Last week I published my personal list of crime themed songs covering the time up to 1980. Today I continue this project with songs from 1980 to 1999. So without further ado, here we go:
- Peter Gabriel – Family Snapshot (1980)
‘Family Snapshot’ was inspired by ‘An Assassin’s Diary‘, a book based on the diary of Arthur Bremer who attempted to kill an Alabama Governor in 1972.
- Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska (1982)
This song is based on the true case of Charles Starkweather who killed eleven people between 1938 and 1959.
- Tom Waits – Frank’s Wild Years (1983)
- Midnight Oil – Beds are Burning (1987)
The history of Australia is rife with violence against indigenous peoples. One of these peoples are the Pintupi who were displaced between the 1940 to 1980s. Midnight Oil chose this group as an object for their song, creating a powerful appeal for reparations and justice.
- The Smiths – Shoplifters of the World Unite (1987)
Slavoj Žižek, incidentally, published an essay about the London riots called ‘Shoplifters of the World Unite’ in 2011.
- Tracy Chapman – Behind the Wall (1988)
- NWA – Fuck tha Police (1988)
- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds & Kylie Minogue – Where the Wild Roses Grow (1995)
- Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dog – 2 Of Americaz Most Wanted (1996)
- The Dixie Chicks – Goodbye Earl (1999)
I’ve just realized that all songs by female artists on this list deal with gendered forms of violence and women as victims (albeit not very passive ones in the case of the Dixie Chicks). Apart from ‘Midnight Oil’ all the songs by male artists focus on a perpetrator perspective. Of course that is mainly my fault, since I selected these songs. However I can’t see any way to remedy this flaw, since I can’t think of a single good song by a female artist that deals with crime from a perpetrator perspective. Anyone have any suggestions?