Artists have always meddled in past incidents for inspiration and creativity. On a few occasions, things have been reflected in real-life incidents. The Rolling Stones have given us a lot of dark songs. Explaining such horror is the song ‘Midnight Rambler’ from the album Let It Bleed.
Like the name Let It Bleed, the album is filled with topics that circle around addiction, war, terror, and murders. It is a dark-themed album. In an interview with Rolling Stones, when asked about what made him create an album like that, Jagger said,
“Well, it’s a very rough, very violent era, The Vietnam War…. And Vietnam was not war as we knew it in the conventional sense. The thing about Vietnam was that it wasn’t like World War II, and it wasn’t like [the Korean War], and it wasn’t like the Gulf War. It was a real nasty war, and people didn’t like it.”
The song “Midnight Rambler” is said to be about the Boston Strangler. The serial killer has said to have murdered several women in the early 1960s. It is said that the killer actually terrorized women then. The killer operated between June 1962 to January 1964 and he would tie a bow around the victims’ necks using their nylon stockings. The song was released in 1969 with the memoirs of the crimes still in the air in the United States. The song was unsettling and dark but jagger revealed they wrote the song due to the unfortunate circumstances of the killing.
Jagger also recalled that the song was written when the band was on a holiday in Italy. They were in a beautiful hill town Positano. He said, “Why we should write such a dark song in this beautiful, sunny place, I really don’t know. We wrote everything there – the tempo changes, everything. And I’m playing the harmonica in these little cafes, and there’s Keith with the guitar.”
The lyrics in the song, “I’m called the hit-and-run raper in anger,” revealed some of the activity of the killer. The Boston Strangler would sexually assault his victims before their murder. The horrifying details that are in the songs are more than this with lyrics like”Did you hear about the midnight rambler? / The one that shut the kitchen door.” At the height of their popularity, this was a sudden release.
The song didn’t become a hit for The Rolling Stones. It didn’t even chart the Billboard Hot 100 at that time. As the song portrayed the serial killer and his killings, it didn’t quite appeal to the public. Also, back then the killer was still on run, which made the incident more grave. ‘Midnight Rambler’ is one of many depictions given to the Boston Strangles and remains one of the most notorious killers in the history of the US.