Even though music exists to bring joy into people's lives, there are still some incredible songs that have influenced (or have been blamed for) great tragedies. Here are six songs that have been blamed for awful things.
1. The Beatles - "Helter Skelter" (1968)
When the Manson family went on its infamous murder spree in 1969, its intention was to spark an apocalyptic race war in America, which Charles Manson referred to as "Helter Skelter," named for the Beatles song. Manson claimed that the song, as well as others from the Beatles' "White Album," contained coded prophecies about the upcoming apocalypse. Though Manson took his interpretation of the song to a horrific extreme, he wasn't as far off as you might think: Paul McCartney has said that the song was a metaphor for "the rise and fall of the Roman Empire," which certainly has some apocalyptic undertones.
2. Ozzy Osbourne - "Suicide Solution" (1980)
Writing a song with the word "suicide" in the title is going to get you into some hot water, as Ozzy Osbourne discovered in 1986, when he was brought to court after a teenage fan committed suicide. The parents of the teen claimed that their son decided to kill himself after listening to Osbourne's song "Suicide Solution," despite the fact that the song was actually about the dangers of alcohol abuse. The case was eventually thrown out when Osbourne couldn't be proven responsible for the teen's death.
3. Judas Priest - "Better By You, Better Than Me" (1978)
Four years after the Ozzy Osbourne case, Judas Priest was brought to court on similar charges, when two fans from Nevada committed suicide after allegedly being manipulated into doing so by the band's song "Better By You, Better Than Me." Though Judas Priest didn't actually write the song (it was a cover of a song by Spooky Tooth) the band was accused of inserting subliminal messages into its recording, urging listeners to kill themselves. Like the Osbourne case before it, this case was eventually thrown out when the court failed to prove that any subliminal messages existed.
4 & 5. Slayer - "Post Mortem"/"Dead Skin Mask" (1986/1990)
Instead of being accused of encouraging suicide like Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest, Slayer was accused of encouraging something even worse: murder. When Elyse Pahler was found murdered in 1996, her parents filed a lawsuit against Slayer for allegedly giving instructions for the crime in the songs "Post Mortem" and "Dead Skin Mask." The case was eventually dismissed, with the killers themselves even denying that Slayer had anything to do with it.
6. Fela Kuti - "Zombie" (1977)
Nigerian musician Fela Kuti came from a family of political activists, which influenced the highly political nature of some of his work. In 1977, Kuti released the enormously popular album Zombie, whose title track criticized the Nigerian military. As a result of these criticisms, the military attacked the Kalakuta Republic, Kuti's massive commune, and threw Kuti's mother out of a window, causing her to fall into a coma and pass away eight weeks later. Kuti would survive the attack and even continue performing "Zombie," though not without controversy: the song incited a riot during a performance in Ghana in 1978.
What other songs have been blamed for awful things? Let us know in the comments section!