Friday Open Thread: Killer Songs

Spinner did a countdown of the 20 Most Killer Songs, meaning songs that involve murder. Naturally, there are some country titles on the list.

Johnny Cash is at #1 with “Delia’s Gone” and at #16 with “Folsom Prison Blues.” Anyone who thinks that those two songs should be switched should check out the video for “Delia’s Gone” that I’ve embedded below. It might make you reconsider, especially when he suggests other men follow his lead when dealing with “devilish” women.

Meanwhile, other country artists also made an appearance. Lyle Lovett came in at #11 with “L.A. County” and, of course, the Dixie Chicks are at #19 with “Goodbye Earl.”

Good selections, but they only scratch the surface of the murder songs in country music history. Porter Wagoner’s “The Cold Hard Facts of Life” is my personal favorite, but his itchy trigger finger showed up in many other songs, including the very disturbing “The First Mrs. Jones.” Dolly Parton and Jeannie C. Riley took the same path Wagoner did, killing off cheating lovers in “J.J. Sneed” and “Ballad of Louise”, respectively.

What are your favorite “Killer” songs?

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23 Comments on Friday Open Thread: Killer Songs

  1. dwight yoakam’s “buenas noches from a lonley room/she wore red dresses” from his same titled album is a triple killer song:
    – killer story
    – killer instrumentation and players
    – killer voice

    to me, still one of the most awesome songs – period.

  2. Miranda Lambert’s Gunpowder and Lead is the first to come to mind at the moment.

  3. The unforgetable “independence Day” by Martina McBride is at the top of my list. Otheres that come to mind are “Goodbye Earl” by the Dixie Chicks and “The Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks.

  4. Reba’s remake of “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia”
    Or we could take “killer” in a different sense and put up Alan and George’s duet of “Murder on Music Row”

  5. CharlieNo Gravatar // July 11, 2008 at 7:34 am //

    “Kim” by Eminem has to rank as the most chilling and detailed killing song. “Dance with the Devil” by Immortal Technique too.

    As for country, I like Delia’s Gone for its matter-of-fact delivery. “First time I shot her, I shot her in the side”

  6. “Delia’s Gone” is pretty awesome. I also like “Papa Loved Mama” from Garth Brooks. “The River And Me” is another good one (I wish Tim McGraw had released it rather than three of the songs that he released instead).

  7. Charlie Robison – “Loving County”
    David Serby – “You’re Not Goin’ Anywhere”
    Jason Eady – “Redemption”

    Those spring to mind, but I’m sure more will come to me. Killer topic, by the way.

  8. Leeann,

    Have you ever heard the Warren Brothers original version of that song?

    Also, Sting’s “I Hung My Head” is a song about murder and Cash recorded that one as well.

  9. Matt, no, I haven’t heard their version. I don’t follow them at all.

  10. I still prefer Lambert’s “Kerosene” to “Gunpowder & Lead,” although I’ve never figured out what the narrative to the former says, exactly. Aside from that, I really love Robert Earl Keen’s “Whenever Kindness Fails.”

  11. I couldn’t help myself, I had to go through my library and pick out some more.

    Ralph Stanley – “Little Matthie Grove”
    Chris Knight – “Rita’s Only Fault”
    Dale Watson – “Justice For All”
    Randy Rogers Band – “Tommy Jackson”
    Johnny Cash – “Highway Patrolman”
    Marty Robbins – “They’re Hanging Me Tonight”
    Johnny Cash – “Cocaine Blues”
    Tom Russell – “Tonight We Ride”
    Johnny Horton – “When It’s Springtime In Alaska (It’s Forty Below)”
    Doc Watson – “Little Sadie”
    June Carter Cash – “Tall Lover Man”

  12. I just remembered Vince Gill’s “Molly Brown.” Dark stuff.

    I love Cocaine Blues!

  13. Here are a few more:

    Eric Church – “Lightning”
    Steve Earle – “Devil’s Right Hand”
    Marty Robbins – “El Paso”
    Chris Knight – “Framed”
    J.B. Beverley and the Wayward Drifters – “Before They Get Those Cuffs On Me”

  14. I love Chris Knight’s “Framed” too!

  15. pchcowboyNo Gravatar // July 11, 2008 at 12:46 pm //

    “Radio Lover” by George Jones
    “Pardon Me, I’ve Got Someone to Kill” by Johnny Paycheck

  16. “Pretty Polly” -Dr. Ralph Stanley/Patty Loveless

  17. RainbowNo Gravatar // July 11, 2008 at 1:47 pm //

    “Bobby” by Reba.

  18. Can we just go ahead and list chris knight in general?

  19. There’s another one by ‘pop/rock’ guy. It’s called “Jealous Man” and the artist is Tyronne Wells. He sings really well and it’s sort of like “Lightning” but better.

  20. Erik NorthNo Gravatar // July 11, 2008 at 8:45 pm //

    Merle Haggard–“The Legend Of Bonnie And Clyde”

    and from the UK:

    Georgie Fame and the Blue Fames–“The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde” (1968)

  21. Here are the lyrics to one of the more unusual death threat songs! This was Elton John taking a back handed swipe at Texans as he percieved them back in the 1970’s:

    Elton John – Texas Love Song:
    I heard from a friend you’d been messing around with a cute little thing I’d been dating uptown. Well I don’t know if I like that idea much. Well you’d better stay clear I might start acting rough.

    You out of town guys sure think you’re real keen. Think all of us boys are homespun and green. But that’s wrong my friend, so get this through your head, we’re tough and we’re Texan with necks good and red.

    So it’s Ki yi yippie yi yi You long hairs are sure gonna die. Our American home was clean till you came and kids still respected the president’s name! And the eagle still flew in the sky, hearts filled with national pride. Then you came along with your drug-crazy songs. Gawd-damit you’re all gonna die!

    How dare you sit there and drink all our beer. Oh it’s made for us workers who sweat spit and swear. The minds of our daughters are poisoned by you, with your communistic politics and them negro blues.

    Well I’m gonna quit talking and take action now. Run all of you fairies clean out of this town. Oh I’m dog tired of watching you mess up our lives, spending the summertime naturally high.

    So it’s Ki yi yippie yi yi You long hairs are sure gonna die. Our American home was clean till you came and kids still respected the president’s name! And the eagle still flew in the sky, hearts filled with national pride. Then you came along with your drug-crazy songs. Gawd-damit you’re all gonna die!”

    I wonder if Elton ever performed that song to any audiences in Texas? Hmmmm….

    (PS – Forgive me for the length of that post, but things were slowing down on this thread…)

  22. I have to agree with Leeann…Vince Gill’s “Molly Brown” is a killer song….no pun intended!

  23. I was listening to a Eleven Hundred Spring album that I just bought, as suggested by people at the9513, and there’s a fun killer song called “Ten To Life” on it.

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