The expression "pulled from the headlines" does not only apply to Law & Order episodes and lifetime films. Songwriters throughout the history of pop music have been inspired by real stories of murder and chaos to craft their melodies. From old folk ballads to modern trap bangers, true crime songs shock and excite us and force us to look at the darkness that lurks everywhere. Here are 14 of the best examples.
. 1 "Nebraska" // Bruce Springsteen
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. 2 "Georgia Lee" // Tom Waits
"Why Didn't God Watch?" In this 1999 ballad, Tom Waits asked about Georgia Lee Moses, a 12-year-old black girl who was kidnapped and murdered in 1997 in Petaluma, California. Moses was dropped out of school from a troubled home, and hardly anyone noticed when she noticed it disappeared. "Georgia Lee has received no real attention," Waits said in 1999 to LA Weekly . "And I wanted to write a song about it."
. 3 "Annie Christian" // Prince
Through confusing synthesizers and a cut beat, Prince refers to a handful of true crimes in this 1981 parable about evil in society, which was included on his album Controversy . The title character – whose name is a play about "Antichrists" – is apparently responsible for a number of child murders in Atlanta, the attempted murder of Ronald Reagan, the murder of John Lennon and even the high-level corruption uncovered by the government. Abscam investigation of the FBI.
. 4 "Stagger Lee" // Lloyd Price
On December 25, 1895, William "Billy" Lyons and his buddy "Stack" Lee Sheldon threw drinks back in a bar in St. Louis. They started arguing about politics, and Billy yanked the white Stetson from Stack's head. When Billy refused to return the hat, Stack shot him. The murder made Stack (alternately known as "Stagolee", "Stack-O-Lee", "Stack O & # 39; Lee" and "Stagger Lee") an American people's anti-hero. He has been immortalized in hundreds of songs by artists from Ma Rainey to Nick Cave. R&B singer Lloyd Price reached number 1 on Billboard Hot 100 with "Stagger Lee" from 1959, the most famous story in this timeless story.
5. "1913 Massacre" // Woody Guthrie
Woody Guthrie wrote this plaintive 1941 folk ballad about the 1913 Italian Hall Disaster that took place at a Christmas party for striking miners and their families in Calumet, Michigan. Someone shouted "fire!" 73 people were killed in the crowded hall, most of them children. It is not known who gave the wrong call to fire, but many people – including Guthrie – believe that it is an anti-union agent who wants to spoil the party.
. 6 "Suffer Little Children" // The Smiths
Steven Patrick Morrissey grew up in Manchester, England in the 1960s and was haunted by the "Moors Murders", a cruel series of child murders by the married couple Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were committed. Morrissey reviews three of the five victims in "Suffer Little Children," a song about the case that was released on his band's self-titled debut album The Smiths in 1984. Morrissey's lyrics caused much controversy, but the singer claimed he meant no harm. He even made friends with Ann West, the mother of Lesley Ann Downey, one of the children killed.
. 7 "Darkness" // Eminem
Depending on your point of view, Eminem condemns or glorifies gun violence in the immediately controversial "Darkness" of 2020. Eminem raps this novel-like song from the perspective of Stephen Paddock, the gunner who performed at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival killed 58 people in Las Vegas before allegedly pointing the gun at himself. "You will never find a motive, in truth I have no idea," raps Em. "I am just as perplexed, no signs of a mental illness." The music video ends with a message asking fans to vote and contribute to the amendment of American gun laws.
. 8 "Brenda has a baby" // 2Pac
2Pac was moved to write this harrowing hip-hop classic from 1991 after reading a newspaper article about a 12-year-old Brooklyn girl who dumped her newborn baby in a trash press threw. (The child miraculously survived.) In an interview with The New Yorker Pac said he saw the song as a political statement about poverty, child abuse, drugs and other issues. "It was about how innocent those who get hurt are," he said.
. 9 "Deep Red Bells" // Neko Case
"He led you to this hiding place," sings Neko Case to open this 2002 country noir stunner. The "you," she told the New York Times Magazine (19459003) in 2009, is one of the young women that Gary Ridgway, a.k.a. the "Green River Killer" who killed in the 80s and 90s. Ridgway is said to have murdered at least 49 women, including many prostitutes and runaways. Case, who grew up in Tacoma, Washington, before Ridgway was arrested, carried a knife with him to school.
10th "Son of Sam" // Dead Boys
For a year that started in July 1976, New Yorkers feared the "Son of Sam", a mysterious figure that killed six people with a .44 caliber revolver murdered and the police mocked with handwritten letters. In August 1977, the police arrested murderer David Berkowitz, who claimed to have received the murderous orders from his neighbor's dog. (Berkowitz later admitted that the story was fake.) Cleveland-born punk rocker Dead Boys from New York City seem to accept and paint Berkowitz’s initial explanation for the murders of their 1978 play “Son of Sam” infamous serial killer as a helpless slave (at least in his own mind) demonic forces.
. 11 "I don't like Monday" // The Boomtown Rats
On the morning of January 29, 1979, a 16-year-old San Diego girl named Brenda Ann Spencer opened fire on Grover Cleveland Elementary School. The hotel is directly opposite her home , It killed two people and injured nine others, eight of them children. When asked why she did it, Spencer said to a reporter, "I don't like Monday. It invigorates the day." When Bob Boomof, the frontman of The Boomtown Rats, heard this, he rushed "I don't like Monday" a sad answer to the futility of everything, the song reached number 1 in the British charts.
12. "Wildside" // Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg followed his chart winner in 1991 "Good Vibrations" with "Wildside", a series of musical vignettes about the sad state of the nation, relates to two real crimes that shook his hometown Boston, firstly the murder of a pregnant woman named Carol Stuart by her husband Charles, the one blamed the fictitious black man for the murder, hoping to put the insurance money in his pocket, followed by the tragic death of 12-year-old Tiffany Moore, who was shot and killed by drive-by shooting.  13. "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." // Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens' concept album from 2005 Illinois refers to many famous people from Prairie State, including serial killer John Wayne Gacy Jr., who murdered at least 33 boys and young men in the 1970s. Interesting – and a little worrying – is how tenderly Stevens sings about the man known as the "killer clown". "I felt insurmountable empathy not in his behavior, but in his nature, and there was nothing I could do to confess that, as terrible as it sounds," said Stevens in a 2005 interview.
14. "Hurricane" // Bob Dylan
In court of public opinion, Bob Dylan's epic song "Hurricane" from 1975 made a major contribution to the elimination of Ruby "Hurricane" Carter, an African-American boxer accused of murdering three whites in Paterson was convicted. New Jersey, 1966. Carter always kept his innocence, and Dylan's song accused the racist criminal justice system of having arrested a man who "could be the world champion". After being released in 1976 and sentenced again in a second trial, Carter was finally released in 1985 when a federal judge ruled that the prosecution had based her case on "racism instead of reason and disguise instead of disclosure".