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Some of your favorite songs could be based on true crime stories, and you may not even know it. Listen to some of the darkest songs ever written here.

True crime: The musical? The darkest songs written about popular cases

If you’re a true crime fanatic, you may have already binge watched all the documentaries, films, and TV series based on all the crazy murderers & crimes as well as read all the articles, stories, and conspiracy theories. However, have you also heard all the music based on these frightening cases? 

Believe it or not, some of the most famous songs ever are inspired by true crime cases, and you may not even know about it. One of your favorite songs could very much be on this list. Find out the true, scary meanings behind these classic songs here. 

“Suffer Little Children” by The Smiths

If you’re a fan of The Smiths, surely you’ve probably fallen asleep to the emotional, yet haunting melody that is “Suffer Little Children”, but did you know that the song is actually based on the Moors Murders carried out by Ian Brady & Myra Hindley during the early to mid 60s? During this time, both these individuals kidnapped, tortured, sexually assaulted, and murdered five children. 

Their bodies were then buried by Brady & Hindley in the vast Saddleworth Moor in Northwestern England, and since then, only three of the five deceased children’s bodies have been found. Just read the lyrics to the song’s heartbreaking opening: “Over the moor, take me to the moor/Dig a shallow grave/And I’ll lay me down.”  It’s a devastating song to a horrendous true crime case. 

“Zombie” by The Cranberries

“Zombies” is the most popular song by the 90s Irish rock band The Cranberries, and to this day the single still remains a well-known hit. However, the story that inspired this masterpiece of a song is pretty dark. The Cranberries wrote this single based on a bombing in Warrington, England in 1993 by the Irish Republican Army when two bombs placed in trash cans by the IRA detonated and killed two young boys. 

They wrote this song out of mourning & anger for the two innocent children, who were three-year-old Jonathan Ball & twelve-year-old Tim Parry. The opening lyrics read: “Another head hangs lowly/Child is slowly taken/And the violence caused such silence” In a 1994 performance, Dolores O’Riordan said: This song is our cry against the violence in London, against the war in the north of Ireland. And we want it to stop”. 

“Then Came the Last Days of May” by Blue Öyster Cult

“Then Came the Last Days of May” is one of this famous rock band’s most popular songs. You can easily jam out & sway along to the beautiful instrumentals of this song, but if you listen deeper to the lyrics, you’ll hear the song is not as lighthearted as it sounds. Blue Öyster Cult was inspired to create this song after hearing about the shooting & murder of college students in a drug deal that went wrong. 

Buck Dharma, the band’s guitarist, actually knew one of the students that was a part of this true crime scene and recalled writing the song once he read about the case in the college town’s local newspaper. The situation happened when three students went to Tucson, Arizona to purchase marijuana in bulk from two drug dealers who ended up luring them into the desert and shooting them. Two passed but one managed to survive.

“Then Came the Last Days of May” ultimately told the story of how the situation went down from beginning to end. The lyrics in the middle of the song read: “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?” Surely, next time you hear this song, you’ll be listening a little harder to the lyrics. 

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