There are tons of them. Mostly from the 50s and 60s, but they still write them occasionally. It's a phenomena that I find totally fascinating. Why are there so many songs about teenagers dying? When I did a net search on dead teen songs, I didn't come up with a single page. That has to change, and I am the one to do it. (By the way, a lot of this webpage originally started back in around 1997 and has been periodically updated with new additions since then - 2009 now.) This is some of the cheeziest (sic, yeah, I know how to spell it but I like it better that way) music ever written.
(Ok. late addition, I found one. And this one is a nice list with some good pictures on it. And I see that CNN has recently done a story on these, although I suspect that much of it was copied from this page (notice the reference to Hoodoo Gurus which sounds a whole lot like how I described it). But isn't that what Web 2.0 is all about, free content that other people write for you?).
Wow, and MSNBC looks like they just did an article with a link to here, said I had a good sense of humor about it too. Wondered why the heck my inbox was full of suggestions for new songs this morning (15 Sept 2007).
Here is a list of some of my favorites: (And I'll just add that some reader took me to task for supposedly hating 50s and 60s music and making fun of it. There is plenty of cheezy music on this list, and ok a few songs that I really hate, but I do like most of the stuff on this list and some of it is pretty great. So, I hope that settles that question. Do you have to disclaimer everything nowaways?)
Modes of death
Cars Motorcycles Trains Surfing Rivers Murder Disease Drugs War Suicide Guns Flying Other Near misses
Dead Man's Curve - Jan and Dean. (1964). Classic car racing and car crash song. Not really about love, unless you consider loving your car a true love sort of thing. Lyrics
Last Kiss - J Frank Wilson and the Caviliers. (1964). Recently redone by Pearl Jam in 1999, again proving the power of a good dead teen song. The car crashes and she dies in his arms. Some more research shows this was originally written in 1962 by Wayne Cochran and also performed in the 60s by the Cavaliers. Lyrics
Tell Laura I Love Her - Ray Peterson. (1960). He enters a stock car race to win money to buy her a ring, and of course it ends badly. Showing again, the dangers of wedding rings to teens, see Teen Angel for more on that. Lyrics
Tell Tommy I Miss Him - Marilyn Michaels. (1960). Apparently an answer song to Tell Laura I Love Her from the point of view of Laura. All I know about it is it is from 1960. If anybody knows about this song, let me know.
Update - I have been sent the lyrics to this song.
Further update - Those lyrics seem to be a bit wrong. Lyrics from the Laura Lee version.
Car Crash - The Avengers. (1981). Definitely the most rocking of all of these. 70s LA punk. (I've been called on this one since they come from San Francisco, but this refers to any of the California style punk as opposed to English 70s stuff). She gets the phone call that he died in a car crash. I think Penelope Houston was pretty young when they wrote this. Lyrics
Car Crash - The Frogs. Not sure about this one, since I've never heard it. Of course this link seems to be dead now. If you know what it is, let me know. I just found it on the web. It might be this band but I don't know for sure.
I Want My Baby Back - Jimmy Cross (1965). Yeah, we have the car crash, but at the end, months later, he is digging up the grave because he wants his baby back. The Hoodoo Gurus sort of swiped this concept later on in Dig It Up. Lyrics
Swiped this from the web somewhere: "An irreverent rocker named Jimmy Cross put an end to death songs when he recorded the parody ``I Want My Baby Back.'' Assuming the voice of a teen-age boy knocked unconscious in a wreck that claims his girlfriend, Cross intones:``When I woke up, I could see my baby over there, And over there, And waaaaaaaaay over there.'' The song ends with the grief-crazed lover disinterring his girlfriend while singing, ``I got my baby back.''"
Apparently a cover of this was banned from the BBC, "The Downliners Sect's 1965 EP, "THE SECT SING SICK SONGS" was banned for poor taste/morbidity; it included a cover of Jimmy Cross' - I WANT MY BABY BACK (where a necrophiliac boyfriend digs up & jumps in his girlfriend's coffin)"
I also swiped this: "Well, we were about three miles from home When all of a sudden it started to rain And I do mean rain I couldn't hardly see nothing #07) Jimmy Cross: "I Want My Baby Back" (1965)  The Genasys Team commented: "The ultimate in bad taste songs. He and his baby run into The Leader Of The Pack. His baby is killed, but after three months, he still misses her. The song ends with the sound of digging, then "Pay dirt!", followed by the sound of a coffin lid creaking open, and the chorus "I got my baby back".""
Two Hour Honeymoon - by Paul Hampton. (1963) I haven't heard this song, I lifted this description from the web. "On the same label as Chirco, an odd singer-songwriter. Already an experienced singer and actor when he recorded this album, Hampton began recording in 1959 and released over twenty 45s on various labels. One of them, Two Hour Honeymoon/Creams (Dot ) circa 1963, was a maudlin yet strangely effective rumination after a car crash where he talks to his girlfriend as he knows he's dying, set over a sleazy jazz track."
Looks like it is Burt Bacharach who wrote it. 'Or "Two Hour Honeymoon," a 1960 Paul Hampton death disk complete with car-crash sound effects and morbid spoken-word passages, which not only predates The Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack" but merges it with a swanky "Harlem Nocturne" coda.' Update Wow, I've heard it now. Total cheeze. And that horn is very swanky. Dean Martin would be proud. Lyrics
Car Crash - The Cadets. One I have never heard before. I just found the lyrics on the web. He drove too fast and crashed and now she is dead. Apparently, he must have been wearing his seatbelt or something, because it seems like there was not a scratch on him, especially if he can run around singing about it right after the crash. Lyrics
Don't Drag No More - by Susan Lynne. (1964). I suppose this isn't exactly a dead teen song. It is more the precursor to one. The girlfriend is begging him to give up drag racing. No doubt a song or two later he will end up going around Dead Man's Curve or no longer be the Leader of the Pack. (Capitol 45, 45-51983) Lyrics
Susie And Jeffrey - by Blondie. Car accident and tragedy strikes on their way to getting married in the middle of an argument. Although, I'm a bit confused as to what exactly what is going on in here. Who needs to be deprogrammed. I looked up Spahn Ranch too, it looks like the Manson gang used it as a hangout and it was used as a film location by early adult films. Strange. Lyrics
Dead Joe - by The Birthday Party. (1982). Nick Cave is fond of murder ballads and things getting smashed up. Were they teens, oh well, I'll allow it here. Welcome to the car smash. Lyrics
7-11 - by the Ramones. Totally cool, the Ramones did one too. He met her at the 7-11, went to the record swap, danced to the blitzkrieg bop, and then, alas, a car crash took her away from him. Lyrics
Chain Saw - by the Ramones. I'm not sure about this one. "Texas chain saw massacre, they took my baby away from me.. Maybe. Lyrics
53rd and 3rd - by the Ramones. This one probably fits more in murder ballads, turning tricks on a street corner (a notorous male prostitution spot) and ends up killing somebody (perhaps a customer) and is on the run now. Lyrics
(All I Have Left Is) My Johnny's Hubcap - by the Deltones. See, this is what happens when you drag race. He would still be alive if he hadn't waved going around that last corner. So, now all she has left is the hubcap, which she wears around her neck. Lyrics
Transfusion - by Nervous Norvus (1956). A reader suggested this one. I haven't heard it. It seems like late for a date, speeding in the car and ran a stop sign and crashed. I don't think he actually dies though, he just has to get a lot of blood. Lyrics
Objects in The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are - by Meat Loaf (1993). A reader pointed out that I had forgotten this one, which is true. It would be more accurate to say that I didn't know this one. I think the only Meat Loaf song I would actually recognize is that one with the baseball game in the middle of it, are you going to love me forever, blah blah blah. Sorry, I wasn't one of the millions in the 70s who bought Meat Loaf albums. But anyways, you know, just reading the lyrics is really boring. It looks like a car crash and somebody dies, but I can't be bothered to figure out the story and who dies and all that. Lyrics
Stereotype - by The Specials (1980). It is off their second album which wasn't as great as their first one, still it is pretty good. But this one says it is about someone who doesn't actually exist (get it, he is a stereotype) but still he ends up wrapped around a lamp pole on Saturday night as his mum is waiting for him to come home. As far as I can tell, he hadn't drank for 17 weeks because of what he was taking for VD then goes out and binges at the end. Lyrics
Detroit Rock City - by Kiss (1976). Ok, a reader suggested this one. Good call. I know the song, although I was never a Kiss fanatic like a lot of my other friends at the time. Although, their movie was pretty funny, maybe not intentionally though. But in this one, you have drunk driving on the wrong side of the road, presumably on the way to a Kiss concert. Lyrics
Nightmare No.5 - by Al Kooper. Ok, a reader suggested this one. I've never heard it but the reader said: a song about a 16-year old boy who died on the road. "The stranger's name was death" Lyrics
Hello This Is Joannie - by Paul Evans (1979). A reader suggested this one. In this one, a couple is arguing and then the woman dies in a car crash and he is leaving a message on her answering machine. Lyrics
Ernie ( The Fastest Milkman In The West) - by Benny Hill (1971). A reader suggested this one. Ok, he is totally not a teen, not even close. And Benny Hill personally really irritates me, mostly because he isn't really all that funny. But oh well, racing milk carts for the love of the widow. Lyrics
Warm Leatherette - by The Normal. A reader suggested this one. Apparently based on J.G. Ballard's novel Crash. I'm not sure, there is a bit of sex and car crashes. Does this one qualify as dead teens. Lyrics
Star Crossed Lovers - by The Mystics(1961). A reader suggested this one. I haven't heard it and I can't find the lyrics for it. The reader wrote The Brooklyn Italo-American doo-wop group known for "Hushabye" in 1959 recorded this tear jerker a couple of years later. Dealing with the subject matter hot in the news at the time, teenage runaways. this couple flee from their parents in an old car because her father and his mother disapprove of their relationship. Part recitation (slow rap) and part singing, a very stark, tragic, and poignant tale is told of how the young boy and girl "run out of money and run out of time". After driving all night, they "look to heaven to find their star;. They never saw the oncoming car". A haunting string arrangement closes with the statement "star crossed lovers; fate was unkind.. It is absolutely my favorite of the genre, not at all maudlin or affected or corny.
Untitled - by Simple Plan. A reader suggested this one. I've never heard the song or Simple Plan before. I'm slightly confused. It seems like a suicide song to me, but apparently the video has a car crash in it. Lyrics
Invincible - by Jesse McCartney. Another reader suggested one that I've never heard. Drinking lots and then driving around Dead Man's Curve. That's not going to end well. Lyrics
Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel - by Barenaked Ladies. I tend to find Barenaked Ladies rather annoying. Writing a dead teen car crash song should help, but well, it doesn't, they are still rather annoying. Lyrics
Days Of Graduation - by Drive-By Truckers. A friend pointed this one out. Some guy's best friend takes his girl for a joy ride and has a rather gruesome encounter with some sort of dead man's curve, and the rescue team could still hear Freebird playing much later. You know, it is a really long song. Wow. Lyrics
Radio - by Hackamore Brick. I haven't heard it and don't know much about it. From somewhere in the 60s. They are linked in Forced Exposure, so that cool. Apparently the guy is drag racing, listening to the radio and his girlfriend falls out the window and he doesn't notice. At least he won the race.
A Young Man Is Gone - by Beach Boys. The Beach Boys do a tribute to James Dean. I guess he embodies teenage rebel pretty well and he did love his car (to the death). Lyrics
Wreck On The Highway - by Bruce Springsteen. A great song about a young man dying on the highway, with imagined images of the state trooper breaking the word to girl friend or young wife. Lyrics
State Fair - by Doug Supernaw. A reader suggested this one. I haven't heard the song or Doug Supernaw before. The reader said For country kids like me, going to the State Fair was a huge event, highly anticipated. The fair was where you might take your first date, or even a sorta-date of the junior high variety. You felt dangerous and reckless, since, after the school bus or your folks dropped you off, you could enjoy an unsupervised day of fun. This song captures that innocent excitement well. Man - kinda chokes me up! . In the song, Calvin is killed by a drunk driver on the way to the State Fair. I grew up on the suburbs, so I'm not sure I can relate. I don't think I've been to a state fair before. I've been to Pennsylvania Grange (I think it was called) and the Stock Show in Denver though. Lyrics
Ballad of Thunder Road - by Robert Mitchum & Don Raye. A reader pointed this one out saying like, o'my god, you didn't post the one that started it all. I don't know, it doesn't have the classic element I like in a good dead teen song, mostly unrequited love, but you did have a young (presumably teenager) bootlegger trying to outrun the revenuers one last time and discovering Dead Man's Curve. Written and performed by Robert Mitchum as the theme song for the film Thunder Road. Link (Robert Mitchum is pretty cool, you have to see The Night of the Hunter, now there's a psycho film.) Lyrics
Teen Tragedy Medley - The Dovells. (1976). I'm not sure this counts. Not just because it is awful, which it is in a way that only a really awful Las Vegas nightclub act can be (they were opening for Jerry Van Dyke after all), but because it is just a medley of Teen Angel and Tell Laura I Love Her (with Bye Bye Baby thrown in at the end for some reason). There is no reason in the world anybody should ever have to hear this, but if you feel the need, WFMU has the entire album posted on their website. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Leader of the Pack . The Shangri-las. (1965). The boyfriend is no good and he conveniently goes off and gets himself killed. The relationship probably wouldn't have lasted. Lyrics
Leader of the Laundromat - The Detergents. And the parody of Leader of the Pack. Lyrics
Condition Red by the Goodies - Motorcycles and angry parents are a disaster for teens. He was such a nic. boy before he grew that awful beard and let his hair grow long. So, he goes away mad to the sounds of a motorcycle driving off and a crash and sirens after she sends him off because of what her parents think. Lyrics
Terry - by Twinkle (1965) - This sounds like a English version of leader of the pack. From 1965, reached #5 in Britain, and I guess she (real name - Marilyn Ripley or Lynn Annette Ripley, not sure which one is correct) was also dating Peter Noone (from Herman's Hermits) at the time. Lyrics
Reader's comment: "is truly awful, but lots of fun to hear. It has one of my favorite death-song lines of all time in it: 'One day he'll know how hard I prayed for him to live....'"
Black Denim Trousers - by The Diamond. - A motorcycle wreck on the highway song with the grieving girlfriend and all they found at the end was his clothes. Not really sure if this guy was a teen though. Lyrics
Reader's comment: "is one of the earliest examples of the genre that I've encountered. It was actually sung by the Cheers -- not by the Diamonds (unless the Diamonds covered it later). The Cheers are interesting because one of their members was Bert Convey, who later became a well-know actor."
Eye Of The Hurricane - by David Wilcox. I haven't heard this one. A reader suggested it. A woman hooked on speed on her motorcycle and meets a truck that ends her race, and her heart. The reader says: "GREAT folky/acoustic track, wherein a girl (age unknown, but she's riding a Honda hurricane--not exactly the prime ride for the Biker Mama 40+ gang) substitutes vehicular speed for the love so sorely lacking in her life. One night a careless asshole in an SUV veers too close and she gets dead. As motorcyclist myself (who dreams of finding a beautiful woman with her own [fast] motorcycle), I find this one to be a serious tearjerker. Plus, the musicianship and songwriting are top notch." Lyrics
Moulty - by The Barbarians (1966). It isn't totally a dead teen song, but one gets injured pretty badly. It is a pretty cool song though, so ok why not. The reader who suggested it said "this is actually an autobiographical song (a true one, I might add!) about how Moulty lost his hand in a motorcycle crash. That's why he had the hook. The fact it's all true is the eerie part." Looking around, it seems that it might have been a pipe bomb that actually took the hand, but either way, it is still kind of weird. So, a 1960 Def Leppard then. Lyrics Another reader has written with Just wanted to clarify the story behind "Moulty". Victor Moulton the lead singer of the Barbarians lives across town and I had the pleasure to meet him last year. According to him he lost his hand at the age of 14 while making a pipebomb (as you and I did as kids right?) it detonated prematurely and destroyed his hand. Not from a motorcycle crash. He still makes public appearances occaisonally and never tires of talking about the old days. He was one of about two drummers who had the distinction of being able to play the drums with a prosthetic hand. The other drummer whose name escapes me was in the band "Cryan' Shames" at the same time Moulty and the Barbarians were active.
Teenage Cremation - by Bob Hudson (1975) - I've just run across this one. It is sort of doo-wop, about a motorcycle accident, running into a truck at 100 miles an hour. For some reason it reminds me of Sha Naa Naa. I think it is supposed to be sort of funny in that hip ironic way. My best attempt at deciphering the lyrics. I think it is Australian, which might be why I hadn't heard it before.
Ok, update, I have been sent a version of this song from a record by Dean Middaugh in the late 60s in the midwest US. The basic song is the same, the lyrics are slightly different. Interesting, some of them seem to be distinctly British though, like "lorry". My best guess at the lyrics.
Moby Grape - by Motorcycle Irene (1968) - Pretty similar to Leader of the Pack from this 60s band. Hard to find a complete version of the lyrics, but with stuff like "ground around like hamburger, lyin' in a splat" "toes were in her hat", it ends badly for her. lyrics.
Bat Out Of Hell - by Meat Loaf - (A reader suggested this one). Sigh, more Meat Loaf. It seems that somebody ends up dead, missing a curve, after zooming off on their motorcycle, but then he is running away from his lover, like some relationships you will do anything to get out of it. Lyrics
Teen Angel - Mark Dinning. (1960) Couldn't he have gone and bought another ring. Not a very smart thing jumping in front of a train for that. Lyrics
A reader has told me that apparently there is a second version of this song. I've never heard it and know nothing about it. She said "There are actually 2 versions of this song, the one where she dies and one that comes after where he dies under similar circumstances" Guess at lyrics
My Baby's Dead - George Carlin. A reader suggested this one. I haven't heard this one before. Also, don't forget George Carlin's Top 40 radio sketch where he plays a new hit ("#1 & moving higher all the time") called "My Baby's Dead." He says it's by "that great new group from England, the Kansas City Boys," then that it's by "Danny & the Dressmakers, one of the great new groups around." (Later there was an English punk outfit called Danny & the Dressmakers, interestingly).... Lyrics
A Lifetime - Better Than Ezra - A girl crashes the car on the way to graduation. Ok, so high school, check. Then the guy sights her standing on the car at the wake (I guess like the song, Strange Things Happen, where the guy borrows the sweater from the dead girl) and she is singing an R.E.M. song. Must have been Everybody Hurts. Wasn't that the standard depressing song in the 90s? Lyrics
The Water Was Red - Johnny Cymbal (1961). Looks like she was killed in a shark attack in this one. This is all the lyrics I have for this one: "And the white fin came into sight The shark had struck and disappeared And left his sweetheart dead And as he pulled her to the shore"
Ok, I've heard it now. So, not only did his girlfriend get killed by a shark, but then he takes a knife and goes after the shark and is carrying the fin back to his dead girlfriend. I suppose that's a bit like if Mark Dinning in Teen Angel then went and kicked ass on the train. Lyrics
A Thousand Feet Below by Terry Tyler. This is all I know about this one - LANDA 679 Tyler, Terry-A Thousand Feet Below / Answer Me 10/4/61. Reader says: This was played by Top 40 stations in 1963-64, about a guy whose girl jumped off a cliff onto rocks "a thousand feet below," and he was planning to go "high, high up that mountain side" and join her."
Endless Sleep by Jody Reynolds. He has a quarrel with his girlfriend, she runs off down the cliffs to the ocean and presumably dies in the ocean somehow. Lyrics. Billy Idol version. So does anybody actually die in this one. I sort of read it that there is a death, but some people don't think so. But I could be wrong. Maybe I just don't have the complete lyrics for the Jody Reynold's version and that is throwing me off.
Leah - by Roy Orbison. Reader wrote: "Roy gets caught by an underwater sea creature and drowns while trying to find an oyster so he can give a pearl to his lost love, Leah. But then he wakes up -- it was all a dream. Since no one officially dies, maybe it's not technically a death song." Lyrics
Jenny Brown - by The Smothers Brothers. He finds finds his love lying on the beach after she ran away after a fight, dead and covered with seaweed and crabs. He is sad and sees the high school ring on her finger. Then she jumps up and says it was all a joke. The spoken intro to this song kind of says it all about dead teen songs. Lyrics
No Surfing Today - by the Four Seasons. A reader suggested this one. She was his surfin' girl and she got caught by the undertow when she went out too far. A dirgy song in that Four Seasons signature style. Lyrics
Surfin' Tragedy - by the Breakers. Haven't heard it, don't know much about it except it is featured on a Rhino compilation (apparently it is a rotten song). I assume it has all the right stuff. Lyrics
Johnny Surfboard - by Barry Mann. Surfing seemed to cause quite a carnage in the 60s. Johnny wants to be king of the beach and rides the big wave and Sue weeps when his surfboard washes back to shore alone. I assume Johnny dies in this, we do say goodbye to him. Lyrics
Running Bear - Johnny Preston. Also later covered by Stiff Little Fingers in the 80s. (Also, apparently Guess Who, but I haven't heard that version). A Romeo and Juliet tale with a big raging river that separates them, and kills them. I guess the river is sort of like a train or a car that runs into them. Lyrics
Indian Wedding - by Roy Orbison. Reader wrote: "A pale (well, actually, a red-faced) imitation of 'Running Bear,' not as funny, but notable because the unfortunate Indian lovers are called Yellow Hand and White Sand, which, through clever placement of their names throughout the lyrics, kept the writer from having to think of too many other rhymes." Lyrics
Moody River by Pat Boone. The cheating girlfriend kills herself and leaves a suicide note by the side of the river. Lyrics
River of No Return - by Ian Whitcomb. A reader suggested this one. I haven't heard it and I don't know anything about it. I suppose she drowned in the river. From the 1960s sometime. Lyrics. Ok, it appears to be from the 1954 film of the same name starring Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum.
Homecoming Queens Got A Gun - Julie Brown. Almost forgot about this one. The homecoming queen gone bad. She goes on shooting rampage and gets it in the end. And she did it for Johnny, but who's Johnny.
Ok, I've been told: "It's from 'The Outsiders' by SE Hinton book and/or movie version. At the time teenage girls were obsessed with the book and movie. Johnny dies and the greasers want revenge so Matt Dillions character says...
The Outsiders (1983) - Dallas: We gotta win that fight. I'm gonna get EVEN with those little Soc'es! Let's do it for Johnny, man. We're gonna do for Johnny!
Ok, perhaps then.
I Don't Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats. A reader suggested this one. Ok, if I have Julie Brown shooting up the high school, then I should have this one too. A teen losing it and shooting a lot of others down. The reader points out "I Don't Like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats is about a teen-age girl named Brenda Spencer who in 197. wounded eight children and one police officer. and killed two adults in a shooting spree at Cleveland Elementary School in the San Carlos section of San Diego, California. When asked why she did it, she said, "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day.. Lyrics
Run Joey Run - David Geddes. Dad is mad at the boyfriend and tries to shoot him, but the girl gets in the way and she gets shot instead. So, does Dad shoot Joey at the end or does he run and get away? Lyrics
St. Lawrence River - by David Usher. So, a reader suggested the next few, but they are murder ballads. Do they count. He kills her, carries her to the St Lawrence River and waits for both of them to freeze. Lyrics
Where The Wild Roses Grow - by Nick Cave. He beans her with a rock in this one. Lyrics
Delia's Gone - by Johnny Cash. And of course, Johnny Cash did some of these too. But you know, if you hated her that much, you should have just called off the wedding. But you know, we miss you Johnny. Lyrics
River's Edge (?) - by Unknown. A reader suggested the following. I haven't heard it, so I don't know who sang it either, but:
"My favourite Teen Death Song (besides 'Remember') is a totally obscure track whose artist I have never known. I believe it was called 'River's Edge' and it seemed to track the real life story from the early 80's wherein some teen sociopath kills his girlfriend, or maybe just feeds her an overdose and does nothing to help her. Either way, she gets dead and in a show of complete heartlessness, he displays her corpse to his pals and classmates, for pay. Only line I remember is 'Every night she turns a new shade of blue..' Not at all a 'pretty song' "
Ok, I've heard the song now. I still have no idea who it is by and I'm still trying to figure out the lyrics, but it seems pretty much lifted from the film River's Edge. Kind of cool song though. Lyrics
Water's Edge - by Seven Mary Three. A reader suggested this one. A guilty tale of somebody who knows how the girl in the river got murdered but won't say. I can't tell if he knows her or what the rest of the deal is though. Lyrics
I Love You - by Black Flag. Whoa, I never caught that this one is a murder ballad before. Looking closer at it, I guess so, "but now I know you will leave me no more.. So, 1984, I think the band was a bit over teenaged at that point. But you know, side two of this album is just so totally awesome, I'll put it on here anyways. Lyrics
I Hold Your Hand In Mine - by Tom Lehrer. I think this one is from like around 1957. But another humorous song, ok, kind of sick too. But a sad tale of him holding her hand in his, well, except she is dead, and I guess he killed her too, well, he cut her hand off too for some reason. But it was quite a love, until they come and take him away. Lyrics
My Old Flame - by Spike Jones. Maybe possibly inspiration for the Tom Lehrer song above, certainly has the same tone. A murder ballad (gasoline and flames) complete with wacky sound effects from the master of wacky songs, guessing from the 1940s or around there. Lyrics
Hey Joe - Traditional, but then performed by like a million people. It seems like everybody has done a version of Hey Joe. I think if you were in a band in the 60s, you were required by law to play it. I'm not sure it is a dead teen song though. A man on the run after shooting his cheating wife. Lyrics Wow, impressive, they list 800 different versions of this song here
Blood on the Floor - by Fleetwood Mac (1970). So, this one is more of a murder ballad, isn't it. He is waiting for the hangman after shooting his woman who was with another man (so, I guess Hey Joe, but he got caught in this one). Lyrics
The Legend Of Tom Dooley - by The Kingston Trio (1958) There are a lot of murder ballads and that's what this webpage seems to be veering into. The reader who suggested it said "he gets hanged cuz he stabbed a girl to death with a knife. Not your typical 'Jaycee of the Year' I guess." Lyrics
Stagger Lee - by Lloyd Price / Nick Cave (1959 / 1989?) A reader suggested the version of Stagger Lee by Lloyd Price from 1959, a straight forward murder ballad that I hadn't heard before. I have only heard the version (well, it is kind of totally different song) by Nick Cave. You know, in the Lloyd Price version, Billy, who was shot in a gambling dispute, had a wife and three kids, so I don't think he is a teen. However, in Nick Cave's version, Billy Dilly seems possibly young enough to be a teen and it was over Nellie Brown too, so there is the whole love (ok, lust in this case) angle. Well, and it seems like Stagger just likes shooting people. But the song is so great that I'm going to have to put in on the page. Lyrics-Lloyd Price version Lyrics-Nick Cave version
Mr Turnkey - by Zager & Evans. A reader suggested this one. I kind of don't think so, he says he is a man and it was a rape and then he is singing from prison, I guess he is about to hang himself. So, not really a dead teen and it isn't terribly romantic. But I didn't quite get that part, nailing his wrist to the wall, is this sort of a crucifixion thing. But this was the A-side to the In The Year 2525 single, but everybody liked the B-side better, so that's the song by them that everybody has heard. Probably a good choice, this song kind of stinks. Lyrics
Nightmare - by The Whyte Boots. A reader suggested this one. Kind of an interesting new angle on this. A girl catfight, the new girlfriend ends up dead and the old girlfriend is singing the song from prison or while the police are coming to get her. But you know, she was showing everybody his ring, we have already seen elsewhere the effect of those high school rings on teens. Lyrics
Janie's Got A Gun - by Aerosmith. A reader pointed this one out to me. A bit like the Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun, but not quite as funny. Or maybe a bit more like Natural Born Killers, with the kid killing the abusive dad and then going on the run. Not exactly a dead teen song, but oh well, close enough. Lyrics
Mack the Knife - by Bertoldt Brecht/Kurt Weill. From the Threepenny Opera and later versions done by Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra and lots of others. It is strange how happy and cheery a song about a serial killer can be. I don't know if there are dead teens in here, there seem to be a lot of victims though.
A reader added that the original version of the song was much bloodier than the Broadway version and the song had been added in to make the character a little darker and offset some of the cheeriness. Lyrics Different translation of lyrics.
Goodbye Earl - by Dixie Chicks. I haven't heard this one. A reader suggested it. I haven't heard any Dixie Chicks before, but I do respect them for their slam on the Shrub a few years ago. So, an abused wife who kills her husband with the help of her best friend. I think they are all a little older than teens though, since it does say that she already finished high school. Lyrics
Indiana Wants Me - by R. Dean Taylor. A reader suggested this one. Sounds like a more grownup murder ballad to me. The reader said "Seems someone said something the singer didn't like to his wife, so he shoots the guy and kills him and goes on the run from the cops. He gets shot at the end of the song, and if you listen close, you can hear the hail of gunfire." Lyrics. I presume the Indiana here is the Indiana state police.
Red Headed Stranger - by Willie Nelson. A reader suggested this one. Sounds like a straight forward murder ballad to me (and later a film), well a bunch of them. The reader said: "Willie Nelson - and his revolutionary album "Red Headed Stranger" This release was a concept piece featuring "Red Headed Stranger", "Time of the Preacher", "Blue Rock Montana" and "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, all having to do with a man (a preacher, no less) who hunts down his cheating wife and shoots both her and her new beau." Lyrics.
Country Death Song - by the Violent Femmes. - Ok, this is one that I just thought of. I wonder if this counts. The dad throws his daughter in a well, for no particular reason as far as I can tell, except maybe for insanity or something. Lyrics.
In the Pines - by a whole lot of people - A reader suggested this one, mostly based on the Nirvana version, Where Did You Sleep Last Night (In The Pines). But there are a zillion different versions of this song and some of them are just totally completely different. The Nirvana version has the head of somebody being discovered, well, not still on the body. In the Bill Monroe version, Daddy was the one killed and it mostly sounds like a train accident, an on the job death. Dolly Parton's version doesn't even mention a death and the Bob Dylan version adds in an 11 year old girl. I suppose my favorite version of this song has to be the one the Triffids (from Australia) did in the mid 80s. But I suppose there will probably be more and more versions of this old song as time goes on. Lyrics - Triffids version. . Lyrics - Nirvana version. . . Lyrics - Bill Monroe version. . . . Lyrics - Dolly Parton version. . . . Lyrics - Bob Dylan version.
The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia - Vicki Lawrence. A reader suggested this one. "Covered by Reba McIntire: Not really sure if it counts as they don't say how old the characters are however as the self explanatory lyrics prove, they are young. It's the classic man finds out wife has cheated on him, gets his gun and goes to kill the men she slept with, but with a twist, someone has beat him to the dirty deed!" Lyrics
Cocaine Blues by Johnny Cash. A reader suggested this one. Also drug related but he shoots his girl for cheating on him. Great line "I Shot her down because she made me sore, I thought I was her daddy, but she had 5 more" Lyrics
Excitable Boy by Warren Zevon (1976). A rather strange one. Rubbing pot roast on his chest, biting usherettes on the leg, well, and then killing his prom date and digging her up years later once he got out of the mental institution. I mean what can you really say about it? Lyrics
The Knoxville Girl Traditional ballad. A reader pointed this out out to me. I almost wonder if there are just too many muder ballads, is it time to break those out into their own thing. But this one is an Appalachian murder ballad which is based on an Irish one, and other localized versions seem to go back to Elizabethan times Lyrics. Rather creepy though, hits her with a stick and then throws her in the river. Maybe he didn't want to get married, even though he loved her.
Down In The Willow Garden - by The Everly Brothers. Just ran across this one recently. Wow, a bit gruesome for the Everly Brothers. Poisoned her and then knifed her, I guess for good measure. And he will soon be hung at the end of the song. Lyrics
This Is How We Do Things in the Country - by Slim Cessna's Auto Club. Maybe not teens but it is certainly a murder ballad. Very strange song though, kills his woman, buries her, well, then I'm not completely sure what happens in the rest of it, he bends all the tools in town so everything they build is crooked. But I knew some of the people in this band years ago, so that's kind of nice. Lyrics
Delilah - by Tom Jones (1968). Ahh, I just realized that this is a murder ballad. All the classic elements of one, jealousy, she is laughing at him, he stabs her and is now waiting for the police to break down his door. "She stood there laughing, I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more" (I'm not sure if this was originally a Tom Jones song). Lyrics
Stole - by Kelly Rowland. A reader suggested this one. It appears to be a school shooting song and about some of the kids who are killed. I've never heard it (possibly the bad grammar makes sense in the song but seems annoying just reading the lyrics). Ahh, I see, somebody from Destiny's Child, I guess that explains why I've never heard it. Lyrics
99 To Life - by Social Distortion. Ahh, another one by Social Distortion. A murder ballad in the vein of Johnny Cash. He is serving 99 to life for stabbing his wife. But ok, maybe he is older than a teenager. Lyrics
No More Hot Dogs - by Hasil Atkins. A wild song from an unknown legend. He cuts her head off, so she can't eat any more hot dogs, and puts it on the wall, or at least is planning on doing that. Not sure if it is about teenagers. I assume that eating hot dogs isn't about dinner, but maybe sometimes a hot dog is just a hot dog. Lyrics
Alison - by Elvis Costello. A reader pointed this one out. I've loved this song for years but I don't think I ever quite thought of it as the stalker/potential murder ballad it probably is. Lyrics
Watching the Detectives - by Elvis Costello. And more Elvis, this might be the next step after Alison, somebody calmly waiting for the evidence of their murder to be uncovered. Lyrics Although it appears the song is actually about a woman who would rather watch television, so more a death of a relationship. I still love the song regardless.
Down By The River - by Neil Young. A murder ballad with a suggestion of madness. "I shot my baby down by the river". Or is he talking to some other woman about shooting here, I'm not completely sure. Lyrics
Maxwell's Silver Hammer - by The Beatles (1969). Ahh, I've forgotten Maxwell's Silver Hammer. I guess not suprisingly since it one of the more annoying Beatles songs (so totally Paul McCartney. Apparently the rest of the Beatles hated every moment they had to spend on it in the Abbey Road sessions). You know the tale, Maxwell kills his girlfriend and lots of other people with his hammer. Lyrics
1963 - by New Order. A reader pointed out that this one should be on here. "Johnny, don't point that gun at me." Lyrics
Seasons in the Sun - Terry Jacks. This is probably the weepiest of all of them. He gets to sing about his own impending death. (Looks like Kingston Trio, Blink 182, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, and some group named Westlife have covered this one.) An English translation of "Le Moribond" by Belgian singer Jacques Brel. Original lyrics Lyrics
Rocky - Austin Roberts/Dickey Lee - Haven't heard this one. I'm trying to figure out if these are actually teens. He says that he was 18 when they met and that was four years ago and she died of some mysterious disease when their daughter was one. I guess it never says what her age was. They could have just squeezed in there in the teen years. Well, Dickie Lee seems to pump out the dead teen songs, so I guess I can allow this one. lyrics
Honey - Bobby Goldsboro (1968). Kind of twist, it sounds like she crashed the car and survived, but then died of some sort of disease. Most of the song about the tree he planted. Lyrics
Reader's comment: "Actually, the woman who dies has grown up, but the song is so unbelievably yucky that I think it should qualify."
Hush, Hush, Hush - by Paula Cole. So, this was suggested by a reader. I'm not sure of this one. 1996. But it looks like an AIDS story, or is it abuse. I'm not sure what to make of this one. Lyrics
Cancer - by My Chemical Romance. Suggested by a reader. I might have heard this one but I can't be sure. I'm not such a big fan of emo music. This just seems a bit like an updating of Seasons in the Sun. Lyrics Sigh, and more My Chemical Romance has been suggested. Cemetery Drive lyrics You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison lyrics. I can't bring myself to look through them too closely, proceed at your own risk at becoming overly morose.
Tommy (Don't Die) - Steaknife. Just heard this one on the Blair Witch 2 soundtrack, sounds like the movie sucked though. It is an overdose story. Do I include them. I guess I should. I assume it is a teen. First you had car crashes, now drug overdoses. How things change. If you have the lyrics to this one, let me know.
Ok, thanks, a reader sent them along. Lyrics
Freshmen - The Verve Pipe - I haven't heard this one before. A drug overdose suicide story about a girlfriend. Supposedly a true story about the band members. lyrics
Once You Understand - by Think - (# 23 Billboard, 1972). - I haven't heard this one. This is a description from a reader of this webpage. "This is an unusual one. It's a series of spoken/acted vignettes of rebellious teens arguing with their uncool parents, over a backing track with the ever-repeating chorus "Things get a little easier/Once you understand". It ends tragically, with the cops informing the dad that his 17-year-old son was dead of an overdose. "Relevant, important" stuff for parents and their kids to listen to, yadda yadda yadda..." Lyrics
Ok, I've heard it now. Pretty overly dramatic stuff and the endless 'things get a little easier' gets a little grating.
Update - WFMU has the entire album posted here
So, what is the attraction of this song. It is probably the song that the most people write to me about. I find the song kind of annoying more than anything else.
While My Dad Gently Weeps - by Furnaceface - I have never heard this song. It may or may not be somewhat like the Think song above. I have no idea.
Ok, I've heard it. It is sort of a punk/funk thing that samples from Once You Understand. I guess it is supposed to be from the kid's point of view as they party on and destroy things while dad is sleeping and then the parent hears at the end about the overdose. lyrics
Wreck Age by the Rollins Band. I don't think anybody dies in this one. It seems like a People Who Died sort of thing, all his friends dropping from drug use. So, maybe some nearly dead teens then? Lyrics
Tonight by Iggy Pop. Seems to have a dead girlfriend in this one. Seems to be a drug overdose or something like that. Lyrics
Johnny Ander - Gayle Haness. Description lifted from the web: "A death by marijuana song. Very dramatic (in a Shangri-Las kind of way) about a teenaged boy who joins some hippies, smokes dope, then dies!. "Johnny Ander" appears on the compilation CD "Girls In The Garage Part 2", although it sounds much better on the Bang 45. Bang 53. Johnny Ander/Love Love Go Away (both sides written by Jeff Barry, produced by Jeff Barry, arranged by Artie Butler). Lyrics
The Message - by Grandmaster Flash. Living in the jungle, poverty, drugs, living fast, dying young, but not a lot of love in this one. It ends up with him swinging in a noose. Lyrics
Street Hassle - by Lou Reed. Suggested by a reader. They said it's a heroin overdose one. extremely poor taste, especially when he is told by the drug supplier "I don't mean to scare you, But you're the one who came here and you're the one who's gotta take her when you leave". Lyrics
Freddie's Dead - by Curtis Mayfield. (Suggestion from a reader). So, ok, a warning song about dying from overdoses. Watch out kids, them drugs can hurt you. And it is a pretty groovy song too. Lyrics
Waterfalls - by TLC. (Suggestion from a reader). I know I have probably heard this song, but I couldn't tell you what it is like. But the reader said Basically it starts off with a single mother with a troubled teen who she can't control, but she's there for him no matter what he gets himself into. Then in the second verse the teen dies from a possible overdose of LSD. I'm not really sure if it's his girlfriend that gave it to him because it says "she give him loving his body can't handle, but all he can say is 'baby, it's good to me'" Lyrics Didn't one of them go nuts, Left Eye, and die horribly somehow. Maybe there is a whole another page worth of songs of rap/R&B stars who died badly. Tupac has probably released about 100 of them since he died.
Suburban Princes Death Song - by Turbonegro. (Suggestion from a reader). First person account of teenage druggie after death. Lyrics
Billy Don't be a Hero - Bo Donaldson and the Haywoods. Teen has to be a hero and go to Vietnam and be a hero again. She was pretty pissed off about that. If he was that pigheaded, would the relationship have lasted anyway? Lyrics
I Came Here To Talk For Joe - Kay Kyser and probably a bunch of others have done this one - Ok, I'm not sure about this one. The story seems to be saying that some friend came to tell a woman that Joe couldn't make the date and he would be delayed a little bit. He says he couldn't both be on the date and in the sky. Since this is a WWII song, is he a pilot on a mission or is he dead. It does say he is a swell kid, or something like that, so I think the age is correct though. Lots of teens die in wars.
Ohio - Neil Young. Does this one really qualify. This is about real teen tragedy and lots of college students being killed by the National Guard, not the cartoony death of lots of these songs. I guess I'll put it on for now, but I'll have to think about this one. Lyrics
Where Have All The Flowers Gone - by Pete Seeger and then a bunch of others (1961). I guess this one probably works. More of a general song about young men being sent off to war to die and the ones they leave behind. (I guess kind of topical now too. I mean, WMD, what's wrong with you people, how can you fall for all of that. It is just so sad.) Lyrics
Billy and Sue - by B.J. Thomas & The Triumphs (1966). A reader suggested this one. I haven't heard it before. B.J. Thomas of Raindrops Falling On My Head fame. The reader said: "They were going to get married, he was drafted, went to 'Nam, then the letters stopped coming, he was fraught w/worry, then he received a Dear John letter, he stood up in anguish, and was riddled with crossfire bullets. He was buried overseas, and although the epitaph read that he gave his life for his country, he 'didn't die from a bullet but he died from a broken heart. Even if one didn't know the lyrics, the song is GREAT - excellent production, terrific melody, vocals, background etc - simply one of the great songs of the mid-60s." I'll let you know when I hear it. I haven't yet. Lyrics
1967 - by Don Mclean. A reader suggested this one. Another death in Vietnam song. Presumably he was young, maybe a teen, but it did say that he had a wife and children, so he was probably older. Lyrics
Sky Pilot - by the Animals. A reader pointed out this one. Maybe a lot of these other war songs, lots of dead teenagers but not over love. A really great song too. Lyrics
I Was Only 19 (A Walk In the Light Green) - by Redgum. A reader suggested this one. Another Vietnam song. It wasn't the singer though but somebody else in his unit. Hmm, that reminds me, I should put Paul Hardcastle on here too. Lyrics
19 - by Paul Hardcastle. So yeah, the average age of soldier in Vietnam was 19, Nininininininininin Nineteen. And lots of them didn't come home. Lyrics
Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then) - by The Decemberists. (Suggestion by a reader). They didn't come home from the Civil War either and he left his pregnant girl behind. It sounds like he is dead and singing for her to look for him. Lyrics
Travelin' Soldier - by The Dixie Chicks. (Suggestion by a few readers). It is cover of an older song, the soldier is killed in Vietnam. But even though we have gotten rid of the Shrub, his legacy of disastrous wars will haunt us for years, I imagine we will see this same scene repeated a lot in the future. Lyrics
Riding With Private Malone - by David Ball. (Suggestion by a reader). Another dead Vietnam soldier, who left a note is his car for the next owner to find. I guess the car is standing in as the woman he left behind. Lyrics
Pencil Marks on the Wall - by Hershel Bernardi. (1970s?) I haven't heard this one or can't find the lyrics for it, but it sounds like in it, the narrator relates the growth of his only son, charted by the pencil marks, at the end, he is bemoaning the death of his son in Vietnam, and that all he has left is the pencil marks on the wall.
Patches - Dickie Lee. Not quite sure what the deal with this one is. It seems like they want to get married, but his parents said no. It sounds like she is too poor and not good enough for him. For some reason, not stated in the song, she drowns in a river and he is ready to kill himself to join her. For some reason, I linked to the wrong version of Patches, the one by Clarence Carter, still a bad song, but a dead dad song with the teen having to take over.
A reader wrote about the right version "in the song Patches, by Dickie Lee, she kills herself because she thinks he doesnt love her any more. 'Patches must think, that I love her no more'"
Sorry, I still don't get it. Is there nobody that can get a message to her, don't kill yourself, my parents hate you, wait a few years and I'll be 18 and I won't have to listen to them anymore, don't kill yourself. Did his parents chain him to the house. Can he send her a letter or something. I know in teen death songs, it has to be now or never, but can't they wait a bit for true love. Wrong lyrics Lyrics
Ode To Billy Joe - Bobbie Gentry. Billie Joe jumps off a bridge for some reason that isn't very clearly stated. Sorry, this song is really annoying. Lyrics
Ok, I looked into this a little more. I didn't realize that the movie (1976) was based on the song (1967). I guess they tried to figure out what it was all about.
(Late breaking news. Apparently Bob Dylan was as annoyed by this song as I was and wrote a parody of it. Clothesline Saga (Answer to Ode) But supposedly at one time, the song made more sense. The record company cut the original seven minute song down to its current size. Apparently, most of the sense was edited out then.
A reader wrote the following: However, you say it's annoying because it never really explains the death. This isn't true. When Bobby Gentry (who was a total babe, BTW) wrote the song, it was seven minutes long and gave many more details on what had happened. Unfortunately the record execs cut it down to more like four minutes and took out lyrics to make the story more 'compelling.' Strangely, the original lyrics seem to be lost forever. Here's a quote from an article about Gentry:
"The single of "Mississippi Delta" was backed by the seven minute classic "Ode To Billie Joe". Violins and cellos were added, the song was reduced from its original seven minutes to just under five, and, as a result of disc jockeys' reactions, it became Gentry's next single. Gentry subsequently topped the US charts for four weeks and reached number 13 in the UK. Capitol's truncated version added to the song's mystery: what did Billie Joe and his girlfriend throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge, and why did Billie Joe commit suicide? The 1976 film Ode To Billy Joe, starring Robby Benson and Glynnis O'Connor, had Billy Joe throw his girlfriend's ragdoll over the bridge and commit suicide because of a homosexual affair. Theories abound to this day, and to this day Bobbie Gentry keeps her silence." )
For me, the thought that this song, which seems to last forever was even longer at one time. That sends chills down my spine. Don't misunderstand me, this song is not just annoying because it is ambiguous, it has so much else to make it annoying.
Ok, the song won't die. But a reader has informed me, Just so you know, Billy Joe McAlistair jumped off the Talahatchie Bridge out of guilt because he and his girl threw their 'illegitimate' child to its death. . 'She and Billie Joe was throwin something off the Talahatchie Bridge'"
Ok, I guess. Still an irritating song though.
What is a Youth and A Time For Us (Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet) - 1968 Movie Soundtrack. Sort of the original dead teens. Lyrics
The Ledge - The Replacements - Can't believe I forgot this one originally. I love this song. It is a teen taking a leap off a building. "I'm the boy they couldn't ignore, for the first time in my life, I'm sure." Lyrics
Can't Hardly Wait - The Replacements . And the early demo version of this song seems like The Ledge, a leap off the water tower sort of song. ("I'll be sad in heaven, you won't follow me there.". It evolved into a non dead song in the later versions, maybe by the time it got included on an album, the album already had The Ledge. Lyrics Non dead version
Richard Hung Himself - originally by D.I. later covered by Slayer (Does Suicide Solution by Ozzy qualify in the teen suicide subcategory. I don't think anybody dies in that though.) Lyrics
Adam's Song - Blink 182 - Seems to be a teen suicide song. Lyrics
One More Suicide - Marcy Playground - Another suicide song. Seems a bit obscure why there was a suicide. Shouldn't there be some sort of big Romeo and Juliet thing going on here with car crashes and stuff like that. I haven't heard this song. I've only heard that Sex and Candy song by them. Lyrics A reader says it is about a girl that cheats on her fiance and him broken and in tears jumps off a bridge with a bible in one hand and her letter in the other. The next day his mother does the same pushed to far by another suicide in her family.
Emma - Hot Chocolate - This might be the first disco dead teen song that I know of. But the story on this one is she wants to be a star, they married at 17, he works all the time to make the money, but she never makes it big so she kills herself. So, is he sort of responsible for killing her since he built up her expectations so high and she couldn't live up to them. (I also just heard a version of this by Sisters of Mercy which is pretty cool.) lyrics
Asleep by The Smiths seems to be a suicide note song. Going to sleep at night and never waking up. Lyrics
Straight A's by the Dead Kennedys. A suicide note song, the parents only love the kid if he gets good grades, a bit of a screw you to his parents. Lyrics
The Pickup - Mark Dinning. One I have never heard before. I just found the lyrics on the web. Of course Mark Dinning is known for Teen Angel. I guess trying to hit the magic again. So, what the heck is this one about. She kills herself because he says he won't see her anymore. But I'm confused where the pickup fits in this whole thing. He is sad after she dies, but was he too in love with the pickup, or what is this one. Lyrics
Ok, I've misunderstood the whole concept here, a reader says You even had one of my personal favorites: Mark Dinning's The Pickup (I actually owned the 45 at one time). In answer to your confusion of where the pickup fits into all this, read the first few lines of the song. The dead girl is the pickup. Mark Dinning had a friend who dared him to ask out a (probably unattractive) girl who was sitting alone in a bar or something, and he ended up falling in love with her, but feared being mocked by his buddies. Ahh, ok. Got it. Too many crashing cars made me think of a crashing pickup truck.
Can be heard on You Tube
Stuff Up the Cracks - by Frank Zappa. Reader wrote: "A funny one by Frank Zappa, who was kidding, of course. The singer threatens to 'stuff up the cracks and turn on the gas' if his girl friend should try to leave him. From the album 'Cruising with Ruben and the Jets.'" Lyrics
All Apologies - by Nirvana. I'm not sure about this one. This song has always seemed like Cobain's suicide note, married and buried and all that. He was older than a teen though. Lyrics
Fade to Black - by Metallica. A reader suggested this one. I guess it is a suicide song. I'm not really sure it is a dead teen song though since it just seems to be about general despair and not a heartbreaking romance or anything like that. And there is no indication of age, so I suspect it is about somebody older than a teen. Lyrics
For Annie - by Petra. A reader suggested this one, I haven't heard it. A suicide by a lot of pills sort of song. Lyrics
It Wasn't A Pretty Picture - by Social Distortion. It is a pretty cool song and most of it seems to be just general mayhem and despair and suicide and destruction. There has to be at least a few dead teens in here somewhere. Lyrics
Dead Bob by NoMeansNo. Have to assume it is a dead teen song. A suicide note though, death by hanging. Lyrics
Can't Stand Losing You by the Police. Ahh, ok, this song is a suicide note, isn't it. He gets dumped by his girlfriend and "you'll be sorry when I'm dead." Lyrics
Alone Again (Naturally) by Gilbert O'Sullivan. A reader suggested this one. Ok, I kind of remember this sappy one from the 70s. He gets dumped by his girlfriend and plans on heading to the water tower to throw himself off. The reader said would qualify as a suicide song as he says he's gonna jump off the nearest tower, presumably after depressing the hell out of his listeners about his shitty life. Lyrics
Suicide Child by The Nuns. A reader suggested this one. Gothic punk, L.A. 70s stuff if I remember correctly. Stole his dope and then slit her wrist in the bathroom, but he doesn't seem very upset about it. Lyrics
Amplifier by The dBs. (1982) - Maybe this one qualifies, she left him and he killed himself. "Danny went home and killed himself last night". And she took everything too, except she left his amplifier. "She took his car, she took his bike, she took everything she thought he like, and what she couldn't take, she found a way to break"
Jeremy by Pearl Jam. - It was pointed out that I had overlooked this one. I won't rant about how Pearl Jam irritates me. The music is ok but Eddie, shut up already. Anyways, kid not loved by his parents, picked on in school, apparently kills himself in front of the class. Not a love story though. Mildly controversial in the 90s. Lyrics
Love You More by Buzzcocks. - Presumably the "until the razor cuts" at the end is a suicide after this love affair fails. A classic punk song too. Lyrics
That Girl Has Love by Rooney. - A reader suggested this one. I hadn't heard it before. Sort of generic sounding, like Three Doors Down, or somebody. It sounds exactly like some other band but I can't think of who. But "she will always be seventeen" I guess because that's when she killed herself. Lyrics
Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. - A reader suggested this one. All about following Romeo and Juliet's example, together in eternity. Good old classic rock too. Ok, I find this searching around some more - Sorry, but Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear the Reaper is not a death song. It's a love song -- although I can see why the suicide-pact rumor started. The lyrics seem to suggest it. See the band's explanation Lyrics
Far Behind by Candlebo. - I assume this is a suicide song, from the point of view of the guilty partner who maybe thinks he helped drive her to it. I think that's what it is about. Lyrics
Why Don't You Kill Yourself by The Only One. - Maybe a suicide song, maybe just a tempting suicide song, not sure which. Lyrics
Out the Window by Violent Femmes - (Suggested by a reader) I suspect they are not teens but here is a out the window suicide song. Lyrics
Marianne by Tori Amos - (Suggested by a reader. Apparently about somebody Tori Amos knew who died through drug use or perhaps ultimately suicide. A bit lengthy, so linked here Lyrics
Dress Rehearsal Rag by Leonard Cohen - (Suggested by a reader) Maybe a suicide or a dress rehearsal for a suicide. Lyrics
River's Invitation by Percy Mayfield - (Suggested by a reader) Maybe another dress rehearsal for a suicide song, with the river inviting him to jump in and end it all but also prompted on by his wandering looking for his lost love (presumably dead). Lyrics
Just You and I by Lee Rogers - Suggested by a reader, haven't heard it or can't find much about it so I can't verify it. An obscure R&B 45 by one Lee Rogers on the D-Town label (not sure of the year, but I think it's from 1966) -- it MIGHT be a suicide pact between two young lovers, as they sing about getting in one final kiss "before we die, just you and I)."
How Do You Get That Lonely by Blaine Larsen - Suggested by a reader. A suicide, 18 years old, wondering why he killed himself.
One Of Us - by Patti Page. I couldn't find the complete lyrics, but it looks like a gunfight over a girl. I lost the other link I had to this, the full title of the song was something like One Of Us (Will Weep Tonight). Lyrics.
El Paso - by Marty Robbins. Maybe not a teen, but it has all the other elements, especially the dying in her arms part. Lyrics.
San Angelo - by Marty Robbins. A reader pointed out that there is a sequel to El Paso. The reader said: "I see you've got Marty Robbins' El Paso, but even better is a sort of sequel (he also did one, "Feleena" that's not so expressive. The parts where "the bullet was well on its way" is quite matix-y slow-motion bullet-cam, very late 90's. Gangster-rap ain't nothin' new. " Lyrics.
Don't Take Your Guns To Town - by Johnny Cash. A young cowboy, Billy Joe, kisses his mom and went off to town to some drinking and his first gunfight. Well, better luck next time, or maybe not. Lyrics
Youth of the Nation - by P.O.D. (2001). I haven't heard this song before, but a reader suggested it. I guess this one isn't a murder ballad but fits in a little better with the gun fight category. But the reader wrote:
"This song seems to me to be about a boy getting killed at school by a classmate with a gatling gun or something ("gat"). It also seems like a 12 y.o. girl called Suzy got killed. The boy who killed them was named Johnny, and didn't have any friends. Johnny often thought about suicide, and finally "told the world how how he felt with the sound of a gat". Lyrics.
Bonnie And Clyde - by Georgie Fame. A reader suggested this one, the whole Bonnie and Clyde thing. There seem to be a few songs about them. I guess there is the whole romantic hail of gunfire thing the end. Lyrics. The song of the same name by Jay-z and Beyonce doesn't seem to be about them though. There is also one by Eminem, but I'm going to ignore it because he annoys me.
Bonnie And Clyde - by Merle Haggard. And there is one by Merle Haggard. Lyrics.
Bonnie And Clyde - by Serge Gainsbourg (duet w/Brigitte Bardot). Even one in French by Serge Gainsbour. Lyrics.
18 And Life - by Skid Row. A reader suggested this one. I don't know, as far as I can tell, the death is the 18 year old killing a child by randomly firing his gun. Lyrics.
East Side Story - by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. (1966). Not sure of what the song is here and who did it. Description lifted from the web: 'Since the police officer shoots "Johnny", and quoting the lyrics: "she ran right out into the street, and Johnny cried out, dying at her feet".'
Ok, I've been informed this is East Side Story by Bob Seger. I've never heard it. I'll have to look around for it. Looking for history on it, it looks like it was also covered by St. Louis Union and District Six and HP Movement in the 60s and The Finzz and The Caretakers in the 70s. So, he did it in 1966 and it looks like it was just a single, East Side Story/East Side Sound (Cameo 438) 1966. But the reader wrote: "The song was about a teen-age couple living in poverty. Desperate to survive the boy decides to do a robbery." Lyrics
Wait Until Tomorrow - by Jimi Hendrix. A reader suggested this one. He goes over to his girlfriend's house, climbs the ladder to her window, and Bang!, dad shoots him and he dies ("and forever, good night"). Teens, elopement, dad, death, Hendrix - what more could you want? Hmm, probably can't ask for much more than that. Lyrics.
Dark Lady - by Cher. A reader suggested this one. I haven't heard it before. Cher is all mixed up with card games and cheating lovers and guns and some one ends up dead at the end. Probably not a teen but I'll give it an honorable mention since Cher seems determined to look like a teen for the rest of her life. Lyrics.
Cassie - by Flyleaf. (A reader suggested this one). I haven't heard it before. From a Christian rock band, about one of the kids killed in 1999 at Columbine. Lyrics.
Hide Your Heart - by KISS. A music teacher in Tennessee has suggested this KISS song, a jealous cheating lover revenge song. It was written by KISS but also recorded by Molly Hatchet and Ace Frehley. It is about two kids who fall in love, but the girl is already with the head of a gang. So the gang leader hunts them down and kills the boy. Lyrics.
Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) - by The Rolling Stones. Is the fourth track on The Rolling Stones' 1973 album Goats Head Soup. Lyrics relate two stories: one based on the true story of New York City police shooting a boy because they mistook him for a bank robber, and the second of a ten year old girl who dies in an alley of a drug overdose. Lyrics.
Nebraska - by Bruce Springsteen. I love the whole Nebraska album. I swiped this bit from somewhere, probably a comment on last.fm, This is about Charles Starkweather, who was 19 when he went on a murder spree in 1958. Along with his 14-year-old girlfriend Caril Fugate, he killed 10 people in Nebraska and brought out fears that rebellious movies and rock music were creating a new breed of offenders. Springsteen considered "Starkweather" as the title.
The 1973 movie Badlands, starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, was inspired by Starkweather's story. After seeing a poster for the movie in a theater lobby, Springsteen used the title for his 1978 song, but did not see it until 1980.
This was the title track to the first album Springsteen recorded by himself. He recorded the songs at his house with a 4-track recorder, and after playing them with The E Street Band, decided they worked best as they were.
E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zant recalled to Rolling Stone magazine that Springsteen started cutting the tracks that made up Nebraska as demos for the band. However he saw potential in them and persuaded Springsteen to record them for an album: "I remember him playing them for me one day and said 'Here's my new songs. We'll start rehearsing them as a band soon.' And I listened to this thing and I thought to myself, 'I gotta say there's something extraordinary about this.' There was no intention of it being a record and no intention of it being released, but there was something just extraordinarily intimate about it. And I thought 'What a wonderful moment has been captured here just accidentally.' And I said to him, 'Listen, I know this is a bit strange but I honestly think this is an album unto itself and I think you should release it. Lyrics.
Ebony Eyes - The Everly Brothers. Not a car crash in the one, but a plane crash. Lyrics
D.O.A. by Bloodrock. I'm not sure about this one. What do you think. Somebody is dying, but is he a teen and there isn't really the drama and running on the railroad tracks sort of thing. How did this person die anyways. They were flying and hit something, but are they on the ground or still in the air. I don't get it. A reader has since commented, "Here's a real dandy of a 'dead teens' tune.....D.O.A. by Bloodrock -1971. Man, that was a bitter end; really scary. In fact, I didn't even want to drive a car after that for a few weeks!" Lyrics. I also find this quote on the internet - I e-mailed one of the original band members just to ask him "Where in the heck did these lyrics come from?" He said it was from another band member whose friend died in an airplane accident.
Three Stars - Tommy Dee. I haven't heard this one before. A reader wrote: "a tribute to Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and whoever else died in that plane crash (I'm ashamed that I don't know). Anyway I found 2 versions on the net, one by Eddie Cochran and the other by Tommy Dee w/Carol Kay & the Teen-Aires. I do think this song qualifies.....3 dead 'teens' for the price of one." Lyrics
American Pie - Don McLean. Ok, I have mixed feelings about putting this one on here. So, yeah, it is the same subject matter as Three Stars, Buddy Holly and Richie Valens and the plane crash, but I hate hate hate hate hate (times a million) this song. It is so horribly annoying, the only way it could be worse is if it was You're So Vain (the song that the Horsemen of the Apocalypse will be humming while they destroy the universe), and that's really saying something. But ok, here it is. But no lyrics for it because I just don't care what they are. Just don't make me ever have to listen to it again. "Drove the chevy to the levy but the levy was dry" I think has to be the most infuriating awful line of any song ever. Enough to drive me to creating my own murder ballad, maybe.
One Last Time - Dusty Drake. A reader suggested this one. It is a country song, which is probably why I've never heard it. It seems like an adult though. But the guy calls his wife from the plane as it is crashing. Lyrics
Blasphemous Rumours - Depeche Mode. One of the few modern songs I've been able to find. (Ok, I've found a lot more since I originally wrote this, probably back in like 1997, when this page first started). All about the dead teen in the afterlife. Lyrics
Laurie, Strange Things Happen - Dickie Lee. A really kind of stupid one. He lends his sweater to some girl who died the year before. As Count Floyd on SCTV used to say "Oooh, kids, that's a scary one." Lyrics
The Kids Are Not Alright - The Offspring. There seems to be lots of tragedy in this song and I'm pretty sure at least one dead teen. Lyrics
Nights Of The Living Dead - by Tilly and the Wall. (Suggestion by a reader). Seems a bit like Kids Are Not Alright, don't know if any actual death happens in here but perhaps soon. Lyrics
Pink Turns To Blue - Husker Du. Well, the lyrics are a bit vague, but I'm going to call this a dead teen song. Most of the album, Zen Arcade, is about the hell of growing up and running away from home and stuff, so I take all the songs on the album are meant to be teen songs. And it does sound like his girlfriend isn't around anymore. Lyrics
Give Us Your Blessings - The Shangri-las. I haven't heard this one but looking at the lyrics, it certainly looks like a match, and the The Shangri-las also have Leader of the Pack. But their parents would give them their blessing, so they ran off and were found dead later on.
Reader's comment: "You're absolutely right, it IS a death song. The Shangri-Las record of it is awesome, but it's actually a cover of an earlier record by Ray Peterson -- the same Ray Peterson who gave us "Tell Laura I Love Her.. The Shangri-Las record is much more dramatic."
Death Of An Angel - Donald Woods and The Vel Aires (1955) -Wow, this one is really morose and weepy. It almost sounds like he is laughing as he sings it. I swiped this bit of history from the web somewhere: "Death of an Angel" was the second release for this group. Their first was "This Paradise" in 1955 by the same group under the Bel-Aires name. The Vel-Aires released under the Flip label #303. "Death of an Angel'" was released twice in 1955- first on the Flip label #306 and next on the Tiger Era label #5065. They released "Stay with Me" in 1955 on Flip #309, "Heaven in My Arms" in 1956 on Flip #312 and "You Won't be Satisfied" on Flip, year and number unknown." Lyrics
Silva from the 50s or 60s. No further information. If anybody knows about it, write me and let me know. A girl eats poisoned berries and doesn't wake up. That's the best I can do, sorry about the shoddy research.
Pizza Man - by National Lampoon - I haven't heard this one and I couldn't find the lyrics for it either. I lifted the following information about this from here. Music by Christopher Guest; Lyrics by Tony Hendra and Sean Kelly. Parody of the classic '50s death song genre. From Lemmings. A recording of this, featuring Alice Playten, appears on the Lemmings album. (1973). More information about the musical
Ok, I have been sent the lyrics
People Who Died - Jim Carroll - Lots of dead teens in this song (and it is a pretty awesome song on top of that.) Lyrics
Devo - Wow, Devo too. Just caught these from Devo's first album:
Space Junk - Devo - Sputnik fell out of the sky and "it smashed my baby's head and now my Sally's dead." Lyrics
Come Back Jonee - Devo - He got himself a guitar from a pawnshop, presumably made it big, and then got smashed up in his Datsun when he went head on with a semi. "His guitar is all that's left now, he made her cry, now she calls his name." Lyrics
Ok, I just listened to the Hoodoo Gurus' first album Stoneage Romeos, there seems to be a bunch of dead teen songs on this one. I knew I loved that band for some reason. You have Arthur which is about their bass player (I think it is fictional though) who is killed in a car crash. Then you have Dig It Up which starts with "My girlfriend lives in the ground" and a chorus of "You can't bury love, You've gotta dig it up.. Also on the same album, you have Leilani about the boyfriend of a girl who is taking part in a volcano sacrifice. He says "Leilani, don't go to the volcano.. And if that wasn't enough, there is also I Was A Kamikaze Pilot, "They gave me a plane - I couldn't fly it home.. (Darn, I just reread the lyrics on this one, he has engine trouble and crashes on an island, but doesn't die, oh well, three on one album is pretty impressive.) Classic stuff from 1984.
Ok, the Hoodoo Gurus just keep giving. Second album Mars Needs Guitars has Hayride To Hell in which a teenage daughter of a trucker dies in childbirth.
Evie (Parts I, II and III) Stevie Wright. (1974) This appears to be another dying in childbirth song. I haven't heard it, it was a suggestion. The reader said "an Australian rock classic called 'Evie (Parts I, II and III)'. The song was written by Harry Vanda and George Young for their fellow former member of the Easybeats ('Friday on My Mind'), Stevie Wright. The song is in three parts (parts I and III are up-tempo rock, while part II is a ballad) and goes for 11 minutes in total. It was a #1 hit in Australia in 1974." Lyrics
A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours by the Smiths. I'm not quite sure I understand what is going on there, but it seems vaguely dead something or other. Lyrics. And what about Death of a Disco Dancer from the same album. Lyrics
Paint It Black by Rolling Stones. Jeez, I can't believe I didn't have this one. I always thought it was sort of a drug addict/manic depression sort of song, but it looks more like a funeral for his girlfriend now that I look at the lyrics. You know, "I see a line of cars and they're all painted black, With flowers and my love both never to come back.. You hear a song a million times and you just never think about it. Lyrics. The Avengers do a cover of this song too.
After more research, this might actually be a Vietnam song (says Mick Jagger in some interview), and maybe should be moved to the war section (since it still represents lots of dead teens killed there). Maybe a returned soldier traumatized by Vietnam and being ignored by society, sitting in the dark.
With You in Your Dreams - Hanson. Scary, Hanson wrote one. Sort of a weepy Seasons in the Sun thing, I'll be dead when you wake up. Lyrics. Or is it. A Hanson fan has told me that this song was actually written for their grandmother who passed away from her point of view to comfort their father/her son. And that there is a second version of this song too Lyrics.
Jimmy Love - Cathy Carroll. A death by lightning, should have been a wedding, but was actually a funeral song. Lyrics I haven't heard it but a reader wrote:
"Cathy Carroll's "Jimmy Love" (Triodex 110; 1961) is a favorite. It's a triumph of raw emotion, carried along by lush instrumentation and arrangements, and Carroll herself, who belted like a Broadway-musical star (albeit with a kitschy, sob/catch in her voice at the beginning of every line). Builds cleverly with the repeated refrain, "I'm going to the chapel, Jimmy Love," presumably (as you note) for her wedding, and finally revealed as a trip to Jimmy's funeral ("I'm going to the chapel, Jimmy Love/To say my last goodbye. . ."
The record ends with a massive orchestral crescendo and a final note ("our love will never di-i-i-i-i-i-e") that Carroll holds, honest to God, for six or seven seconds, bringing the note home with a final, clear push of sound at the last moment. The girl could sing!"
Susie Forgive Me - Kenny Karen. Apparently, Kenny doesn't kill Susie, but crippling her seems to be temporary too. So, maybe an episode of Jerry Springer. Columbia 45 rpm record, 4-42264, by Kenny Karen. Side 1. Oh, Susie Forgive Me, written by Mann & Weil / Side 2. The Light In Your Window, written by King, Goffin, and A. Ripp
Ballad of an Angel - Bobby Swanson. One I have never heard before. I just found the lyrics on the web. No big dramatic story, just she died and he is weeping. Lyrics
Gloomy Sunday - by Billie Holliday. The urban legend is that this song was banned because so many people committed suicide because of it. Lyrics. More information
Wildfire - by Michael Murphy. Reader wrote: "A girl dies in a killling frost while searching for her lost pony. Now the singer wishes to die, too, so they can ride Wildfire together. You can't make this stuff up.'" Lyrics
Yeah, it is a pretty horrible song. That's probably why I forgot to add it.
Eating - by Compulsion. I guess she ate herself to death. I can't find this out for sure, but the song might have been written by Joey Ramone, who apparently suffered from OCD himself. The song sounds a bit like a Ramones song, even if it wasn't written by him. Lyrics
Old Shep - by Elvis Presley. Reader wrote: "Well, actually this is about the death, not of a teenager, but of a teenager's DOG. It's an early Elvis Presley song, believe it or not." Lyrics
Me & Little Andy - by Dolly Parton. A reader suggested this one. I already have Elvis singing about his dog, might as well have Dolly too. Lyrics
Timothy - by the Buoys. Reader wrote: "Truly an AMAZING record from the '70s. Three guys are trapped in a mine, and it seems like two of them ate their friend, although this is never made entirely clear. Again, is it really a teen death song. No, but it's worth your attention!" Lyrics
Interesting, Rupert Holmes wrote it, you know, If you love drinking Pina Coladas and making love after midnight.
Angelica - by the Litter. Swiped from the web: "The Litter recorded a song called Angelica while in Texas recording $100 Fine in 1968. Since the vocalist was J. Frank Wilson (Last Kiss fame) this song was excluded from the album's final version. Due for release by J. Frank Wilson, it was pulled after (a very similar type song) Honey (Bobby Goldsboro) hit the charts big. This cut, to date, has not appeared on any 'Litter' album or compilation and is the rarest 'Litter' recording. Angelica, written by the well known songwriting team of Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, was originally released by Barry Mann on Capital in July 1966 and later re-released in 1971 by Ed Ames on RCA. Neither version became a hit song."
It is a pretty morose song. Sort of psychedelic and sort of flamingo guitar and very overwrought. And his angel now had passed. I love the line about the flowers being watered by the tears he cried. Lyrics
Copacabana (At the Copa) - by Barry Manilow. Ok, so how about this one. They were young and in love, there was gun play involved, and 30 years later she is still messed up. Maybe not teens, but it has all the other elements. Lyrics
Three Bells - by the Browns. Wow, #1 in 1959. Originally a French song. So, it says he was going to get married when he was 20, so I guess that barely makes it a teen. But I don't get it, he dies, but did he die when he was born or when did he die. I don't understand. Lyrics
Update - a reader has sent me this interpretation of the song. It has more to do with the little chapel and town than Jim Brown or whatever his name was. He was born and the bells rang, he got married, the bells rang, and eventually he died and the bells rang. Through his entire life the big events were marked by the ring of the bells. So the 3 bells were the cycle of his life.... blah blah.
Eleanor Rigby - by the Beatles. Ok, somebody suggested this one. I don't know, I've always thought that Eleanor was at least middle aged. And more of a death from lack of love rather than the dramatic deaths of a dead teen in love. Lyrics
Die Like Someone - by Eve's Plum. Ok, somebody suggested this one too. Is this sort of a suicide note, but from a bad self-image from all the fashion magazines? Lyrics
Remember Walking In The Sand - by The Shangri-Las. Ok, I don't know about this one either. It was suggested by a reader. Her boyfriend went overseas and left her and sent her a Dear Jane letter. The suggestion is that she drowns her self, but I don't know about that one. later covered by Aerosmith and the Go-Go's (and yeah, I agree, not a very good one by them, but the Go-Go's are mostly Lust To Love for me, that's their peak. Although, the new album is pretty decent too.)Lyrics
Shannon - by Henry Gross. A reader suggested this one. I don't know, it is about a dog dying. Well, I guess I already have Old Shep on here too and it is pretty sappy. From somewhere around 1976. Apparently written about Carl Wilson's (Beach Boys) dog. Lyrics
Janie's Face - by Bobby Swanson. (1961). There is another one by him too. This one is in the vein of Laurie, Strange Things Happen, he dreams of his dead girlfriend and then the next morning he finds her scarf on the bed. Lyrics
I Can Never Go Home Anymore - by The Shangri-las (1965). Do I diverge again from the dead teen and just move into general teen tragedy. I mean, it is the Shangri-las, they certainly have the credentials for this. The reader who suggested it said "actually, the whole death genre (regardless of who died) was called a 'sob song' back then. Encompassed a whole range of morbidity.. Ok, I guess so, even though I haven't heard the song before either. But the teen's mom dying and her feeling all horrible that she ran away from home and "angels picked her for a friend." That's pretty dramatic and all. Lyrics
Coffin Talk - by Modey Lemon. A reader suggested this one. This one is pretty cool, kind of rocking sort of blues along the lines of Jon Spenser Blues Explosion. So, his girlfriend is dead now, mouth full of worms, and she can only sing the coffin talk. Lyrics
A Beginning From An End - by Jan & Dean. A reader pointed this one out to me. I haven't heard it and I couldn't find the lyrics for it. I found this little blurb about, apparently Dean hated the song so much, he went to sing Barbara Ann with the Beach Boys to avoid singing on it:
"One of the first new songs in Jan's new "folk rock" project was "A Beginning From An End", written by Jan and Jill Gibson. This was a tragic love song about a wife dying during childbirth and the daughter reminding the widower father of her. Dean despised "A Beginning From An End" and let Jan know in no uncertain terms that he thought it was the worst song he had EVER heard. On September 23rd, the day that the vocals to "A Beginning From An End" were to be recorded, Dean showed up at the United Recorders studio just as usual, but he refused to sing. Jan went on to record the song by himself. As Jan struggled to get by the first verse, Dean continued to make his comments about the song. Finally, Jan got so mad, he told Dean to get the hell out of the studio while he was singing if he thought the song was so bad. Dean agreed that it would be best for him to leave and come back later, -- so he did." lyrics
A Young Girl Of 16 - by Noel Harrison. I don't know anything about this song. I had never heard of it before. A reader wrote: "It is a translation of a French song written by Charels Aznavour and was in a Dutch version very popular in the Netherlands (Boudewijn de Groot) in 1965. The English version was frequently played on the British sea-station Radio London." Lyrics
I'll Be There - by Escape Club. (1991). Ok, this one was suggested. An 80s new wave one, I believe. He/she hovers over from the clouds, I'm dead now, don't forget about me, blah blah blah. Lyrics
Daisy a Day - by Jud Strunk. A reader suggested this one. The people in this seem quite old, but I guess it is really sappy. The Reader said, "Actually kind of a sweet song, but def. not about teens. It's about a couple who were madly in love and now he's old and she's dead. I used to get a little teary at this one." Lyrics
The Last Game Of The Season - by David Geddes. Ok, this one was suggested. The reader said, "Another sappy tune from the '70s (why were people so obsessed with death during that decade?). About a boy who's dad comes to 'watch' him play football, but the kid never plays. He gets a phone call and tells the coach to put him in so his dad, who has died, can finally 'see' him play. This one was on the charts about the same time as 'Rocky" and "Shannon.. Used to love to make fun of these when I was a kid." Lyrics
Joey's Last Big Game - by Linda Gaye Scott. I haven't heard it but a quote I find about it, a cheerleader singing about her boyfriend scoring the winning touchdown and then dropping dead.
100% and JC - by Sonic Youth (1992). Ok, I wasn't sure about these, but oh well. It was written about the shooting death of band friend Joe Cole. One of their better songs from the later period, so here it is then. 100% Lyrics JC Lyrics
Johnny Remember Me - by John Leyton (1961). A reader suggested this one.
"The record was a classic Joe Meek production and features an ethereal female voice singing the title and echoing John as if from the grave at the end of each verse. To explain the lyrics, they contained the line:- "The girl I loved and lost a year ago"
What is not common knowledge is that, originally, this line was meant to be:- "The girl who died a year ago today"
It was changed in the released version because John had previously released a version of 'Tell Laura' and it was felt that another overtly 'death' single would not be commercial. I suspect it was more because it would certainly have been banned in the UK had death been mentioned. It also featured in an early U. TV 'soap' called "Harpers West One" in which John sang the song while playing the role of a singer opening a department store. (probably another reason for changing the death line). It became a massive hit in the UK and is undoubtedly my favourite pop record of all time (I have 3 of the original 45 rpm recordings and a CD version signed by John when I met him recently). John is still performing in the UK and regularly guests in 60's revival shows where his original fans (female anyway) still get quite carried away despite their advancing years!"
I had never heard of this song before. I'll look for it and see if I can find it. But just from a quick read of the lyrics, there was a bit of a Wuthering Heights feel to this one. Lyrics
On With The Show - by Motley Crue. A reader suggested this one. I'm confused how he died, as far as I can tell, somebody killed him with a switchblade. And he left Suzy behind. Lyrics
Cemetary Gates - by Pantera. A reader suggested this one. He is crying about her being gone. Lyrics
Break It To Them Gently - by Burton Cummings. A reader suggested this one. "I'm not sure how old the guy is, but again it is mentioned that he is young and foolish" Lyrics
Cemetery Girls - by Barnes & Barnes. A reader suggested this one. Not sure about this one. It seems to be a straight forward necrophilia song. Was he seeking out his long lost love or just kind of tramping around the graveyard. Lyrics
Code Blue - by T.S.O.L. If I put the last one (the Barnes & Barnes one), then how could I not put this one too, the best necrophilia song ever. And he even sings about not getting along with the other girls at his school, so presumably the age is about right for a teenager. Lyrics
Gotta See Jane - by R. Dean Taylor. A reader suggested this one. R. Dean Taylor also did Indiana Wants Me (elsewhere on this page). The reader said It starts with the sound of ambulance sirens and has the protagonist driving through the driving rain on a dark night to meet his girl but she's...already...dead. Lyrics. I'm not sure I'm totally convinced that she is dead in it though. It might be that he is just feeling regret about pushing her aside and is rushing back to her.
Viva Forever - by Spice Girls. A reader suggested this one. I've never heard it. They said I have heard some people say it is about the loss of a friend (how you lose them is unsaid) and with their key audience you would assume it was the teen loss of a friend. or alternatively about the band splitting up. So I don't know. But I guess with the Spice Girls' diminishing bank accounts forcing a reunion, maybe everything will be all happy again. Lyrics
Missing You - by 1st Lady. Occasionally I get sad emails from teenagers who have had friends who have died. This is one and this song was played at the memorial. I'm not really sure who 1st Lady is or have heard the song. There is a claim at the end of the lyrics page that it was written by 1st Lady for her boyfriend who died. Could be, I don't know. This song isn't really in the same spirit as the silly 50s songs (Last Kiss, etc) that inspired this page, but here it is anyways. Lyrics
Only The Good Die Young - by Def Leppard. The other song played for the person who wrote about "Missing You" was this one. This just brings up a whole new set of songs, the live fast/die young type songs, some about rock stars. This one seems to be about a film star. Lyrics
Shooting Star - by Bad Company. If I'm going to go down the live fast/die young rock star path, you have to include this one by Bad Company, a number one record then drugs and alcohol took him down young. Lyrics
Live Fast, Die Young - by Circle Jerks. One of my favorite punk songs, maybe an continuation of My Generation, die before you get old song. Lyrics
Bloodstains - by Agent Orange. Ok, I'm not actually sure if this qualifies as a live fast/die young song, but I do love it. Lyrics
Live Fast... Die Young - by Devotchkas. In looking around for more live fast/die young songs, I find this one. An 18 year old, but I'm not exactly sure who dies at the end. Lyrics
Only The Good Die Young - by Billy Joel. Yeah, I know, Billy Joel, yuck, but we all had to suffer through the 70s. Well, maybe there is no death in it on closer examination, maybe he just wants to have sex with the good Catholic girl. Of course, none of this really jives with the stories I have heard from those who actually went to Catholic school - sex, drugs, smoking, etc. Lyrics
Baby's In Black - by the Beatles. (A reader suggested this one). I'm embarrassed to say I don't know this Beatles song. I can't quite tell if the woman is in black because her old love died or if she was dumped. Lyrics
The Grave - by Tony Casanovas. (A reader suggested this one). Not much information on Tony, just this was recorded somewhere around 1957-59. He just rants (in a mild way) about the lord taking his future wife away. A sort of a sad crooner song. If he had put a little more into it (see Death of an Angel), maybe it could have been a classic, but as it is, not many have heard of this song.
Barbara Allen - by traditional. Probably the earliest dead teen song I've come across, first written reference to it is back in 1666. William dies of an unrequited love of Barbara Allen, who doesn't show much concern over his death bed. After he dies, she feels the grief and also dies then plant life grows together between their graves. Lots of people have done versions of it over the years.Lyrics
Old ballad of Little Musgrave and the Lady Barnard, or Matty Groves - by traditional. A reader has pointed out that this song might be a little bit older than Barbara Allen. Wikipedia says the first printed version was sometime in the early 1600s, so maybe then, depending on how long it was before either of them were written down. In this one, a nobleman's wife tempts a servant into an affair. The lord is tipped off about the affair and catches them in the act. There is a fight and depending on which version you hear, some or all of them end up dead. It has been recorded a lot (under a number of different names and versions), especially in the 60s by folk singers like Joan Baez. Lyrics
Castles Made of Sand - by Jimi Hendrix. A variety of deaths in here. A 10 year old Indian (Native American) boy killed in a surprise attack, a girl in a wheelchair drowning her self, etc. Lyrics
Pieces of April - by Three Dog Night. I'm not sure I know this song. I tried hard to ignore Three Dog Night in the 70s. It is supposed to be sad song. "I've got pieces of April, but it's a morning in May". Lyrics
Don't Take the Girl - by Tim McGraw. Somebody seems to die in this song, but reading the lyrics kind of annoys me for some reason, something really grating about them. Can't say I'm such a fan. Lyrics
Sally Free and Easy - by Cyril Tawney. Versions by Marianne Faithfull and others. A reader suggested this one. I'm a little confused about it, there is a mention of her own coffin after a night with a sailor. "Took a sailor's lovin', for a nursery game.. Hmm. Lyrics
Sally's Pigeons - by Cyndi Lauper (1993). A reader suggested this one. Haven't heard it before. Girls not having fun in this one, teen death from a back alley abortion. Lyrics
Steven - by Alice Cooper (1975). A reader suggested this one. Steven seems to be a whole huge thing. Perhaps a small child dreaming lots of scary things throughout the album, wife abuse, necrophilia and finally murder. Lyrics. Then later shows up on later Alice Cooper albums, linking the Steven character to the Alice Cooper persona. Or something like that.
Turned Blue - by Caroline's Spine. A reader suggested this one. I don't think I entirely get it but somebody seems to die, so ok. Lyrics
Possum Kingdom - by Toadies. Same deal with this one, a reader suggested it, I don't think I get it. Lyrics
I Cried But My Tears Were Too Late - by Hank Snow. She dies right before their wedding. I don't exactly follow it, whether he did something to break her heart (and therefore her death) or did she die of somethign else. Lyrics
Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man - by Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty. I was listening to this one today and thought, wow, this is a new category of a near miss or future death. They live on opposite sides of the Mississippi River and swim back and forth to see each other, avoiding the alligator (and other dangers of swimming a mile across a river). Too bad alligator you swim too slow. Lyrics
Some songs I know nothing more about (or haven't gotten around to writing anything about them), possible future entries (clips swiped from various places on the internet):
Teenage Queen - from Rick Derringer's All American Boy album. BEST TEENAGE DEATH SONG EVER!!!!!!!
the dakotas - the cruel sea (apparently this is an instrumental)
jeff johnson & the lonely ones - flight 404
the beverly sisters - flight 1203 (this is probably an answer song to or parody of the everly brothers' "ebony eyes"?) DEAR STEPHEN: As one always intrigued with answer songs, I am definitely aware of this one. Not surprisingly, this one, like most of its breed, did not become a hit. Titled, appropriately enough, "Flight 1203," this is a 1961 release by the Beverly Sisters. Also, Andrew P. Smith, a dee jay in 1961 at WDON (Wheaton, Maryland), writes to say that they played "Flight 1203" when it came out. He now asks about the label and number. For Andrew, and answer song collectors everywhere, "Flight 1203" is on Roulette 4350.
the shangri-la's - dressed in black
cathy carroll - poor little puppet (her song "jimmy love" is apparently also a teen death song. one or the other is about cathy's boyfriend being struck by lightning)
oh and there's also a song called "he won the game for me" by the sweetettes about a football team's bus crashing... i came across it while i was looking for a different bus crash song. i can't find any mp3s or lyrics for the song though.
there's also a song called "tragedy" i think, about the bus carrying the football team crashing and the whole team dying but i can't remember who sang it
"What it's Like" - Everlast - Again, not quite on the mark, as it's not the prime focus, but a fast living teen drug dealer gets capped at the end.
"Strange Fruit" - Billie Holliday, covered by Tori Amos Tragic tales of the aftermath of murderous Southern brutality. Death on a grand scale; there have to have been more 'n a few teens.
"Southern Man" - Neil Young - Not specifically teens, but the victims lynchings are typically younger men.
Sinead O'Conner "Stretched on Your Grave"
Obscure: Mitty Collier's - I Got To Get Away From It All. (1961 Chess Records #1791). I can't figure out if she's about to commit suicide or if she's going to blast her cheatin' abusive man. "I'm packin' my pistol and I've got my protection in my bag" are some of the lyrics, but then there's the whole thing about how she can't stand it no more, don't nobody bother calling or writing, that "I just gotta get away from it all."
Simon & Garfunkel's 2 early songs: "Richard Cory" and "A Most Peculiar Man." Richard Cory shot himself (put a bullet through his head); and the most peculiar man turns on the gas and asphyxiates himself.
There are also great songs about people killing their girlfriends. Don't miss "Psycho" by Eddie Moac (from the 50's) and Elvis costello in the 70's. There is another great "kill your girlfriend" country song called "Deloris". I can't remember the singer at this time.
I don't know if this counts as a "teen" death song, but Jumper by Third Eye Blind always struck a chord with me. "Wish you would step off from that ledge my friend...." (trying to stop a suicide attempt)
How about "Moon River" by Pat Boone? That's a pretty depressing one. Green Day's got a slew of them. Faster Pussycat has one called "Please, Dear."
You probably have never heard this one on the radio, but it would rank up there as one of the best EVER if you had. It is " Terminus El Dorado" by Ted Nugent.It is about a young girl that takes Daddy's Cadillac out for a spin. Here is a sample of the lyrics: "She did not see the tandem gravel truck coming around the curve-too much fun, too little luck, she didn't have time to swerve". That is followed up by this line " and the crows will be pickin' at your flesh as you've got no control of the situation", followed by a hair-raising laugh. God Bless Uncle Ted !!
No one thought of the hair band Sebastion Bach fronted, when they sang "18 And Life", about a guy who is messing around with his gun, kills his best friend, and spends life in jail thinking about it?
How about Judas Priest's song "Beyond the Realms of Death". They were unfairly taken to court because two kids killed themselves listening to it. Now that's a powerful song.
Here's a recent one from The Decemberists. Not as cheesy as some of the others already discussed, but still pretty awful. I think the Romeo and Juliet vibe it has going just increases the awfulness. - Valencia
I cant believe that no one mentioned "Fade to Black" by Metallica! I saw that "One" was on here, but that song is not about teen death. Though, there were alot of other great songs listed.
Some of the following songs required some investigation or reading into to find out what the artist was really talking about, and of course, intruth a song can mean pretty much whatever the person listening to it wants to mean. But here are a few I've found that have been made in just the last few years.
All I see By: Teddy Thompson - This song is just gut wrenching to listen to and the Chris Issak style of guitar playing almost brings tears to your eyes the first time you listen to this song.
We Die Young By: Alice In Chains -It's AIC of course, during their time and with the grunge era in full swing, this group were the masters of pain and tragedy.
I live with it every day By: Barenaked Ladies - This song struck me as odd the first time I heard as this group has been known for their original style and sense of humo. sing they broke out in the us back in the late nineties. This gem was taken from the Born on a Pirate Ship album.
She Took him to the Lake By: Alkaline Trio - This group is notorious for their writing material centering around death. This song stands out as targeting the teen years for the topic. This song is also from when they were more of a speed punk band
Blood Red Summer By: Coheed and Cambria - Though they don't come out and bluntly say in the lyrics, this song has a double meaning as targeting the innocense of youth. Of course, for anyone familiar with these guys, they rarely say ANYTHING in their lyrics without masking their true intent. By the way, this group's entirealbum releases to date hgave been one ongoing story with each album being released as a chapter. Strange, but interesting to listen to
Hide and Seek By. Imogen Heap - Always a pleasure to listen to her music and this one is done entirely accapella which actually increases the angst in my mind. Very worth listening to.
Helena By: My Chemical Romance - This song is done from the perspective of a male teenage lover speaking at the girl's funeral in the wake of a fatal car crash. Though i don't particularly like everything this quintet have done, this song came off beautifully.
Eric Clapton, Tears In Heaven.
"I used to love her but I had to kill her. I used to love her -- ooh, yeah -- but I had to kill her. I knew I'd miss her so I had to keep her. She's buried right in my back yard!" -- Guns and Roses. Thanks, Axl!
I always liked the teen tragedy spoof by Blotto back in the early 80's "My Baby's the Star of a Driver's Ed Movie". He loses his license and then his accident is the feature film at the class he has to attend!
How about "The Quiet Things That No-One Ever Knows" from Brand New? Although that might just have been what the *video* was about....that video *still* bugs me out when i see it.
Mariah Carey & Boys 2 Men duet of "One Sweet Day"....
Does anybody recall a song called "I left her by the River" by Richard Marx. The song's pretty lame IMO but I guess it was kinda good at its time. It talks about a guy who meets some girl by the river only to get accused of her murder later on. Pretty creepy
Though I wouldn't call it a teen death song, the Assemblage 23 song is great. Metallica's "One" is actually based on a movie based on the novel Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. (the movie clips are used in the video) The story is of a soldier who gets his legs, arms, and face blown off while fighting in WW1. He wakes up in a hospital later to find himself the subject of scientific experiments, and completely unable to communicate to anyone that he's alive and concious and being tortured by these experiments. As much as I love the song, it doesn't even begin to translate the horror of the novel effectively.
-Mary Jane's Last Dance by Tom Petty...who can forget the video on that one?
the fart-stompers song "blown away" is a sad song about a guy that eats too much cabbage and dies in his sleep from his own gases.
Camera One - Josh Joplin Group - "He hung his clothes on the shower rod but he never got undressed." Still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up
Tom Petty's "American Girl" and its tale of a Beatty Towers suicide will always be a classic.
Not really a teen death song, but Johnny Cash's 'Long Black Veil' is another death song that I think stands alone, in that the protagonist of the song has been accused of murder, but he doesn't even defend himself, in that the night of the dastardly deed, he had been in the arms of his best friend's wife. And now she walks the hills in a long black veil...
Pearl Jam's "Last Kiss". "American Pie" by Don McLane. "Bohemian Rhasody" by Queen. "How to Save a Life" by The Fray. "If I Die Tomorrow" Motley Crue. "Novemebr Rain" by Guns & Roses". "Pictures of You" by The Cure. "18 and Life" by Skidrow. "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. "One Last Breath" by CREED. "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan.
Thought technically not a teen death song, my vote goes to Richard Thompson's "1952 Black Vincent" as best death song. It's actually very good, not cheesy at all.
I have a few they are about suicide and are kinda sad.
"maggie" by colin hay
"vincent" by don mclean
"the last hour" by elliot smith
"late" by ben folds tribute to the late elliot smith
"joining you" by alanis morisette
"let me in" by REM tribute to the late kurt cobain
"blue pastures" by james
Elton John's 1970's album Caribu had a song called "Ticking" about a boy who was always good but goes nuts and kills a bunch of people in a bar & then gets gunned down by the cops when he comes outside with his hands held high. Makes me cry to this day.
Not TEEN death, but death by car crash. Bruce Cockburn's "Tokyo". They're getting prepared to haul the car out of the river Noise & smoke & concrete seem to be going on forever Grinding gears & drivers getting high on exhaust I'm thinking about the water down below & what got lost
Miller's Cave by Hank Snow The Restless One by Hank Snow
Let's not forget Grateful Dead's "Black Peter", or even, the Dead themselves....
"The bad girl down the Street." was sung by a guy named Porter Wagner, he had a show that came on TV back in the sixties,called the Porter Wagner Show.Dolly Parton used to be a regular on the show. He used to play that song alot.
There are a few songs dealing with death from drug overdoses...does anyone remember "Edie(Ciao Baby)" by the Cult, from 1989? The song was dedicated to the life and tragic death of 60s icon Edie Sedgwick..discovered by Andy Warhol, and for a short time romantically involved with Bob Dylan..she was the target in his 1965 hit "Like a Rolling Stone"..according to urban legend...also, a rather obscure song by Donovan from 1977 called "Local Boy Chops Wood" deals with a young rock star who collapses under the weight of his fame and succumbs to a drug overdose.
All this brings up a question for me. I found Cemetery Girl by the Insane Clown Posse and a host of other rap songs (i.e. Stan by Eminem) that seem to qualify, but they have the girl killed by the boyfriend. I guess I don't want to go there. But then again, Frankie Teardrop by Suicide is a pretty awesome song (he might be older than a teen though.)
Dead Teen Compilations, I haven't heard these or own them, I just found them on the web:
Write me, tell me your favorite dead teen
Or my new page, all about tour spiel songs..
So, you're looking for lyrics
Last updated 4 March 2011