The acclaimed podcast Serial concluded last night and has had fans on the edge of their seats during its first season with its in depth investigation of the 1999 murder of Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee. It’s success is no surprise as nearly all humans share a morbid fascination with murder, which has manifested itself in art from the tragedies of ancient Greece through the “Murder Ballads” of the 17th century and modern day cable dramas such as Dexter and True Detective. Killers, and particularly serial killers, became a favorite song topic of punk rock bands in the late ’70s.
This makes perfect sense when you consider the American punk epicenters of New York City and Los Angeles lived under the threat of The Son Of Sam and Hillside Strangler respectively. Of course as the 1980s dawned and heavy metal took over, it’s preoccupation with life’s dark side found amble subject matter in the exploits of serial killers, past and present. Check out 13 songs about some of the sickest serial killers of all time and make sure you lock your door at night and look over your shoulder when you’re out alone, late at night.
The Dead Boys “Son Of Sam”
These CBGB regulars released this song within months of the arrest of David Berkowitz A.K.A. The Son Of Sam, whose mugshot can be seen at the top of the page and who spread fear throughout New York City’s 5 boroughs in the summer of 1977, eventually killing six and wounding seven others.
Judas Priest “The Ripper”
The metal gods kick it old school on this tribute to Jack The Ripper, who in many ways was the first serial killer of the modern era, and killed 5 and possibly more women in the late 1800s in London’s East End.
Slayer “Psychopathy Red”
Never ones to run from controversial and bloody minded subject matter, the thrash masters penned this ditty about Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, who brutally murdered a minimum of 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990.
The Hollywood Squares “Hillside Strangler”
One of three punk anthems dedicated to serial killing cousins Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono who raped, tortured and killed 10 ten women during a four-month period in late 1977 and early 1978 in the greater Los Angeles area.
Jane’s Addiction “Ted, Just Admit It”
L.A. alt rockers named this song after brutal serial killer Ted Bundy, whom is also sampled on it, who confessed to 30 murders of young women and was possibly guilty of many more during the mid-1970s.
The Mentally Ill “Gacy’s Place”
Illinois boys sing a pre-hardcore tome to “Killer Clown” John Wayne Gacy Jr., who killed at least 33 young men and boys between 1972 and 1978 in the Chicago suburbs, when not entertaining children at charity events dressed as Pogo The Clown.
John 5 “Noche Acosador”
Though a delicate Spanish guitar piece, this song’s title translates in English to “Night Stalker,” the name for serial killer Richard Ramirez whose series of home invasion rapes and murders terrorized Calirfonians in the early 1980s.
The Adverts “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”
Though not really a serial killer, Gilmore was sentenced to death for two murders and was the first person executed in 10 years in the United States. Following his death, assorted body parts of his were donated to people seeking transplants, hence the song.
Soulfly “Jeffrey Dahmer”
One of many songs about the “Milwaukee Cannibal,” who raped, murdered, dismembered, and in some cases ate 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.
Mudvayne “Nothing to Gein”
A nu metal ode to Ed Gein, who may have only killed 2 women but made headlines for digging up dead bodies and removing their skin, which he would then fashion into clothing and wear a “woman suit,” providing the real life basis for The Silence of the Lambs fictional serial killer Buffalo Bill.
Sonic Youth with Lydia Lunch “Death Valley ’69”
Not sure if Charles Manson and The Family are technically serial killers, or just spree killers, however there’s no debating this bloody video and cacophonous early track evokes the horror of The Family’s desert hideaway.
Throbbing Gristle “Leeds Ripper”
The pioneering English industrial band made a habit out of exploring life’s ugly extremes, including this track about English serial killer Peter William Sutcliffe, actually known as “The Yorkshire Ripper,” who was convicted of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others in 1981.
These Chicago grind merchants have made a career of singing about murderers of all types, including this number about the Zodiac Killer, who terrorized Northern California at the height of the hippie era.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]