Bone-Chilling Songs That Dive Deep into Texas’ Dark Past
Sometimes the most fascinating songs are ones that are based in truth & reality. Some songs are uplifting, while others talk about tragic & dark events in history. Here are some songs all about dark events that occurred in Texas.
Some of these songs go into the topics that might be sensitive to others
Pearl Jam "Jeremy": One of the most popular PJ songs is Jeremy from the 1991 record Ten. Jeremy talks about the tragic true story of Jeremy Wade Delle; a 15 year old boy in Richardson, Texas who shot himself during his English class in front of his teacher & fellow class mates in January 8, 1991.
Fastball "The Way": Another 90s classic is the lead single from their 2nd album, All the Pain Money Can Buy called "The Way". The song might sound upbeat & positive, the lyrical content... isn't.
The song talks about the mysterious deaths to the elderly Salcedo, Texas couple; Lela & Raymond Howard. The couple were on their way to their favorite festival in Temple and went missing. They were found dead & miles away in Hot Spring, Arkansas.
This story became the inspiration for Tony Scalzo for writing The Way.
There's songs about infamous murder cases
The Stone Coyotes "Trouble Down In Texas": The alternative rock group The Stone Coyotes got started in Massachusetts, but they've received a lot of radio airplay in Texas. One of their popular songs is "Trouble Down In Texas".
If you listen to the song, it talks about the tale of a woman named Betty Lou. She gets courted by a couple of men, before she takes the lives of several men in the state of Texas. The woman in the story IS real; her name was Betty Lou Beets. A woman who had 5 ex husbands; she killed 2 of them and was arrested for shooting her 5th. She would be arrested, charged, and later executed in the state of Texas on February, 24th 2000.
There are songs about JFK's assassination
We know the tragic story of John F Kennedy's 1963 assassination in Dallas. A few artists would record songs surrounding the events of the JFK assassination like:
- Misfits "Bullet"
- Saxon "Dallas 1PM"
- Bob Dylan "Murder Most Foul". Bob's tribute clocks in at nearly 17 minutes.
Two additional songs are related to the JFK assassination:
- Deep Purple "Jack Ruby" talks about the man Jack Ruby and his assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald.
- Tori Amos "Jackie's Strength" talks about how Jackie Kennedy would continue life after her husband's murder.
Another dark story of Texas past is the story of Charles Whitman, the "Texas Tower Sniper".
In 1966, Charles killed his mother before going to The University of Texas at Austin. There he would kill 16 people and injure 31 others.
Many songs were based around Charles's story:
- Harry Chapin "Sniper"
- Insane Clown Posse "The Tower"
- Kinky Friedman "Ballad of Charles Whitman"
Never forgot Columbia
There are at least 2 songs about the 2003 Columbia Shuttle Disaster when it broke up over Louisiana & Texas:
- The Long Winters "The Commander Thinks Aloud"
- Kyle Breese "16 Minutes From Home"
Don't forget about natural disasters
"Wasn't That a Mighty Storm" is a folk song about the 1900 Galveston hurricane that killed between 6,000-8,000 people. It's been covered and made popular by artists Eric Von Schmidt & Tom Rush, Tony Rice & James Taylor.
El Paso Strong
Sinoda "832019" talks about, possibly, one of the darkest days in El Paso history; the Walmart shooting on August 3rd, 2019. This was a tribute dedicated to the lives & memories that we lost, and those who were affected by those horrible events.
Honorable Mention - Toadies "Possum Kingdom":
The Ft Worth rockers Toadies had a huge hit in the mid 90s with Possum Kingdom. However according to the lead singer, Vaden Todd Lewis, the story is actually based on a fictional story surrounding the lake.
However... because the song is so famous, and the fact that there may be some history surround Possum Kingdom Lake that we might not KNOW about, I couldn't leave it off the list.
Honorable Mention 2 - At The Drive-In "Invalid Litter Dept":
This song talks all about some of the unsolved murders of women in Juarez. While it's not set IN Texas, living in El Paso, it's extremely hard to ignore what happens in Juarez when you live right next to it.