Pop Life

Five Murderers' Unreleased Children's Albums

Page 3 of 5

Bonnie & Clyde, Songs For Children

At some point early on in Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow's crime spree, they took a tape recorder off of one of their victims. While on the lam, they proceeded to record demo after demo of what, by the time of their deaths, amounted to 14 songs. Neither Bonnie nor Clyde possessed the ability to play any musical instrument, so with most songs the only accompaniment is a tambourine, or sometimes simply handclaps.

A few songs feature a child's xylophone toy that Parker was somehow able to get her hands on. Parker is thought to have been the most interested in making the recordings, as Barrow often only half-heartedly mumble-sings for the chorus of most of the songs and has no solo sections. The lyrics are also clearly written in Parker's "simplistic" style; the song "Trees" contains the lyrics "I like trees, trees are good/ Trees are sometimes made of wood."

Another song, called "Birds," simpy repeats the mantra "Birds got eyes, birds got wings/ I like to hear the birdies sing" over and over until a distant voice, obviously Barrow's, admonishes Parker to "cut the shit, I got a roarin' headache." After the lovers/criminals died in a hail of gunfire, police collected the tapes and donated them to WNOE, a local radio station, where they sat for years until an intern, looking for tapes that could be recorded over, discovered them.

That intern, a young Phil Hendrie, slipped the song "Nice Things Are Nice" into that evening's rotation, and before you could say "Weird Al," Bonnie & Clyde finally began to achieve a moderate amount of success as a novelty act. Rumor has it they were the main inspiration for The Shaggs.

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John Seaborn Gray