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Top 5 Songs With Disturbing Backstories

Updated on November 5, 2015

# 5 Kickstart my Heart by Mötley Crüe

Kickstart my Heart is an infectious anthem by Mötley Crüe, but few may realize that the song's title and chorus comes from an experience of bass player Nikki Sixx's. December 23, 1987, Nikki Sixx overdosed on heroin and was declared dead. He was revived with two adrenaline shots administered by an EMT who was actually a big fan of Sixx's. Upon being revived, Sixx escaped from the ambulance, made it back to his apartment and lived to rock another day. The experience lead Sixx to check himself into rehab and inspired him to write Kickstart my Heart.

Kickstart my Heart peaked at #27 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song has been featured in several films, trailers and tv commercials. The song was also released as a downloadable track for the Rock Band 3 game in 2011.

#4 The Way by Fastball

Front man, Tony Scalzo was inspired to write the lyrics to The Way after coming across several articles about the disappearance of an elderly couple in Salado, Texas. In June, 1997 Lela and Raymond Howard were on their way to the Pioneer Day festival in Temple, Texas located just 15 miles away from their home. Despite Raymond recovering from brain surgery and Lela having Alzheimer's disease, they decided to make the trip by themselves. Two weeks after their disappearance, they were discovered, dead, at the bottom of a ravine, 500 miles away from their intended route.

Tony Scalzo wrote the song before the Howard's were discovered. His intention was to romanticize their story. The lyrics to the song eerily predicted that the Howard's wouldn't make it home "You can see their shadows wandering off somewhere, They won't make it home, but they really don't care" and even hints that the Howard's final destination was the afterlife "... the road that they walk on is paved in gold, and it's always summer, they'll never get cold, they'll never get hungry, they'll never get old and grey"

The Way peaked at #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and was #1 on the Canada Hot 100. The song is Fastball's most well known and highest selling single to date.

#3 Jeremy by Pearl Jam

Jeremy is the third single on Peal Jam's debut album, Ten. The song was inspired by two tragic events. Eddie Vedder was inspired to write the single after reading a newspaper article about a 15-year-old boy who committed suicide in front of his High School English class.

Jeremy Wade Delle was a high-schooler described as a loner. On January 8, 1991, upon arriving late to class, Jeremy was told he would need to go to the office to get a late pass. When Jeremy returned he told his teacher, "Miss, I got what I really went for", pulled out a .357 Magnum revolver, put the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

The other tragedy involved a student that Eddie Vedder actually went to school with. Eddie recalled, "I actually knew somebody in junior high school, in San Diego, California, that did the same thing, just about, didn't take his life but ended up shooting up an oceanography room. I remember being in the halls and hearing it and I had actually had altercations with this kid in the past."

The music video for Jeremy received controversy due to it portraying a student "Jeremy", being harassed by his classmates, having a dysfunctional family life and ultimately killing himself in front of his class at the end. The song peaked at #79 on the US Billboard Hot 100, 3 years after it's initial release. MTV ranked the music video at #19 on their list of 100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made.

#2 I Don't Like Mondays by The Boomtown Rats

This piano ballad was inspired by the tragic Cleveland Elementary School shooting that took place January 29, 1979. Brenda Spencer was a 16 year old girl who lived across the street from the Elementary school. For Christmas she received a .22 rifle with a telescopic sight and 500 rounds of ammunition. On the Monday morning of January 29, Brenda went on a shooting spree from her home. She shot at children who were waiting outside the gates of the Elementary school. The principal, Burton Wragg, was killed while trying to shield and protect the children, the custodian, Mike Suchar, was also killed trying to get children to safety. Eight children and a police officer were injured by the gunfire, but none of them were fatally wounded. When Brenda was asked by a journalist why she committed the shooting, she replied, "I don't like Mondays".

I don't like Mondays was the only Boomtown Rats song to chart in the US. The single peaked at #73 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and #1 on the UK and Australia Singles charts.

#1 Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton

Some of the best songs ever written are about the pain of loss. Eric Clapton wrote Tears in Heaven following the loss of his four-year-old son, Conor, who fell from the 53rd floor of Clapton's mother's apartment building in New York City in 1991. The accident occurred after a housekeeper opened a 6'x4' window while Conor was out of the room. Conor was playing a game of hide and seek with his nanny, when he ran into the room, darted past the housekeeper and fell out of the window to his death.

Tears in Heaven was featured on the Soundtrack for the film Rush and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Clapton retired the song in 2004, citing that, "I didn't feel the loss anymore, which is so much a part of performing those songs. I really have to connect with the feelings that were there when I wrote them. They're kind of gone and I really don't want them to come back..." As of 2013, he has started playing the song live again.


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