Teen Tragedy Songs. So many tragedies, so many teens.

I was listening to my cable providers music on demand station, the oldies station, and a song named “Patches” came on. There’s apparently TWO songs from the era named Patches, but they aren’t about the same Patches because one’s a boy and one’s a girl. This particular Patches was about the girl one. Dickey Lee sings of, “Patches my darling of old Shantytown,” with whom he was planning a summer wedding. Did this wedding happen? NO! His parents forbade it for no reason, sings Dickey. WHY!!?????

Well, it turns out, as poor Dickey overhears:

“I hear a neighbor telling my father
He says, a girl name of Patches was found floating face down
In that dirty old river that flows by the coal yards”

Uh, ok then. Dickey then sings of joining her that evening blah blah blah. Anyway, I looked at the album they had listed for it and it was: Last Kiss: Songs of Teen Tragedy. All the great teen deaths are there, from Leader of the Pack to Teen Angel! So many dead teens!

There are fourteen songs on this CD. Each more tragic than the next. But, they forgot a few:

1. “Braces,” about a boy (Johnny) and a girl (Judy) who made out and got their braces stuck together and starved to death.

2. “Sunburned Cutie,” sample lyrics:

She thought it’d be ok
just a few hours of sun and fun
but she was out there the whole day

When her momma came looking for her
all she found was a towel and sunglasses
she was just a sunburned cutie, a sun tanning amateur

3. “Lil’ Escalator Girl,” he never learned her name, he was at the mall and saw her from afar, then her shoelaces got caught in the escalator and all her skin came off.

4. “Prehistoric Rebel,” lyrics, the spoken climax:

But, Johnny didn’t want to sweep the cave floor
He ran away.
His sabretooth pelt got caught in a branch.
I saw him struggling, but there was nothing I could do.
A t-rex got him and ripped him in half.
Now I have to go to the dance….alone.

5. “Goodbye My Bicycling Baby,” about a responsible teen who thought motorcycles were too dangerous but ironically dies in a bicycling accident.

6. “Scattering Susie’s Ashes.” That’s pretty self explanatory.

7. “My Little Teen Funeral Girl,” this is about a girl who’s at another teen’s funeral (parachute didn’t open) who dies in a freak folding chair accident at the cemetery.

8. “Mama, Since You’re Dying Anyway, Can You Get a Message to Johnny?” lyrics:

Mama, I’ve got a message for Johnny
I’ve written down every word
If you end up croakin’
can you pass it on to him?

The bible says you can’t bring
personal possessions to heaven
but maybe, just maybe,
you can bring
other peoples’ notes

9. “I’ll Never Forget You (Because the Death of A Boyfriend is Just Generally Something You Don’t Forget)”

10. “Soda Shop Angel,” this would have been the saddest of all the teen tragedy songs if there weren’t three verses about the singer continuing to send his food back for various reasons.

11. “Angel Angel,” about the ghost of a dead teenager (running with scissors mishap) being exorcised from the house he was haunting, thus “dying” again and becoming a double angel, very rare.

12. “Why Couldn’t the Fire Ants Have Swarmed Me, Instead?” a young man’s lament at a romantic picnic gone wrong.

Any others?

12 thoughts on “Teen Tragedy Songs. So many tragedies, so many teens.

  1. I used to CRACK UP listening to Teen Angel, because she dies on the TRAIN TRACKS and the music is sad and then all of a sudden it takes off rockin again…

    “They said she had my HS ring…” (sad)
    NOW JAUNTY! “Clutched in her fingers, ti i i ight!!”

  2. Never realized there were so many. Patches? Really?

    “Daddy Didn’t Mean It” The unfortunate tragedy of a boy who brings a man’s daughter home past curfew and is greeted by his shotgun, which he was cleaning when she was picked up to dissuade lateness. Little did he know when he pulled the trigger to scare the boy, that he left it loaded by mistake. Oops.

  3. “Nuclear Pimple”, a lilting doo wop tune about a blackhead that exploded at prom, taking 90% of the Seniors with it.

    (You can hear James Earl Jones guest vocals on the chorus!)

  4. I love it! Especially the rare double angel.

    There’s also “Kafka’s Love Song,” about a young girl who was in love with the Beatles, and whose passion was so great that during a concert she turns into a giant beetle, only to be crushed to death by thousands of screaming teenyboppers.

  5. How about “Once An Angel”? It’s about an angel who falls in love with a teen boy and begs God to make her a mortal. When the boy professes his love for her, the poor thing forgets she lost her wings and tries to fly out the window in a moment of joy.

    Try to find the version with the inspirational message at the end by a young Billy Graham.

  6. I have a collection of teen tragedy songs on vinyl put out by Rhino Records that includes a pack of tissue on the cover. Like, a real pack of tissue that you pull out of the front of the cover.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *