A teenage tragedy song
is a style of ballad popular between the late 1950s and 60s.The lyrics of the songs tell the story
of teenage death, either sung from the viewpoint of the dead person's sweetheart, or sometimes from the viewpoint
of the dead (or dying) person.Many of the famous teenage tragedy songs deal with a deadly car crash.In modern times they tackle the issue of teenage suicide.The genre is known for producing
sad love ballads that generate great visual imagery for the listener.Here is a list of some great
teenage tragedy songs.
10. Blink 182 - Adam's Song
Adam's Song is a song by American punk band Blink 182.It was released on their third album
Enema of the State, the album largely credited for the band's success.The song's lyrics deal
with depression and suicide, a noticeable departure from most Blink 182 lyrics.Blink 182 was forced
to release a statement indicating to the public that the lyrics were in no way a reference to a real person,
and any similarits between the characters, places, and events is purely coincidental.
Adam’s Song caused a stir in 2000 when it was reported that the song was set on replay indefinitely on the stereo
of 17-year-old Greg Barnes, a survivor of the Columbine High School massacre, who hanged himself in the garage of
his family's home.The song was one of five Blink 182 releases that peaked at #2 on the US Modern
9. Mark Dinning
- Teen Angel (1959)
Angel is a teenage tragedy song written by Jean Dinning and her husband Red Surrey.It was recorded
by Jean's brother, Mark Dinning in 1959.The song was a one-hit wonder for Dinning and reached
#1 on the U.S. Billboard singles chart in February of 1960.It peaked at #37 in the UK, even
though it was banned from being played by the BBC.Teen Angel was one of the first songs to deal with
teenage death.The lyrics attracted controversy and the song was banned by many radio stations. The lyrics are about a girl who
is out on a ride with her boyfriend. Their car gets stalled on a railroad track when he pulls her
to safety.However, she runs back to the car to get something and gets hit by the train. When
they find her body, the narrator's high school class ring is in her hand, apparently the reason that she ran
back.Teen Angel was featured in the 1973 film American Graffiti.
Stan - Eminem featuring Dido (1999)
Stan was the third single released from Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers
LP. The song features English singer Dido and samples her hit single Thank You. Stan was a major success and
reached #1 in the United Kingdom and Australia. It is considered one of the most original rap tracks
Stan tells the fictional story
of a fan that is obsessed with Eminem and continually writes him fan mail. The first three verses of the song are delivered by Eminem as Stan, while the fourth verse is Eminem attempting to write to Stan, only to realize that he
has already heard about Stan's death on the news.The video for the song stars Canadian
actor Devon Sawa and is considered one of the greatest and most controversial videos ever created.
7. Jan &
Dean - Dead Man’s Curve (1964)
Dead Man’s Curve is a 1964 hit song by Jan and Dean.The lyrics
of the song tell the story of a teen drag race gone awry.According to the song, the race starts
at Sunset and Vine and is between a Corvette Sting Ray and a Jaguar XKE.The cars are traveling west
on W. Sunset Blvd, passing the streets, N. La Brea Ave, N. Crescent Heights Blvd. and N. Doheny Dr. Deadman's
curve could be after N. Whittier Drive or the next curve after Delfem Drive, or even at the intersection of Sunset and
Co-songwriter Roger Christian wanted the
song to end with the racers finishing in a tie, but Jan Berry insisted it end in a fiery crash.Dead
Man’s Curve is highly regarded as one of the most popular teenage tragedy songs of all time.It
peaked at #8 on the U.S. singles chart.
6. Terry Jacks
- Seasons in the Sun (1974)
in the Sun is an English-language adaptation of the song Le Moribond by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel. It
became a worldwide hit for Terry Jacks in 1974.The song is a dying child's farewell to relatives and friends.It was an international hit and topped the charts in the United States, Canada and
the UK.The song has sold over six million copies worldwide.Seasons in the Sun
is one of the most touching songs ever written.
Nirvana Cover: Seasons in the Sun
The Verve Pipe - The Freshmen (1997)
The Freshmen is an alternative rock song by The Verve Pipe.It
was released on the bands 1996 album Villains.Brian Vander Ark wrote the song in 1991 about
the guilt he felt from his ex-girlfriend having an abortion. The songs lyric, "stoppin' baby's breath and
a shoe full of rice" refers to the marriage that would not happen between the two despite the pregnancy. The
song was written after watching the film The Freshman starring Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick.
In an interview, Vander Ark was quoted as saying, "At some point in
our lives, we're all freshmen. We think we know everything, but we don't know much".The teenage girl in the song is based on Vander Ark's girlfriend at the time, who really had an abortion.
However, she didn't actually commit suicide like in the song, which Vander Ark said was poetic
license. The lyrics of this song are quite revealing, “For the life of me I cannot remember what
made us think that we were wise and we'd never compromise.For the life of me I cannot believe
we'd ever die for these sins, we were merely freshmen.”
Leader of the Pack - The Shangri-Las (1964)
Leader of the Pack is a pop song recorded by girl group The Shangri-Las.
It reached the top of the U.S. singles chart on November 28, 1964.The record was controversial
in the 1960s.In the United Kingdom, the song was refused airplay by the BBC, probably due to its
death theme, although some have speculated that it may have been an attempt to prevent violence between the mods
and rockers.Leader of the Pack charted four times in the UK between 1965 and 1976, peaking at #3
in 1972.The record also reached #1 in Australia.
Leader of the Pack’s tells the story of a girl named Betty, who is asked by friends to confirm that
she is dating Jimmy, the leader of a motorcycle gang.After singing of love at first sight, Betty's
heart turns to despair as her parents disapprove of Jimmy.They claim he hails from "the wrong
side of town" and will be a bad influence on her.They ask Betty to tell Jimmy goodbye.Betty does as she is asked and breaks it off with Jimmy.As he speeds of on his motorcycle,
Jimmy crashes on a rain-slickened surface and dies.The song was featured on the soundtrack of the
Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas.
3. Pearl Jam
– Jeremy (1992)
Jeremy is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam.The lyrics were written by vocalist
Eddie Vedder and music by bassist Jeff Ament.Jeremy was released in 1992 as the third single from
Pearl Jam's debut album, Ten. The song reached the number five spot on both the Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock
Billboard charts in the U.S.The record gained notoriety by way of its music video, which was put
into heavy rotation by MTV.In 1993, it won MTV Video of the Year.Pearl Jam did
not like the notoriety, so they stopped making music videos.
lyrics of the song are based on two different true stories, with the majority of the inspiration coming from a newspaper
article about a 15-year- old boy named Jeremy Wade Delle, born February 10, 1975, from Richardson, Texas who shot
himself in front of his English class at Richardson High School on the morning of January 8, 1991. In a 2009 interview,
Vedder said that he felt "the need to take that small article and make something of it; to give that action, to
give it reaction, to give it more importance.”When Eddie Vedder was in elementary school a
boy he had previously had altercations with brought a gun to school and fired shots in a classroom, but nobody was
Peterson - Tell Laura I Love Her (1960)
Tell Laura I Love Her is a teenage tragedy song written by Jeff Barry and Ben Raleigh.It was an American hit for singer Ray Peterson in 1960, reaching #7 on the U.S. singles
chart.Later that same year, the song was recorded and released by Ricky Valance in the United Kingdom,
where it went to the #1 spot.Tell Laura I Love Her has been a major hit in fourteen countries
and has sold over seven million copies worldwide.
The lyrics of the song tell the tragic story of a teenage boy named Tommy who is desperately in love with a girl
named Laura. They are only teenagers, but he wants to marry her, so he enters a racing car championship,
planning to use the prize money to buy Laura a wedding ring. During the race the car gets overturned
after being t-boned at a roundabout and burst into flames. Tommy is killed with his last words being "Tell Laura
I love her...my love for her will never die".
Ricky Valance Version
1. J. Frank Wilson
and the Cavaliers - Last Kiss (1964)
Last Kiss is a song that was written by Wayne Cochran in 1962 and originally performed
by Wayne Cochran & the C.C. Riders, although their version of the song had little success.Last
Kiss was later covered by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers in 1964.J. Frank Wilson’s cover
was a commercial success and reached the Top 10 on the U.S. singles chart.Wayne Cochran was initially inspired to write Last Kiss after having lived near a dangerous highway as a child.The
lyrics are based on a real accident in which several teens were killed and two seriously injured when their car struck
a flatbed logging truck. Sixteen-year-old
Jeanette Clark was out on a date in Barnesville, Georgia on December 22, 1962, the Saturday before Christmas. She
was with a group of friends in a 1954 Chevrolet.J. L. Hancock, also sixteen, was driving the car
in heavy traffic and while traveling on Highway 341, collided with a trailer truck. Clark, Hancock,
and another teenager were killed, and two other teens in the car were seriously injured.Cochran dedicated
the song to Clark.Last Date is widely regarded as one of the most successful teenage tragedy songs
ever written.In 1999, rock band Pearl Jam covered Last Kiss.Their version was
an international hit and reached the Top 50 all over the world. Pearl Jam’s cover peaked at #2 in the U.S. and
reached the Top 10 in Canada.It remains the bands most commercially successful single.
Roy Orbison - Leah
Orbison was an American singer-songwriter and musician, well known for his distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions,
and dark emotional ballads.In 1962 he released the single Leah, which tells the story of teenage tragedy.Leah was a hit and reached the #1 spot on the Australian singles chart.The
song peaked at #19 in Canada and #25 in the U.S.
- Honey (1968)
Honey is a song written by Bobby Russell.It was recorded by Bobby Goldsboro in 1968 and
released on his 10th album titled Honey.The song's protagonist mourns his deceased lover, reflecting
on their relationship before turning to the day "the angels came."The song spent five weeks
atop the U.S. singles chart and peaked at #2 in the UK.Honey was also very popular in Australia.It was Bobby Goldsboro’s most successful release and the sixth most successful singe of 1968.The song was originally recorded by Bob Shane of the Kingston Trio.It has been bashed by many
media members and was labeled The Worst Song of All Time by the Cincinnati Enquirer.