For your crime playlist needs, we've compiled a list of songs inspired by crimes of passion. The following six songs were borrowed from real cases of murder-suicides and brutal killings committed by those close to the victims.
1. Violent Femmes - "Country Death Song"
Inspiration for this song came from a 1862 newspaper clipping about a father who threw his own daughter in a well before hanging himself in a barn. Frontman Gordon Gano started writing its lyrics in study hall when he was in high school. It is written from the murderer’s perspective.
2. Aerosmith - "Janie’s Got a Gun"
This tune is about a fictional girl named Janie who takes revenge on her dad, killing him, after being sexually abused by him. Even though the lyrics don’t depict one real case, Steven Tyler has stated that he was inspired by a Newsweek article on gunshot victims, as well as victims of child abuse and incest in general. The line "He jacked a little bitty baby" was originally "He raped a little bitty baby.” In the radio version, the line "...and put a bullet in his brain" was often changed to "...and left him in the pouring rain.” Tyler said he wanted to do an homage for those who suffered abuse from their family members.
3. Insane Clown Posse - "Chris Benoit"
Chris Benoit’s murder-suicide inspired this tune. Benoit was a WWE wrestler who killed his wife Nancy Benoit and strangled their 7-year-old son Daniel before killing himself. The murder-suicide occurred over a span of three days. Nancy was the first killed after she was bound at the feet and wrists before dying of asphyxiation. Daniel also died of asphyxia, killed in his bed. Benoit committed suicide in his weight room, using weight lifting machine to break his own neck. The crime led to a federal investigation into steroid abuse in professional wrestling.
"It's about insanity... This song is not made to glorify Chris Benoit in one iota," Violent J said about the song in an interview. "It's about the sudden loss of sanity that could happen to anybody, and it obviously happened to Chris Benoit."
4.The Killers - "Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine"
The Killers' debut album Hot Fuss features this tune, inspired by the murder of Jennifer Levin in 1986. Her body was found strangled and bruised in Central Park. She was killed by the “Preppy Murderer” Robert Chambers Jr. Chambers received the “Preppy Murderer” nickname because of his privileged upbringing and prep school past, and he claimed that Jennifer’s death was an accident caused by consensual “rough sex” in the park. The murder sparked a media frenzy, and stories about drugs and sex on the Upper East Side of New York City. Chambers was sentenced to jail for manslaughter.
5. Rasputina - "Ballad of Lizzie Borden"
In 1892, Lizzie’s father and stepmom were found axe-murdered in their home. Lizzie was arrested and tried for the axe murders, and later acquitted in 1893. The crime was never solved but Lizzie remained the prime suspect. The infamous killing inspired a popular children’s skipping-rope rhyme as well as this song in 2011.
6. Tom Waits - "Murder in the Red Barn"
Maria Marten thought she was about to elope with her lover in England in 1827. Instead, her sweetie William Corder shot her to death at their meeting point, a landmark called Red Barn. He penned letters from Marten to make it seem like she was still alive. Eventually her body was found in the barn, and Corder was sentenced to death. The case inspired Tom Waits to write "Murder in the Red Barn," only in his song the setting is the American deep South.
[Photo of Chris Benoit courtesy of Getty Images]
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