mac chile

Hamburger Lady by Throbbing Gristle (1978) is generally considered one of the scariest songs ever recorded. The lyrics of the song are taken from a letter written by a doctor describing a woman who was a burn victim in a hospital ward. She has third degree burns covering the top half of her body. They called her the hamburger lady because her skin was so badly burned that it looked like hamburger meat.

This is the letter the lyrics were taken from:

“By far the worst is the hamburger lady, and because of shortage right now of ‘qualifIed technicians’, e.g. technicians who can work with her and keep their last meal down, Screwloose Lauritzen and I have been alternating nights with her, unrelievedly. If you put a 250-lb meatloaf in the oven and then burned it and then followed that by propping it up on a potty-chair to greet you at 11 PM each night, you would have some description of these past two weeks. Which is to say the worst I seen since viet napalms. When somebody tells you that there is a level of pain beyond which the human mind cannot retain consciousness, please tell them to write me. In point of fact this lady has not slept more than 3-5 minutes at a stretch since she came to us that was over two weeks ago and, thanks to medical advances, there is no end in sight; from the waist up everything is burned off, ears, nose etc - lower half is untouched and that, I guess, is what keeps her alive. I took one guy in to help me change tubes and he did alright, that is alright till he came out, then he spotted one of the burn nurses (pleasant smiling zombies) eating a can of chile-mac at the desk, and that did it: he flashed on the carpet. It is insane is what it is.”

When I first heard it, it definitely gave me a fair amount of creeped-out-ness and I don’t get scared easily, so if you get scared quite easy, I’d be cautious. Not only do the lyrics themselves make it creepy, but so do the sounds that make up the instrumental part.

Still want to give it a listen? Listen to it here.