Kitty Genovese: 5 Songs For A Girl No One Would Help

Categories: Miles-tones


Flashbulb Memory, "All Them Crazies Out There": Of all the scathing condemnations against the apathy that cost Genovese, her life none is angrier than Flashbulb Memory's. Underneath the vocal-cord-shattering screaming is an eloquent judgment for the willing blind.


Phil Ochs, "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends": Taking another approach is that of Phil Ochs, who penned "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends" only a few years after Genovese's murder. Using an upbeat, light-hearted rhythm and melody, he completely juxtaposes a sequence of horrors while unconcerned bystanders happily tiptoe through the tulips ignoring the tragedies. After all, it's only important to the few people who know the victims.

Simon & Garfunkel, "Sound of Silence": There's been a lot of conjecture about the meaning of one of Simon & Garfunkel's greatest songs, and Genovese's murder is one of the items on the short list of possible inspirations.

Interestingly, the song features heavily in The Watchmen, where it is the soundtrack for the funeral of the Comedian. Another of the vigilantes, Rorschach, was so moved by reading about what happened to Genovese that he became a superhero dedicated to stopping crime using the same brutality that degenerates inflict on victims.

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Thanks for this list. I wasn't aware of the Andrew Jackson Jihad or Flashbulb Memory songs. You might also want to add Jet Stream's "All's Quiet on West 23rd." You could swap it out for "Sound of Silence," which was finished a few weeks before the Genovese murder. Strangely enough, this isn't the first time one of Simon's songs was thought to be about an event that happened after it was written. Simon finished "He Was My Brother" the spring before the Freedom Summer murders of Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman. People assumed the song was about Goodman, with whom Simon had gone to school.

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