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Right! Let’s learn more about some infamous murderers, dspots and serial killers on a more social level. This week: music, what are their musical tastes?
So what’s so fascinating about the musical tastes of murderers? Surely, they all listen to either thrash metal (the choice of every angry, sweaty, smelly basement-dwelling leather-clad fan of tinned hotdogs and tinnitus), classical (the choice of uptight, sad, single, tweed-wearing, sacked Geography teachers who stink of bleach, Bovril and BO) and opera (the choice of all arseholes called Hubert). I’m guessing. Oh relax, the first album I ever owned was Touch Me! By ex-Page Three Girl Sam Fox. Go figure. (sing).
Well, unlike in interviews where most murderers pretend to be candid but have actually pre-prepared their answers to make themselves seem deeper, smarter or nuttier, learning what they listened to can give you a better insight into their true-selves. Although, what their choice means, is up to you. So…
Rose West of the infamous 25 Crowell Street murders, who is currently serving a life sentence at Low Newton Prison in Durham, having sadistically tortured and murdered ten young girls with her husband, including her own step-daughter, was raised listening to her dad’s personal favourites of Elvis Presly and Bill Haley, but she adored 1950’s crooner and later the BBC disc jockey Jimmy Young (whose had top ten hits with love songs like Chain Gang, Someone on your Mind and Too Young). Okay, I may have accidentally cherry-picked these song-titles.
Fred West, her husband, who hung himself in prison before he could be found guilty of (at least) twelve murders with his wife, was a huge fan of black American country music star Charley Pride, who sang such heartfelt emotional ballads as “kiss an angel good morning”, “I’m so afraid of losing you again” and “I can’t believe you stopped loving me”.
Dennis Nilsen dubbed “the kindly killer”; prior to strangling each of his young slim victims, and later fondling and defiling their slowly cooling corpses, used to get himself “in the mood” by listening to Tommy by The Who (which is oddly a rock opera about a sexually abused boy), Journey to the Centre of the Earth by prog-rock legend Rick Wakeman, Royal Philharmonic’s bastardisation of Bach called Hooked on Classics, and – his personal favourite - Frankenstein by The Edgar Winter Group. Many of these hits Nilsen would play on his own personal keyboard in HMP Full Sutton prison.
Peter Sutcliffe, known as the “Yorkshire Ripper”, who murdered 13 women and attempted to kill seven others, loved a truly eclectic mix of music; as seen on the C90 cassettes he kept, many of which have since been sold to morbid collectors. Predictably he liked Mozart’s Requiem, he was a fan of Hot Chocolate, Bee Gees. The Eurythmics and Earth Wind and Fire; he loved reggae, with his favourites being “the first time I ever saw your face” by Marcia Griffiths, “please don’t make me cry” by UB40 and “wonderful world, beautiful people” by Jimmy Cliff and – strangely for a man with a real hatred for women – he loved Joan Baez (rhymes with wise) especially songs like “don’t think twice, it’s alright”, “all my trials” and “Joe Hill” (which he lists as “Joe you’re ten years dead”).
Oddly, very little is known about Myra Hindley’s musical tastes prior to meeting Ian Brady, but upon dating him, she developed a shared love of Wagner (Hitler’s favourite), as well as a series of popular songs which Hindley & Brady used as a secret reference to their victims, such as; “Girl Don’t Come” by Sandie Shaw, “It’s All Over Now” by Joan Baez, “Legion’s Last Patrol” by Ken Thorne, “24 From Tulsa” by Gene Pitney and “It’s Over” by Roy Orbison.
And yet, sadly for murderer Robert Maudsley (correct spelling is Mawdsley, for reference, don't worry everyone gets it wrong), who was horrifically abused as a child, went on to kill a child rapist and having murdered a fellow inmate – in a story which tabloid hacks cruelly dubbed him ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’ as they claimed he ate the prisoner’s brain, which was complete an utter bullshit (amongst anyone with an IQ above 6, the nickname stuck), sadly Robert Maudsley has spent 23 hours a day, every day, for the last 40 years in solitary confinement in a five metre by four metre bullet-proof cell in Wakefield Prison with a table and chair made from cardboard. And even though he loves classical music? He has never been allowed a radio, and hasn’t heard music since 1983.
For our friends overseas, here’s a few for you; John Wayne Gacy, dubbed the “killer clown” loved Keep On Loving You and Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon. Jeffrey Dahmer, the “Milwaukie cannibal” loved Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, The Wizard and Iron Man, and Charles Manson, the supremely dull news-whore and the former cult leader of Helter Skelter, claimed The Beatles’ White Album was a message to his followers about the upcoming race wars… and yaddy yaddy yah, etc, but he was a big fan of The Beach Boys, the Mammas & The Pappas and Neil Young.
And, finally, what about military despots and dictators (and, before you ask, no a “dictator” is not a military maniac whose penis resembles a King Edward potato, although that could explain a lot)
Adolf Hitler, we call know that the “Nazi Nutjob” was a huge fan of Wagner and apparently carried around a copy of Tristan und Isolde (Ih-solder) in his knapsack, but former Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi reportedly paid out millions of dollars for Nelly Furtado, Maria Carey, 50 Cent, Lionel Richie, Usher, Kanye West and Beyonce to personally perform for him and his family. Environmentally-friendly frontman and political flag-waver Sting was paid £1million to perform for the daughter of Uzbek president – Islam Karimov – who has been denounced for serious human rights violations, the massacre of protestors and – ironically – has a dreadful environmental record.
Having has his ITunes account hacked, it was revealed that the favourite songs of Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad are I’m Sexy & I know It by the gold jock-strapped prancers LMFAO, I’m Too Sexy and Don’t Talk Just Kiss by the notoriously camp and openly homosexual songsters Right Said Fred, as well as Hurt by Leona Lewis, Look at Me Now by Chris Brown and A Tribute to Cliff Richard.
If you found this interesting? Check out the Mini Mile episodes of the Murder Mile UK True-Crime Podcast, or click on the link below to listen to an episode.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten curious, quirky, unusual and different things to do in London”, nominated "one of the best true-crime podcasts at the British Podcast Awards 2018", and featuring 12 murderers, including 3 serial killers, across 15 locations, totaling 50 deaths, over just a one mile walk
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster of Murder Mile UK True Crime and creator of true-crime TV series.
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