Hello from the Gutter

Album: Under the Influence (1988)

Songfacts®:

  • One of Overkill's most popular songs, "Hello from the Gutter" is about the serial killer David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam."

    Beginning in 1976, Berkowitz began killing young people - mostly women - in New York City. By 1977, police had linked the crimes and dubbed him "The .44 Killer" for his choice of weapon. Jimmy Breslin was the reporter who covered the story for the New York Daily News, and on July 2, 1977 he received a chilling letter - supposedly sent by the killer - that began, "Hello from the gutters of N.Y.C., which are filled with dog manure, vomit, stale wine, urine, and blood."

    The letter went on to taunt Breslin and threaten to kill again. Three days later, the paper ran the letter as part of Breslin's story, which was headlined "Breslin to .44 Killer: Give Up Now!"

    Berkowitz was captured in August after a parking ticket led to his arrest - he had parked illegally during one of his murders, and police placed him at the scene.

    The members of Overkill grew up in New Jersey and spent a lot of time in New York City, where the crimes took place. With vivid memories of the story, guitarist Bobby Gustafson, bass player D.D. Verni and lead singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth wrote this song. "Lyrically, I took some of that pomp and circumstance and sensationalism that was going on around that time," Ellsworth told us.

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