Skip To Content

    16 True Crime Stories That Are So Morbid, People Wrote Songs About Them

    You’ll never hear these songs the same way again.

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community which songs they were shocked to learn are actually based on true crime stories. Here are the songs that might have a darker meaning than you originally thought:

    Warning: Submissions include mentions of murder, rape, suicide, violence, and stalking.

    1. "Zombie" by the Cranberries is based on the 1993 IRA bombing in Warrington, England.

    Lyrics: Another head hangs lowly, child is slowly taken.And the violence caused such silence, who are we mistaken?"
    Universal Music Group

    Suggested by: lemon8chubs

    The Irish Republican Army (IRA) planted two bombs in trash cans that detonated on a busy street, killing 3-year-old Jonathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry. Dolores O'Riordan wrote the song out of mourning, anger, and frustration in their memory.

    2. "Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith)" by Bastille is based on the Truman Capote novel In Cold Blood, which is a novelization of the real-life murder of the Clutter family in 1959.

    Lyrics: These four walls will keep you until you face the rope. You've only these four walls before they, in cold blood, hang you up."
    Ki Price / Getty Images / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by: sra18

    Former inmates Dick Hickock and Perry Smith snuck into the Clutters' farmhouse in the middle of the night, tied up the family of four, shot them all at close range, and slit the father's throat. They expected to find a safe full of cash, but only left with a Zenith radio, a pair of binoculars, and less than $50.

    3. "Bang Bang" by Le Tigre is based on the 1999 NYPD shooting of Amadou Diallo.

    Lyrics: Wrong fucking time, wrong fucking place. There is no fucking way, this is not about race. Who's gonna call 9-1-1 when they can't tell a wallet from a motherfucking gun?
    Richard Harbus / Getty Images / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by: faithinhumanityrestored

    Amadou Diallo, who was 23 years old at the time, was shot 41 times by NYPD officers who claimed they thought he had a gun. It was actually his wallet.

    4. "Hey Man, Nice Shot" by Filter is based on the 1987 suicide of former Pennsylvania State Treasurer R. Budd Dwyer, who shot himself on live TV during a press conference.

    Lyrics: Now that the smokes gone, and the air is all clear, those who were right there had a new kind of fear.
    Reprise Records

    Suggested by: a46c3fdf1e

    In 1986, Dwyer was convicted of bribery and sentenced to 55 years in prison. He held a press conference the day before his hearing and maintained his innocence before pulling a revolver out of a paper bag and taking his own life.

    5. "That Night" by Atmosphere is based on the 2003 rape and murder of a 16-year-old fan who attended one of their shows in New Mexico.

    Lyrics: She was sixteen, another young angel with clipped wings. She came to the shows, but I never met her. Don't even know if she was listening. That night, we lost a supporter. That night, somebody lost a daughter.
    Frank Hoensch / Redferns / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by: kasetikal

    Marissa Mathy-Zvaifler was lured backstage by a venue employee who told her he'd introduce her to the band. He proceeded to rape and murder her before hiding her body behind a soda machine. Atmosphere rapper Slug said that Marissa's murder was his "transition to try to be a more responsible artist, not just to the audience but to myself.”

    6. "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam is based on the 1991 suicide of Jeremy Wade Dell, a high school student who shot himself in front of his English class.

    Lyrics: Try to forget this (try to forget this). Try to erase this (try to erase this) from the blackboard. Jeremy spoke in class today
    Universal Music Group

    Suggested by: whitneyg4839b1b46

    Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder wrote the song after reading a newspaper article about Jeremy, but did not reach out to his family for their blessing.

    7. "The Killing of Georgie (Part I and II)" by Rod Stewart is based on the real-life hate crime and murder of a gay man Stewart was acquainted with.

    Lyrics: Out of a darkened side street came a New Jersey gang with just one aim,
to roll some innocent passer-by, There ensued a fearful fight, Screams rang out in the night, Georgie's head hit a sidewalk cornerstone
    Universal Music Group

    Suggested by: margannlaurissa

    Stewart told the Guardian that since he "wasn't on the scene when it happened," he "embellished a bit," but the real-life Georgie who was killed was a good friend of his former keyboardist.

    8. "Suffer Little Children" by the Smiths is based on the Moors Murders carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between 1963 and 1965.

    Lyrics: Over the moor, take me to the moor, dig a shallow grave, And I'll lay me down
    Pete Cronin / Redferns / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by: Shelby Heinrich

    Brady and Hindley abducted, tortured, sexually assaulted, and murdered five children, burying each of their bodies on the vast Saddleworth Moor in Northwestern England. Only three of the five bodies have been found.

    9. "I Don't Like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats is based on the 1979 Cleveland Elementary school shooting carried out by 16-year-old Brenda Spencer.

    Lyrics: The silicon chip inside her head gets switched to overload, And nobody's gonna go to school today, She's gonna make them stay at home
    Columbia Records

    Suggested by: hybridh

    When asked by why she decided to open fire on the school, Brenda said, "I just don’t like Mondays…I did this because it’s a way to cheer up the day.”

    10. "Then Came the Last Days of May" by Blue Öyster Cult is based on the shooting and murder of three college students in a drug deal gone wrong, one of whom the guitarist, Buck Dharma, knew personally.

    Lyrics: It wasn't until the car suddenly stopped in the middle of a cold and barren place, and the other guy turned and spilled three boys blood. Did they know a trap had been lain?
    Tom Sheehan / Sony Music Archive via Getty Ima / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by: stairwaytothestars

    The three students went to Tucson, Arizona, to buy marijuana in bulk from two drug dealers who ultimately took them out into the desert and shot them. Two died and one managed to survive. Buck Dharma recalled writing the song after reading about the incident in the college town's local newspaper.

    11. "Hurricane" by Bob Dylan is based on the 1967 false murder accusation and imprisonment of John Altis and professional boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who ultimately spent 19 years in prison for a crime they didn't commit.

    Lyrics: Here comes the story of the Hurricane, the man the authorities came to blame for somethin' that he never done. Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been the champion of the world
    PBS

    Suggested by: shebitch

    Three white people were attacked and shot in 1966, and despite the dying victims not being able to identify either of them, Altis and Carter were ultimately convicted of the crime in 1967 and sentenced to life in prison. Bob Dylan wrote the song eight years later after being sent a copy of Carter's autobiography.

    12. "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" by the Killers is rumored to be based on the 1986 strangulation and murder of Jennifer Levin, also known as "the Preppy Murder".

    Lyrics: I just can't take this, I swear I told you the truth. She couldn't scream while I held her close, I swore I'd never let her go
    Rob Loud / Getty Images

    Suggested by: newlyhuman

    In the case, 18-year-old Jennifer met 19-year-old Robert Chambers at a bar in New York City, and went for a walk with him in Central Park. The next day, her half-naked body was found. In his confession tape, Chambers tried to claim that Jennifer died during consensual sex. He said, "I didn't mean to hurt her, I liked her very much."

    13. "Possession" by Sarah McLachlan is based on actual letters she received from an obsessive fan.

    Lyrics: And I would be the one to hold you down. Kiss you so hard, I'll take your breath away. And after, I'd wipe away the tears. Just close your eyes dear
    RCA records

    Suggested by: gaelicmaiden

    The fan told McLachlan that she was "betrothed" to him from birth and that he would "stop at nothing to achieve their destiny." When he recognized the content of his letters in her songs, he attempted to sue her, but ultimately took his own life before there was a trial.

    14. "Nebraska" by Bruce Springsteen is based on Charles Starkweather and Carli Ann Fugate, who murdered 11 people in 1958.

    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
    VH1

    Suggested by: srahs

    Fugate still claims she was never a willing participant in the murders, and asked for a full pardon in 2020.

    15. "Cassie" by Flyleaf is based on the death of Cassie Bernall, a victim of the 1999 Columbine shooting.

    Neil Lupin / Redferns / BuzzFeed

    Suggested by: brittswan

    Eric Harris allegedly asked Cassie if she believed in God before shooting her, and she allegedly responded, "Yes."

    16. And finally, "Georgia Lee" by Tom Waits is based on the murder of a member of the BuzzFeed Community's very own sister.

    Lyrics: Cold was the night, hard was the ground. They found her in a small grove of trees. Lonesome was the place where Georgia was found, she's too young to be out
    David Corio / Redferns

    “The song is about my sister who was murdered in 1997. The first time I heard it was almost 10 years ago — I could only listen to once. Unfortunately, my sister’s murder is still unsolved.

    I wonder if Tom knows that my sister’s name wasn’t Georgia Lee, but Georgia Leah. The police got her name wrong on her death certificate, thus an inaccurate gravestone, 23 years of believing my sister was Georgia Lee Moses, and a song title named for who the world thought my sister was.

    #JusticeForGeorgiaLeeMoses #GeorgiaLeahMoses"

    angellt

    Do you know any songs based on true crime? Share them in the comments.