Jonestown: Soundtrack for a Mass Suicide
Today marks the day in 1978 that cult leader Jim Jones ordered his followers to drink cyanide-laced Flavor Aid at his Jonestown compound in Guyana. Congressman Leo Ryan had come to the compound to investigate reports of abuse, and even though Ryan stated he planned to report positively on the settlement, Jones had him and his entourage assassinated. Fearing retribution, Jones told the cult death would be better than what they would suffer at the hands of the government, and the 900 plus deaths resulting from the order remained the largest non-natural disaster loss of civilian life in the United States until the attacks on September 11, 2001.
The horrific events of that day have echoed down through the years inspiring musicians to comment on it through their art. Today we present five of those songs.
Only a couple of years after the deaths at Jonestown Richard O'Brien released his semi-sequel to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment depicting the town of Denton as one giant television studio and the entire population as either stars or the audience. In a world overrun with reality TV, the film has never been more relevant, and frankly it has a better soundtrack than its predecessor.
Shock Treatment's villain is fast food mogul Farley Flavors, who's style, dress, and dialogue was based on Jim Jones.
Concrete Blonde has always had a penchant for good death tunes, and "Jonestown" from Mexican Moon is one of those songs we're always surprised didn't end up as a major goth anthem. The video alone is worth it with Johnette Napolitano screaming hot in a wife beater and an endless march of sheep to the slaughter.