Today marks the last known murder by the infamous Jack the Ripper, that of a prostitute named Mary Jane Kelly the Ripper brutally mutilated in 1888. What happened to Jack after the death of Kelly has never been discovered, whether he died, emigrated out of England, or was imprisoned on other charges is anyone's guess. His identity has never been discovered, and in Madame Tussaud's famous Chamber of Horrors he is represented only by a shadow.
Such an intriguing case full of sex, blood, and mystery is definitely going to do some inspiring, and dozens of tunes about the Ripper have been released. Today we present a playlist dedicated to one of history's most famous monsters with one song a piece for each of the lives he claimed on the end of his blade.
Spinal Tap teased us with the possibility of a Jack the Ripper musical in This is Spinal Tap, but it wouldn't be until 2009 that we'd actually get to hear a tune from the project as a SpinalTap.com exclusive bonus track off of Back From the Dead. The title comes from a postcard that is now widely believed to actually be a hoax rather than a true letter from Jack the Ripper. The original postcard has disappeared from police files, but copies remain.
Speaking of the Ripper letters, we should probably explain. Jack liked to send the police taunting notes about his work, inadvertently inventing the concept of trolling. Many of the letters attributed to him we later revealed as hoaxes, but the most famous one, signed "From Hell," is considered authentic. Radio Werewolf, always serial killer obsessed, used the text of the letter for this track off of 1989's the Fiery Summons.
We had no idea that Morrissey had done a song about Jack the Ripper, but when one of your most popular songs has the lyric "sweetness, I was only joking when I said by rights you should be bludgeoned in your bed," you can't be too surprised. It's not Morrissey's best work, but as far as tunes about serial killers go it's pretty damned good.
Judas Priest has a track called "Ripper" as well, but we thought we'd trot out the more obscure Praying Mantis ode to the killer. Plus, we're trying to keep the metal to a minimum on this playlist as going metal when dealing with famous murderers is just not even trying.
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We will never, ever let an opportunity to feature the Legendary Pink Dots go by. We promise. Here's a typically bizarre, disturbing, and completely mind-fucking tune from Ka-Spel and the boys. We mentioned in the beginning that the Ripper's fate remains unknown, but we dearly hope that this bloody fantasy of feminine vengeance is as close to reality as possible.