John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

Album: Illinoise (2005)

Songfacts®:

  • Illinoise is a concept album, and this track, which runs to 3 minutes 19 seconds, is about one of the State's most notorious residents.

    John Gacy who was born in Chicago, has two claims to fame; the first is that as a political activist he was photographed with First Lady Rosalynn Carter; the second is that he became the most prolific homosexual serial killer in American history. Gacy was convicted of the murders of thirty-three young men and boys, twenty-seven of whom he buried in the crawlspace beneath his house. Stevens alludes to this in the song; his reference to dressing up like a clown is also based on fact. In spite of a prior conviction for sodomizing an underage youth, Gacy was an enthusiastic voluntary worker who entertained children. One of the police officers who helped nail him called his book on the case Killer Clown. There is of course a voluminous literature on Gacy and his crimes, including actual footage of interviews with him. A faithful and quite lengthy 1992 feature film, To Catch A Killer (with Brian Dennehy in the title role), was made about the investigation that led to his arrest and conviction, an investigation that was prompted by the disappearance of fifteen year old Rob Piest, who became his final victim. Gacy was executed by lethal injection on May 14, 1994.
  • One might expect a song about a serial killer to be uptempo with a blinding guitar solo as for example the John Miles track "Nice Man Jack." This though is a surprisingly introspective acoustic number by a folk-ish artist. Stevens ends his song with:

    I am really just like him
    Look beneath the floor boards
    For the secrets I have hid


    A confession which hopefully is not to be interpreted too literally! >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England

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