31 Days of spooky, day 28: Jack the Ripper by Screaming Lord Sutch

In the early 1960s, Screaming Lord Sutch gave us "Jack the Ripper" as a shock rock innovator
Screaming Lord Sutch
Screaming Lord Sutch / Evening Standard/GettyImages

"Jack the Ripper" is a song originally performed by British musician and politician Screaming Lord Sutch. Sutch, whose real name was David Edward Sutch, was known for his eccentric stage persona and his contributions to the early development of British rock and roll and horror-themed rock music. The song "Jack the Ripper" was released in 1963 as a single, at a time when most other singles sounded all lovey-dovey, like "Kiss Me Quick" by Elvis Presley. (No offense to Elvis fans, but that wasn't the same as Screaming Lord Sutch.)

It's a rock and roll song with a macabre theme, inspired by the infamous unidentified serial killer known as Jack the Ripper, who terrorized the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. So how does the song hold up today, anyway? It's not the greatest song ever written and would be accused of exploiting victims for entertainment, but it was no doubt all intended as good fun. Personally, I prefer this relatively simple tune over “The Ripper” by Judas Priest, though a song like “Countess Bathory” by Venom comes pretty close to matching its style (especially in terms of vocal delivery; it almost sounds like Venom may have been inspired by Sutch on that track)

Screaming Lord Sutch tapped into terror with "Jack the Ripper"

The lyrics of the song portray the actions of the serial killer and the sense of fear and terror that surrounded the real-life case of a vicious madman who perpetrated his crimes as if on a mission...then he stopped. The song features a simple and catchy melody, with Sutch's distinctive, theatrical vocal delivery. Again, it's no "Bohemian Rhapsody," but "Jack the Ripper" is often considered a cult classic in the rock and roll genre, and it has been covered by various artists over the years. Some notable artists who have covered the song include The White Stripes and The Horrors.

Screaming Lord Sutch was known for his outrageous on-stage antics and his interest in horror themes, which contributed to his unique and memorable presence in the music scene. While he might not have achieved mainstream success, his influence on the development of British rock music, especially in terms of theatrical and horror-themed rock, has left a lasting legacy. Though he was sort of a novelty act, he did actually play with well-respected rock musicians like Jeff Jeck.
He was there before Alice Cooper, and also before other creepy classics like Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead."

And here you can see what a performance by Screaming Lord Sutch was like, as he played with the audience in an early bit of shock rock glory and mayhem.