September 2019 Assignment

Write a song about murder

It doesn’t necessarily have to be confessional and could be written from the perspective of the doer, the do-ee, the weapon, a witness, a news consumer or a songwriter who just got a killer songwriting assignment.

Songs about murder go back as far as the linkage of words and music. A murder song might reveal the central character through dark lyrics and minor chords, or not. There are no rules. 

Here are some murder songs that will knock you dead.

“Down by the Banks of the Ohio” by Unknown. First recorded 1927. Performed by Johnny Cash. 

“Delia’s Gone” by Unknown. First recorded 1928. Performed by Johnny Cash

“Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash

“The Long Black Veil” by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkins. Performed by Lefty Frizzell

“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” by Lennon/McCartney. Performed by The Beatles

“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” by Bobby Russell. Performed by Vicki Lawrence

“Down by the River” by Neil Young. Performed by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

“Murder by Numbers” by Sting. Performed by The Police

“Watching the Detectives” by Elvis Costello

“Murder On The Dance Floor” by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

“Dial M for Murder” by Ja Rule

“Murder was the Case” by Snoop Dog

“Murder On My Mind” by YNW Melly