Exploring Song Choices
The West Memphis Three Case—this truly is an intriguing
and super cool topic. Three kids (who dressed in black and
did not fit in with others in the town) were accused and
convicted of killing young boys. For years, Hollywood
celebs like Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder fought for the
release of the West Memphis Three. Who really killed the
young boys if these 3 did not? Pick this and you will be
investigating a modern-day witch hunt.
Hailing from my home state, Dahmer
brought us great shame. He was a serial
killer and cannibal of 17 boys. He didn’t
live to see a later life.
5 marchers were shot and killed
by members of the KKK and
American Nazi Party
The shady part is that police
watched the event and didn’t do
much to prevent it.
“88 Seconds in Greensboro”
“American Skin” or “41 Shots”
A Bruce Springsteen song about the 1999
murder of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed
immigrant, which set off a tirade about
racial profiling in America
“Angel of Harlem”
Billie Holiday was jazz singer whose
performances often moved people to
tears. She battled much in her life—
racism, drug addiction, and relationships.
She died too early.
“April 29, 1992”
Rodney King, a black motorist, was
beaten in a routine traffic stop. His
attackers (the police) were acquitted and
the world rioted for 6 straight days. 53
“Ballad of Ira Hayes”
Tale of one of five marines who raised the
flag at Iwo Jima
His death was a horrible one—one all too
common for our veterans
“Black Day in July”
Police raided an African-American drinking
club…to find a party welcoming home
Vietnam vets. A racial riot ensued. The
numbers were startling…over 7000 were
arrested; many were injured; a multitude
“Blowin’ in the Wind”
―The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the
wind.‖ It is a protest song, but what is
Dylan protesting? Civil rights? War?
“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”
Systematic destruction of the Native
Americans by our government—go
figure, the destruction still continues
If you love corrupt politicians, then this is
the song for you. It is a song highlighting
America’s finest—liar that is…Richard
“Candle in the Wind”
The song has gone through several
versions, but you would be researching
the initial inspiration—Marilyn Monroe—
her life and death
Some question the ―legend‖ of her being
the one asked/killed because she said she
did believe in God.
Typical teenage girl who once was
consumed in a life of drugs…she found her
faith and supposedly tried to defend it on
that infamous day in Littleton, Colorado.
“Deep Red Bells”
You will be researching the Green River
killer Gary Ridgway. He was convicted of
48 separate murders. He admitted to
killing twice that amount of people.
Can there be a COOLER story than that of
the infamous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde? I
Dropped ―Little Boy‖ on Hiroshima—
forever changing the world.
Named after the mother of the pilot.
If you are interested in the assassination
of John Lennon (of the Beatles), this
would be a cool topic for you.
“For What it is Worth”
―Stop, children. What’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.‖
The song takes on a true generational
problem—its real inspiration came from
the Sunset Strip riots
“Freedom” by Rage
The song recounts the wrongful conviction
of Leonard Peltier (a Native American
whose tribe had been annihilated in drive-
by shootings by our government). The
tribe fought back and Peltier was
wrongfully convicted. He rots in jail
because the legal system is too weak to
admit it is WRONG!
Want to learn more about one of the most
famous killers to exact revenge on his
victims and the police? Then enter the of
this Slayer song about the Zodiac Killer.
A scathing look at President George W.
Bush and FEMA’s slow rescue of those
stranded in New Orleans due to Hurricane
A song about how much our Vietnam
veterans went through and how little they
were supported while at war/when they
“Heaven Runs on Oil”
Interested in the war with Iraq and our
world’s reliance on black gold (oil that is)?
Pick this song.
Had its own life before Charles Manson
hijacked the song. It was a prophetic
song of racial tensions destroying our
You can also study its relation to my
favorite freakazoid, Charles Manson
“Hey Man, Nice Shot”
Be prepared to be disturbed, really
disturbed about this on-air suicide which
was shown in classrooms throughout our
nation. The man is from our local area.
Don’t ignore this song…one of the coolest
topics to research. Have you seen the
movie with Denzel Washington? Rubin
Carter was a black boxer who, in my
opinion, was FRAMED for murders he did
not commit. He spent 20 years in jail—a
wrongfully convicted man.
“I Don’t Like Mondays”
I know you hate Mondays. The song’s origin
is truly fascinating. A crazy woman opened
up fire on a bunch of young kids at a
playground…the end result? Fascinating.
Remember the House episode with Dave
Matthews? This song was a crucial part of
*Did I fail to mention that Hugh Laurie is my
biggest celebrity crush? I know he is old and
that is creepy…
Eddie Vedder tried to give life to a small
story of a boy who committed suicide in
his English class; it has a second story as
well. In my opinion, it is the best SONG
on the list.
“John Wayne Gacy”
Not for the weak of heart
Beyond SICK serial killer who dressed as
Pogo the clown to lure boys to their
One of the most fascinating stories on the
list. ―Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid‖ takes on
new meaning. A cult leader who led young
children and others to mass suicide.
GREAT documentaries on this historical
Remember Trayvon Martin…the kid we
studied on the first day of school? The
African-American kid who was shot by a
Hispanic man…thinking Trayvon was up to
no good. All Trayvon had in his pocket
was Skittles. But was this self-defense?
Just added this one this year…I would love
someone to pick this topic. Latimer killed
his son who was in pain and suffering (he
had multiple crippling diseases). Latimer
went to prison while many think what he
did was humane. Peer into the dark tale…
While 9-11 was a dark, dark day, Flight 93
was a slight ray of light in the midst of the
utter despair. This song was written about
Todd Beamer and the others who overtook
the plane and crashed it. Ultimately, they
saved many lives on that day.
“Lonesome Death of Hattie Caroll”
One of the stories on this list that makes
me ashamed of my American
ancestors…her SENSELESS death and the
nation’s reaction to it REPULSES me
Most twisted love story I have ever heard
of…you know Mary Kay, the elementary
teacher, who fell in love with her young
student. She had kids with him, went to
jail, and then still went after him.
What is wrong with the world today?
Reaction to the confession of the Boston
“Miracle Man” by Ozzy Osbourne
Disgruntled with corrupt religious figures?
Jimmy Swaggart took a pretty big
religious FALL, and Ozzy discusses
A civil rights leader who was gunned down
outside his home…his kids found him
dead. It took 31 years for his killer to be
brought to justice.
“Nothing to Gein”
Squeamish? Can’t handle a story about a
man who skinned his victims and then
wore their flesh? Don’t pick this topic.
Anti-war? Choose this song about the
Kent State Riots. You will have a wealth of
research. ―Innocent?‖ college kids were
gunned down for their beliefs on war.
Recent Arizona legislation which is our
nation’s most stringent law on the books
for anti-immigration. There is great
controversy over this bill.
Great song…not-so-great story that
inspired the event. This song is the
HARDEST one on the list to research. You
would have to dig REALLY deep and have
a whole lot of Nirvana books to find the
“Pride in the Name of Love”
MLK’s assassination—a safe topic with a
wealth of research. A great song to
“Make it Stop”
Too many gay, lesbian, queer, and
transgender kids seem to be turning to
suicide after terrible bullying. Tyler
Clementi (the boy who jumped off a
bridge after his college roommate secretly
filmed him) and others are profiled in the
A song recounting the nuclear Power Plant
accident and Three Mile Island. Our
government reported no deaths or
injuries. They lied. Lung cancer and
leukemia rates in the area spiked (as did
infant mortality rates).
I would love to have a group cover this
song about the senseless murder of
Matthew Shepard. He was a homosexual
who was brutally beaten, tied to a
fence, and left for dead. Why? That is
where the mystery starts.
“She’s Going Places”
A song written in memory of Caylee
Anthony whose mom got away with
murder (my opinion). Obviously, the
courts feel differently. Such an injustice
this young girl is dead.
Safe song…great story…a ton of research
Tale of Rosa Parks and what she so
bravely accomplished with one simple
A look into our nation’s dark past when it
comes to slavery.
“Talking Cuban Crisis”
There was a time where our nation got
eerily close to war with Cuba…It was a
tense time and a shameful one for our
This song was written as a memorial to
Kurt Cobain after his tragic ―suicide?‖
You would be looking at the death and
life/legacy of Kurt Cobain
“Ted, Just Admit It”
Nice guy with a not –so-nice obsession.
Girls about to go off to college…don’t pick
the topic. Ted Bundy is the source for
much disconcerting information.
“The Big Three Killed my Baby”
In this song, the White Stripes attack
GM, Chrysler, Ford and unions for killing
off part of America.
“The Last Resort”
Calling fellow environmentalists—a look at
how the government takes away what
little natural resources we have left.
“The Manhattan Project”
Science gurus unite
Our first attempt to develop a nuclear
Tons of research to help here
If you are obsessed with the boys who
shot up Columbine, this is the song for
you. Fascinating research. Incredibly
“The Wreck of the Edmund…”
Mystery abounds with this ship that sank
with NO distress calls.
“Tie My Hands”
Lil Weezy critizes my favorite president of
all time about his ―quick‖ response with
Hurricane Katrina (I do miss George W.)
“Throw Yourself Away”
Prom is about fun and dancing, right?
Well, for one young teen it was a place to
birth a baby in the bathroom and then
throw it away in the trash. Truly a
“Trouble Every Day”
Why do rappers sing about Watts? It has
a story—then and now.
Valentine’s Day isn’t all love and roses.
For Chicago, it is the day of one of the
worst mob massacres ever.
“When This is Over”
Don’t like your kids? Why don’t you put
them in a car, roll them into a lake, and
blame it all on an innocent African-
This is the messed-up world of convicted
mother/murderer Susan Smith.
“Whitey on the Moon”
A biting social commentary on our race to
the moon at the expense of more pressing
“Who Will Stop the Rain”
This song details Vietnam and the EMPTY
promises of politicians.
It is a great Creedence Clearwater Revival
Kanye West wasn’t the only artist to
criticize the SLOW response time of our
government when it came to Hurricane
Katrina. Audioslave took on the issue as
So, there is a little government secret
known as Guantanamo Bay, and there are
some not-so-nice things which happened
there. Patti Smith recalls the story of
Murat Kurnaz, a man who rotted away
there for 4 years without any real
evidence against him.
“Where Were You When the World
9-11 video to have us stop and think what
we were doing when we received the
“World Wide Suicide”
Pearl Jam’s stance on Operation Iraqi
Freedom. Let’s just say they are not fans
of the war or the government who sent
our troops into Iraq.
Vedder claims the song was written to
honor Pat Tillman (the American football
player who left his team to join the Army.
He later died in the war).