Showing posts with label The Gun in American Culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Gun in American Culture. Show all posts

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pop Guns

On 17 April 1983—twenty-seven years ago today—Felix Pappalardi was shot and killed by his wife, Gail Collins Pappalardi. Charged with second-degree murder, she claimed the shooting of her husband was an accident. Although Pappalardi is perhaps not well remembered today, in the late 60s he produced three of Cream’s four studio albums, and later founded the band Mountain with guitarist Leslie West (“Mississippi Queen”). While reminding us of the ubiquity of the gun in American culture, the domestic context of Pappalardi’s death should also remind us of the story of Cain and Abel. As Michael Jarrett has observed, when popular musicians “recast the Cain-and-Abel story as public spectacle, they also confirm the pleasures of sublimated violence in their music” (Sound Tracks: A Musical ABC 136). In all of the following songs, the violence is pretty close to the surface, allowing the singer to verbalize or own up to a murderous intent or action.

Blame It On Cain:
Aerosmith – Janie’s Got A Gun
Black Velvet Flag – I Shot JFK
Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues
Steve Earle – The Devil’s Right Hand
Bobby Fuller Four – I Fought The Law
Pat Hare – I’m Gonna Murder My Baby
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Hey Joe
The Kingston Trio – Tom Dooley
The Louvin Brothers – Knoxville Girl
Nas – I Gave You Power
Gene Pitney – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Kenny Rogers and The First Edition – Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town
The Rolling Stones – Midnight Rambler
Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska
The Wailers – I Shot the Sheriff
Hank Williams, Jr. – I’ve Got Rights
Neil Young – Down by the River