Talk:Murder ballad

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Nick Cave[edit]

[T]his needs a disambiguation page VS. the page for the Nick Cave album of the same title. I do not know how to do this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 63.204.104.165 (talkcontribs)

Yo could create a page titles Murder Ballad (disambiguation). However that is not necessary since the title of the album is different from the title of this article (Murder Ballads v. Murder Ballad). I will put a pointer at the top of both articles, which is customary when there are only two items to be disambiguated. Dsmdgold 14:08, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Recent Nick Cave overkill?[edit]

We now have three mentions of Mr. Cave and his album in this article (not to mention his own article). I'm sure he and it are wonderful. But is this a little overweighted? Hult041956 21:00, 26 October 2007 (UTC) (fixed my own errors Hult041956 21:09, 26 October 2007 (UTC) )

List of murder ballads[edit]

The list of murder ballads is probably too long. Since there are no references for the ones that are there, and no clear definition of what is a legitimate murder ballad and what is not, all sorts of songs have been added that might not belong. I think we have to limit the list to songs mentioned in the sources, like Olive Woolley Burt's book, and delete anything else. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 15:17, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Isn't the definition of a "murder ballad" pretty intuitive? They are songs about a murderer, a murder, or murders? K. Scott Bailey 15:28, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Unfotunately, that sort of definition would leave the article a bloody mess (if you'll forgive the pun), and make it worthless. I think we have to stick to historical murder ballads of the type defined in the literature. Some mention certainly should be made of contemporary songs and albums that are within the genre, or influenced by same (i.e., Nick Cave's album, etc.), but steer clear of rap, metal, etc., or anything that is not verifiably influenced by the genre. At the same time, I think the article is in need of a rewrite, with actual inline references. One good place to start would be Cecil Brown's book Stagolee Shot Billy, and in-depth analysis of the song "Stagolee" (or "Stagger Lee" or "Stack-a-Lee" etc.), its historical roots, and the continuing influence of its themes in contemporary music. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 16:14, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't necessarily disagree with you. I think that the "ballad" portion of the genre would exclude rap and such from the lists. On a related note, what do you think of my divisions of the current article? It was done quickly (my normal sphere is vandal-fighting, as well as writing an article from time to time), so if you have any better ideas, I'm more than open to suggestions/revisions of my current ideas. K. Scott Bailey 16:17, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I think your reorganizing of the article makes perfect sense. Clearly, someone did some good work on the article once-upon-a-time, because the list of "further reading" is excellent. But, the article seems to have been largely abandoned, and the great majority of recent edits have been to the list of murder ballads. Like other articles, such a list can end up overwhelming everything else, and such lists are generally considered verboten on Wikipedia. If it is on the list, there has to be a clear reason for its existence. In a related matter, the Stagger Lee article has some very useful information, some of which can be used in this article. It, though, is in need of some editorial work as well. Is there, as far as you know, a "Folk music" Wikiproject that this article could, and should, be a part of? ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 16:27, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure about the folk music thing. Have you tried looking around the various music projects? I have a lot of articles that I monitor strictly to keep them free from vandalism. This article is one that I watch a bit more closely, as I wrote the article for Tom Dula, who was the subject of the murder ballad Tom Dooley. When I get a chance, I'll poke around to see if there's a project in folk music (there almost HAS to be, as there seems to be a project for everything else) into which this article could be placed. K. Scott Bailey 16:37, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I already found an answer to my question: Wikiproject Roots Music. It was simple enough, actually, because the Stagger Lee article is part of said project. I am writing to one of the active members of the project right now to see how we can get the current article listed as part of the project. I will probably join the project myself. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 16:47, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Scott, the article looks and reads much better thanks to your reorganizing of it. (Nitpick: I don't care for periods [.] following list items.) About the list: see the chaos that has beset the similar article, Signature song. It's nearly become an anything-goes fan blog. One approach might be to prune off items that have no link, artist, or other hint of their notability. BTW, I suspect that Flora (added recently) was meant to be, Flora, Lily of the West. Hult041956 16:44, 26 October 2007 (UTC) (oops, fixed my own itals Hult041956 16:46, 26 October 2007 (UTC))
Thanks for the compliment! As for the periods in the list, removing them is no big deal. I simply formatted the list into columns, and added sections to the article. I had no part in the actual writing of the list. K. Scott Bailey 16:50, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
At the risk of overextending the lists of murder ballads, I've added Okkervil River's Westfall, an indie folk/rock song regarding four murders in Texas told from the murderers point of view that I feel exemplifies the genre in the modern idiom (plus it's an exceptional song in my admittedly personal opinion). --Imperialstout (talk) 00:00, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Removed 11 titles from "The List"[edit]

With the good faith additions of another editor adding 3, a net loss of 8 titles results. I basically just removed all titles that weren't either sourced or wikified. Hopefully, we can begin paring down the list to a more manageable length. K. Scott Bailey 18:18, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Looks good. As the other editor included some Woody Guthrie songs, I'm definitely good with that. After you, I made a couple more fixes. We're making good progress. Hult041956 21:12, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Suggest Stagger Lee split[edit]

I know this is the wrong place for this, but I'd appreciate your comments. I'm inclined to split Stagger Lee into "the person & the crime" and "the song". I posted this at Talk:Stagger Lee but haven't received any response. Hult041956 21:18, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

That actually might not be a bad idea. I will have to take a look at the article again to see if there is enough information to justify the split. Certainly, potentially, there could be two good articles on the subject, I simply do not know if the article in its current state justifys it. Good call, though, Hult041956. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 15:22, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Disambiguation message[edit]

I removed the following from the dab message at the top of the article:

Murder Ballads is also the title of a book of poetry (2005) by Jake Adam York.

Neither the book nor the author have a Wikipedia article currently, and if there are multiple articles (i.e., book or album titles, etc.) with the same title, there should be a separate dab page. That does not seem necessary at this point. If someone creates an article about York and/or his book, we can revisit the issue. I somehow doubt, though, that anyone came to the current article thinking the were going to find Mr. York's book of poetry. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 15:28, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Tom Lehrer song[edit]

The list of murder ballads includes, The Irish Ballad by Tom Lehrer. This song is actually an amusing parody of murder ballads. Do people think that fits here? Hult041956 17:02, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm... that's a poser, isn't it? It's a good song, but I would have to say it is really not appropriate for the list. A short subsection might be appropriate somewhere to talk about "modern" or "contemporary" murder ballads, which could include a discussion of parodies. What do you think? ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 17:10, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
i know it's four years later, but i'd like to put in a line about the tom lehrer song. i think that they've found a good solution at Lizie Wan, where they have a subsection entitled cultural references. this seems like a broader topic maybe than just "contemporary" murder ballads, and yet safer to use, since god knows how we would keep every random modern song with a killing out of the article if we invited people to add modern murder ballads. i think the fine distinction between ballads and non-ballads may be a little hard for some. feelings? — alf.laylah.wa.laylah (talk) 05:31, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Such a section would have to be monitored to keep out the junk, but it might be better than people continually adding inappropriate songs to the list of murder ballads. Of course, anything added would need to be sourced. ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 17:42, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Links to this Topic[edit]

The page for "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" references this topic, but the song is not on this list.

Either it should be (re)added, or the reference should be removed. That goes for any others that have been removed from this list.

P.S. Janie's Got a Gun? --- WhiteGoldWielder 22:26, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

I would argue that this song is not a murder ballad, per se, in the sense that we have been discussing here on this talk page, i.e., it is not a "classic" murder ballad, more of a contemporary gloss on the age old themes. The link should be left in the "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" article, and the song should be mentioned, along with several other notable modern songs, in a section on contemporary murder ballads. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 15:27, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Something is missing or is not clear in a definition if “correct” examples cannot be determined. What defines a classic murder ballad? Age? If so, what year is the cutoff for true murder ballads? Style? If so, what are the particulars of style that modern ballads do not imitate? What is it about modern songs that prevent them from being labeled as murder ballads? What am I not getting?
I mean, the whole point of Wiki is to sort these things out once and for all. It is never the reader, but the definition that is lacking. --- WhiteGoldWielder 22:26, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Modern murder ballads[edit]

As the following is unreferenced, and has become a point of contention, I am moving it here for discussion.

Among noteworthy modern examples of murder ballads is Billy Roberts' widely-covered song "Hey Joe", the most famous version being the Jimi Hendrix recording in 1967. Nick Cave's 1996 album Murder Ballads contains both traditional and original music of this form. Mick Harris (Scorn) and Martyn Bates (Eyeless in Gaza) also released an album with the same name. Other examples of modern murder ballads include Kristin Hersh's 1998 album Murder, Misery and Then Goodnight, the Pine Valley Cosmonauts' three volumes of The Executioner's Last Songs in 2002, and Alasdair Roberts' 2005 album No Earthly Man.

In the absence of references, and a clear definition of which contemporary songs fit the description of a "murder ballad," it is best that the article confine itself, at least for the time being, to "classic" murder ballads that are not in doubt. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 03:22, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

As I did not write that portion, nor am I familiar with the works (except for "Hey Joe"), I won't dispute the deletion of that paragraph. However, I wrote the following portion:

The murder ballad has also permeated other musical genres, such as heavy metal and hip-hop. In 1989, Skid Row released "18 and Life", about an 18 year old man who accidentaly shoots his friend while intoxicated, and is sentenced to life in prison. The controversial and much-acclaimed song "Stan" by rap artist Eminem, featuring Dido, was released in 2000 on The Marshall Mathers LP. The song is about an obssessed fan (Stan) who records his last thoughts on audio casette revealing that his bound and pregnant girlfriend was in the trunk of the car, while he was driving at high speed toward a bridge that is "out". Stan's portion of the song ends with the sound of squealing tires and a splash.[1]

I should point out that both songs' pages were placed in the category Category:Murder ballads (as was "Hey Joe"), and I will state that I did not put them there (though I did add "Murder ballad" to their "See also" sections). Therefore, it is logical to assume there are other editors who also feel both songs are "murder ballads". I thought in this context, a couple examples of how the "murder ballad" has entered other musical genres was appropriate. Perhaps a consensus by other editors can clear up whether these songs should be considered modern murder ballads, with the comment format of Agree, Disagree, or Comment followed by the editor's position. Boneyard90 (talk) 05:01, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Where the Wild Roses Grow[edit]

Is there any specific reason why Where the Wild Roses Grow hasn't been added to the list of murder ballads? It's one of the most well known murder ballads by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, of the 90's, and in general (Probably due to the inclusion of Kylie Minogue on vocals. It's also spawned several covers including Kamelot, Gregorian and Sara Noxx to name a few. Alinblack (talk) 10:18, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

olive burt quote and subsequent[edit]

this is in reference to this diff

dear all: i'm working on incorporating the further reading items into the body of the article as inline citations, and also improving and cleaning up the article in general. i won't be able to do this all at once, and it occurs to me that at some stages, it may look like i'm giving undue weight to this or that part of the information about murder ballads. this is certainly not my intention, so i just wanted to let anyone who's interested know about this. thanks! — alf.laylah.wa.laylah (talk) 20:29, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

"traditional" ballads vs. "broadside ballads"[edit]

i would like to rephrase this sentence from the lead paragraph: "Traditional ballads are independent from broadsheet ballads insofar as the typical broadsheet form does not use the same formulas or structures and is rooted in a literate society: traditional ballads flourished within non-literate groups within society." because i believe that it makes a false distinction. child makes clear, e.g. in the introduction to the twa sisters, that it was often the case that traditional versions and broadside versions of ballads could be quite close to one another, clearly at the beginning of broadside printing, because where else were they going to get their ballads, but even over the course of 100 years or more, as was the case with this song. i'm thinking something like:

in the mid 17th century, broadsheets became a popular medium for the distribution of ballads. at first, traditional ballads and the versions printed on broadsheets were quite similar, as the broadsheets took their material from traditional versions of songs. as time went by, and as songwriters began working explicitly for a printed medium, the formulas and the structures of the two traditions often diverged.

i can source this to child and probably somewhere else. it seems more accurate to me. on the other hand, it also occurs to me that the sentence is a little specific for the lead, and maybe should be moved to the section on the history of the murder ballad. any opinions? — alf.laylah.wa.laylah (talk) 04:54, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

theory and practice of the list[edit]

i tried to glean this information from the ongoing discussions here about the list, but couldn't find anything definitive. is there some kind of consensus regarding the relationship between the list in this article, and the songs in the category of murder ballads? is there any reason to have something here that's not there or vice versa, assuming of course that it's actually a murder ballad? is there any reason to duplicate the contents of the category here? or the contents of this list on the category? i'm not proposing anything here, i just wanted to add a song to the list, which led me to look at the category, which led me to wonder why we have this almost entirely but not quite overlapping list in two places (which is totally fine with me, i just was wondering if there was something going on that i didn't understand). to be specific, i was going to add child 68 to the list. — alf.laylah.wa.laylah (talk) 22:15, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't know which came first, this article or the category. I have long wondered what good is served by keeping both. At this point, after having recently removed several inappropriate songs, I can assure that all of the songs in the category are murder ballads. But, there are discrepancies between the list in the article and the category. What do we do about that? ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 02:33, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
The article predates the category by a year, not that it really matters. — Robert Greer (talk) 03:23, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
i finally had time to think about this again, and this: WP:CLN helped me to clarify my feelings. that being said, if no one objects, i will try to spend some time completing the list with the category and the category with the list, but will wait a bit in case anyone wants to discuss. i have to say that i like having both, since the lists shows artists who've covered the songs, whereas, clearly, the category does not (and can't anyway), but that the category is a good thing, since it lets people navigate from one ballad to another. — alf.laylah.wa.laylah (talk) 15:08, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I have no objection to having both, but it is bothersome that they differ. If you want to take the them to make them match, that would be grand. ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 15:30, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Is this worthy of an article ?[edit]

Seems to me that "murder ballad" is a made-up genre. If it exists, I don't see why there shouldn't be articles for love ballads, rain ballads, break-up ballads, etc.

I don't see the point of the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.79.249.1 (talk) 11:38, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Curtain Call: The Hits". Retrieved December 24, 2008.  Text " Pitchfork" ignored (help)