In 2007, in a post about Norman Mailer, I mentioned that one of my all-time favorite songs is “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” by British punk band The Adverts. Gary Gilmore was a murderer who was executed in Utah, by firing squad, in January 1977. He was the first person executed in the U.S. since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, so it was a big story. His organs were indeed donated and two people received his corneas; The Adverts came out with their single about a fictional transplant recipient in August 1977. Norman Mailer’s book about Gilmore, The Executioner’s Song, came out in 1980.
I listen to this song every day at the gym, and every day, I feel amused by Gary Gilmore’s brother’s name change. Every day! It never gets old! Read my old post for more information on Gary’s brother, his name change and his excellent book. Click here to read the lyrics of Saturday Night Live‘s “Let’s Kill Gary Gilmore for Christmas” December 1976 Christmas carol. And here are The Adverts performing their song on Top of the Pops in 1977.
I enjoy other songs about murderers too. One day I should put together a playlist. Today’s not that day, though.
Susan Tiner says
Of course I had to read the old post to get of all these reference. So hilarious that you threatened to spank Mailer!
I should reread The Executioner’s Song, I loved it first time around.
As for Dori Lessing, I read the The Children of Violence books in college and loved them. So evocative of that time.
Make Do Style says
I love this song too – it creeped me out at one time but it is a great number & brilliant lyrics!!
That bassist looked so disinterested during that performance. Of course, I would, too, if I was just miming instead of being allowed to actually play my instrument as I would have on The Tube or The Old Grey Whistle Test.
If you do make a playlist, though, I could let you take over Music Monday and post your top five songs about murderers! It would be the perfect Halloween MM!
I’ll do it!
I’ll set up the account!
That's Not My Age says
Love this song – and the line, ‘Gary and his eyes have parted company!’
Ha ha! Yes!
Collette Osuna says
Ill have to take a listen…:)
I’ve never heard that song, but I’ll listen to it now.
Suzanne aka Punk Glam Queen says
I listen to this song on a regular basis as well! Love the Adverts and wish they had gone further as they were a great band! Nick Cave’s “Murder Ballads” is chock a block full of songs about murder! Mostly told as stories and quite eerie with Kylie Minogue and PJ Harvey providing extra vocals.
Mary Panjari says
I love the Adverts too! Also I concur re Murder Ballads. Of course Nick had affairs with PJ and maybe Kylie. Anyway, it gave Kylie some street cred.
Megan Mae says
If you ever to compile a playlist, I need a copy. I think that is sufficiently Creepy. I also have not heard the song before, or the story. Thanks for always introducing new stuff into my life.
I have a mini-playlist ready for next Monday!
Penny Dreadful Vintage says
Please include Stagger Lee when you put that list together x
Too late! Already wrote it and my picks are very basic and obvious…do a response to it when it comes out and improve upon my selection!
I love that band. Is that wrong? If loving the Adverts is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.