children" by The Smiths was inspired by the Moors Murders committed by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley:

Mugshots of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley

Lyrics: "Lesley Anne, with your pretty white beads, Oh John, you'll never be a man and you'll never see your home again."

Between 1963-1965, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley abducted, tortured, raped, and killed five children, the youngest of whom was 10-year-old Leslie Ann Downey.

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7."Shankill Butchers" by The Decemberists was inspired by the crimes of the Shankill Butchers in Belfast:

A stock photo of a bloody butcher knife

Lyrics: "The Shankill butchers on the rise, they're waiting until the dead of nights, they're picking at their fingers with their knives and wiping off their cleavers on their thighs."

Between1975-1982 in Belfast, The Shankhill Butchers, a group of Ulster loyalist, kidnapped, tortured, and murdered random or suspected Catholic civilians — their bodies were found with their throats slit with a butcher's knife.

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8."Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes" by Sun Kil Moon was inspired by the crimes of Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker:

Richard Ramirez showing his pentagram tattoo in open court

Lyrics: "Bludgeoned people to death and wrote shit on their skin and left 'em, they finally got him and he went to San Quentin."

Between 1984-1985, Richard Ramirez terrorized the residents of California. In total, the Night Stalker burglarized, raped, and murdered over fifteen children and adults. He was sentenced to death, however he died from natural causes while on death row.

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9."Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson was also inspired by the crimes of Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker:

Richard Ramirez getting arrested and escorted out of his home

Lyrics: "As he came into the window, the sound of a crescendo, he came into her apartment, he left the bloodstains on the carpet...it was her doom."

A common practice of the Night Stalker was to burglarize the homes of his victims — either picking the locks or breaking in through a window.

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10."I Just Shot John Lennon" by The Cranberries was inspired by the murder of the Beatles singer at the hands of Mark David Chapman:

A mugshot of Mark David Chapman

Lyrics: "With a Smith and Wesson .38 John Lennon's life was no longer a debate."

On December 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman murdered John Lennon outside of The Dakota in New York City. When asked if he knew what he did after committing the crime he responded, "Yes, I just shot John Lennon."

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11."Deep Red Bells" by Neko Case was inspired by the crimes of Gary Ridgway, aka the Green River Killer:

Gary Ridgway in the courtroom for his trial

Lyrics: "All those like you who lost their way, murdered on the interstate, while the red bells rang like thunder."

Between 1982-1998, Gary Ridgway raped and killed at least 49 — and upwards of 71 — women, most of whom were sex workers.

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12."An Execution" by Siouxsie and the Banshees was likely inspired by the crimes of Countess Elizabeth Báthory:

A portrait of Countess Elizabeth Bathory

Lyrics: "The young countess looked up, barely restraining a giggle."

Between 1595-1609, Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Báthory tortured and killed anywhere between 65 and 650 young girls and women. She is considered to be the world's most prolific female murderer, even though the true number of her victims is undetermined.

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13."Killer" by Phoebe Bridgers also alludes to the crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer:

Jeffrey Dahmer being escorted into the courtroom for his trial

Lyrics: "Sometimes I think I'm a killer. I scared you in your house. I even scared myself by talking about Dahmer on your couch."

A motivation Dahmer had for his crimes pertaining to keeping his victims after death was so that they could never leave him / abandon him.

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14."Evil" by Interpol was inspired by the crimes of Fred and Rosemary West:

A mugshot of Rosemary West

Lyrics: "Rosemary, Heaven restores you in life."

Between 1967-1987, Fred and Rosemary West raped, tortured, mutilated, and killed at least 13 young girls who sought lodging from the West's; three of their victims were their own children.

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15.Lastly, "The Way" by Fastball was inspired by the deaths of Lela and Raymond Howard:

Archived photo of Lela and Raymond Howard

Lyrics: "You can see their shadows wandering off somewhere. They won't make it home, but they really don't care. They wanted the highway, they're happier there today."

In June 1997, Lela and Raymond Howard set off for the Pioneer Day Festival in a neighboring town. When their children hadn't heard from them, they reported the Howards missing and, a few days later, their bodies were found in their car at the bottom of a ravine 350 miles away from home. It's believed that Lela — who was suffering from Alzheimer's — got lost and took a wrong turn.

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