Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Unlike the previous songs I've written about, the inspiration for Bruce Springsteen's ballad Nebraska can be traced to a man named Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend Carli Fugate.

Starkweather, and his girlfriend went on a murder spree across Nebraska and Wyoming that took the lives of 11 people including Fugate's mother, stepfather and baby sister. They were eventually captured in Douglas, Wyoming. At the time of their arrest, he was nineteen and she was fifteen.

Starkweather was sentenced to the electric chair, and Fugate, despite her claims that she was being held hostage was sentenced to life in prison. She was paroled after 17 years.

Many murder songs are sung from a first person perspective, but unlike the fictional tales of Knoxville Girl and 99 to Life, Springsteen is singing from the perspective of someone who actually existed.

The murders in this tale are no crimes of passion, but the violent acts of someone who "loss connection" with his humanity. The song mourns, not for Starkweather, but, like the song says, against the "meanness in this world".

(Info on Charles Starkweather, taken from here)

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