The Headless Children

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The Headless Children
Studio album by W.A.S.P.
Released April 1989 (1989-04)[1]
Genre Heavy metal
Length 48:32[2]
Label Capitol
Producer Blackie Lawless
W.A.S.P. chronology
Live... In the Raw
The Headless Children
The Crimson Idol
Singles from The Headless Children
  1. "The Real Me"
    Released: 1989 (1989)[3]
  2. "Forever Free"
    Released: 1989 (1989)[4]
  3. "Mean Man"
    Released: 1989 (1989)[5]
  4. "Headless Children" / "Maneater" / "Rebel in the F.D.G."
    Released: 1989 (1989)[6]

The Headless Children is the fourth studio by heavy metal band W.A.S.P., released in April 1989 through Capitol Records.[1] The album reached No. 48 on the U.S. Billboard 200,[7] the band's highest chart position,[8] and remained on that chart for thirteen weeks;[9] it also reached the top 30 in four other countries.[10][11]


The Headless Children showcases a new level of maturity from the band compared to their previous three albums, which had stereotypically lewd "rock and roll" lyrics. Politics and social issues are now a theme throughout the album. The cover art depicts a string of historical figures including Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Benito Mussolini, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Al Capone and the Ku Klux Klan, with an image of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald shown prominently in the foreground. Later editions of the album have replaced, among others, Ayatollah Khomeini with additional KKK members.

"Mean Man", written by lead singer/bassist Blackie Lawless, is about guitarist Chris Holmes' wild lifestyle and is dedicated to him; Holmes left the band shortly after the album's release. The Headless Children was the first W.A.S.P. album to feature ex-Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali and the last studio album to feature Holmes for nearly a decade until he rejoined the band in late 1997 to record Kill Fuck Die. According to the liner notes, the "F.D.G." in "Rebel in the F.D.G." stands for "Fucking Decadent Generation".

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[12]
Rock Hard 7/10 stars[13]

Greg Prato at AllMusic gave The Headless Children 4.5 stars out of five, calling it W.A.S.P.'s "most accomplished work" and their "best constructed album". He also noted "The Real Me", "Mean Man", "The Heretic", "Forever Free" and the title track as highlights.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Blackie Lawless, except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "The Heretic (The Lost Child) " (Lawless, Chris Holmes) 7:16
2. "The Real Me" (Pete Townshend) 3:21
3. "The Headless Children"   5:47
4. "Thunderhead" (Lawless, Holmes) 6:45
5. "Mean Man"   4:50
6. "The Neutron Bomber"   4:03
7. "Mephisto Waltz"   1:27
8. "Forever Free"   5:09
9. "Maneater"   4:46
10. "Rebel in the F.D.G."   5:08
Total length:
^† – On the 1998 reissue, "The Heretic (The Lost Child)" has been edited to remove a small portion of a guitar riff in order to fit all the bonus material on the same CD.


Chart performance[edit]

Year Chart Peak position
1989 Norwegian albums chart 13[10]
German albums chart 22[10]
Billboard 200 48[7]
1998 Austrian albums chart 19[11]
Swiss albums chart 19[11]


  1. ^ a b "The Headless Children". Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  2. ^ The Headless Children (CD release "CDP 7 48942 2").
  3. ^ "W.A.S.P. – The Real Me". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  4. ^ "W.A.S.P. – Forever Free". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  5. ^ "W.A.S.P. – Mean Man". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  6. ^ "W.A.S.P. – Headless Children". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  7. ^ a b "The Headless Children - W.A.S.P. | Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "W.A.S.P. - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  10. ^ a b c "W.A.S.P. - The Headless Children (album)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  11. ^ a b c "W. A. S. P. - The Headless Children (album)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  12. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "The Headless Children - W.A.S.P.". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  13. ^ Kupfer, Thomas. "Review Album". (in German). Rock Hard. Hi-Media. 32. Retrieved 2014-02-24.