41 Songs About Clowns
Make a Killer Playlist of Clown Songs
Psst. Over there. Do you see that dubious clown wandering by himself in the nearby woods, sporting a big red nose, floppy shoes, and inviting grin? Maybe he is just lonely and has lost his way, especially when the circus closed down. Or perhaps he's the sinister reason they packed up so quickly and left town. If he offers you candy or wants to show you a special magic trick, don't fall for his antics.
Creepy clown spottings are nothing new. They were around in the 1980s when I was growing up, and despite numerous alleged sightings, the local authorities in my community were unable to locate a single clown (evil or otherwise) for interrogation. Clowns are now the stuff of urban legends.
Although many people revile clowns, others marvel at these jovial characters' humor and mood-boosting ability. Celebrate clowns of all types with a killer playlist of rock, pop, country, R&B, and metal tunes.
Clowns: Do you love 'em or hate 'em?
1. "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
Far from wearing his heart on his sleeve, this sad guy's smile is meant to mislead, and he sure is convincing. The narrator doesn't want anyone to know how brokenhearted he feels so he puts on a show.
The lovelorn man in this 1970 R&B crossover hit pushes down his feelings of rejection and in the name of pride pastes a clown-like smile on his face. However, below his gleeful surface, he's distraught. "The Tears of a Clown" was The Miracles' only #1 hit while Smokey Robinson was their lead singer.
2. "Clown" by Emeli Sandé
People will do nearly anything to become famous, and often it leaves them to behave like clowns. For example, musicians sell out on their way to becoming the next big thing. Once they've achieved success, even the biggest stars allow their songs to be used in appallingly cheesy commercials for cars, laundry soap, and fast food.
This 2012 tune by Scottish R&B and pop recording artist Emeli Sandé is a social commentary on the desperation of trying to break into the music industry. It is based upon her personal experience, expressing the disappointment about the objectification and manipulation that she felt.
3. "Funhouse" by Pink
Pink airs out some marital dirty laundry in this rockin' 2008 number. She describes a funhouse full of laughter that has disintegrated into a house of screaming, evil clowns. The rock star is referring to her marital troubles and temporary split with her husband, motocross rider Carey Hart.
Pink was initially attracted to him because of his bad boy image, and the two have spent nearly their entire marriage (since 2006) in therapy. Although her song refers to throwing his belongings in the yard and her taunting intent to "burn this f**ker down," the two lovebirds are still married. Perhaps she was just clowning around?
4. "Send in the Clowns" by Judy Collins
The narrator in this sad tune is beating herself up emotionally. A song of disappointment, it references lost opportunity and bad timing in relationships, with "clowns" meaning fools rather than circus clowns. The narrator feels like a fool for missing out on the love of her life and making the wrong choice earlier in her life. What advice would you give her?
The somber jazz standard by Judy Collins hit the Top 40 pop charts in both 1975 and 1977, but it was Frank Sinatra's 1973 version that played over the closing credits of the 2019 major motion picture, Joker.
5. "Impossible" by Christina Aguilera (featuring Alicia Keys)
The narrator in this 2002 hip-hop number feels like she and her lover are involved in an emotional circus. Pleading for him to be honest, open, and authentic, she cautions him not to play her for a clown. The sad and confused lady finds it impossible to properly love a man who hides his personal pain, refuses to disclose his needs, and forces her to guess.
6. "Goodbye Cruel World" by James Darren
The dejected man in this Top 10 pop song from 1961 had his heart crushed by a "mean, fickle woman." Now he's headed to join the circus ... because that's what people do in such situations, right? He believes that he can forget his sweetheart if he hides his tears behind a painted face and makes his audience laugh at his foolishness. This clown will even allow them shoot him out of a cannon.
James Darren was a teen idol in the 1960s, and this number was his biggest hit. It was written by Gloria Shayne Baker, the same songwriter of the 1962 Christmas carol, "Do You Hear What I Hear?” A lesser known version of this song had the narrator joining the army.
7. "Clown Shark Song" by Rhett & Link
What do you get when you combine two grave fears—creepy clowns and sharks? If you're the goofball in this funny 2013 novelty song, then you get clown sharks! While clownfish are a real thing, thankfully, clown sharks are not. But you can imagine how horrifying they would be with their large red noses smelling blood in the water then circling in for the kill. This ditty is as horrifyingly funny as it is peculiar.
8. "Pocket of a Clown" by Dwight Yoakum
In this catchy country song from 1994, a man bemoans that he was taken advantage of by a former lover. Having fallen victim to an ex's cruel lies, the sad sucker has learned his lesson the hard way and now feels like a fool. His sad, empty heart is just a big, dark "pocket of a clown."
9. "Leper Messiah" by Metallica
The clowns at the heart of this 1986 rock song are greedy Christian televangelists who manipulate people out of their money, promising a better seat in heaven. Unfortunately, it's all just an evil circus, a big con game, and the high flying, audacious tricks are being performed not for the audience but on them.
The late 1980s marked a low point for televangelism. Pentecostal clown preacher Jimmy Swaggart was entangled in not one but two scandals involving prostitutes before he was defrocked by his Assemblies of God ministries. Fellow Pentecostal televangelist Jim Bakker was mired in a sex scandal involving a church secretary. He and his wife Tammy Faye misappropriated over $1.3 million in ministry funds for their ritzy lifestyle, resulting in a long list of consequences: disgrace and mental breakdown, financial ruin and the closure of their ginormous Christian theme park, divorce, and jail time for Jim.
10. "The Cowboy and Clown" by Craig Morgan
Some might claim that only a fool would get in the ring with a raging bull, but oftentimes there are two fools in there—the bull rider and his rodeo clown decoy. This country ditty from 2005 paints them as cut of the same mold, as close as brothers through victory and defeat, injuries and laughter. The song describes their bond until the sudden, unfunny demise of one of them.
11. "Cathy's Clown" by The Everly Brothers
The Everly Brothers' biggest hit, this 1960 pop tune reached the peak spot on the mainstream Billboard chart. Rolling Stone magazine lauded it as one of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."
Tired at being laughed at by others and referred to as "not a man at all," the ditty's sad-faced narrator is calling it quits with his girlfriend. The wimpy fella believes Cathy is lying about him and doesn't want to be ridiculed as "Cathy's clown" any longer, so he's standing tall and rejecting her kisses.
12. "Everybody Loves a Clown" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys
Everybody loves a clown, that jovial person who can crack a joke and turn everyone's frowns or tears to laughter. However, what do you do when you're the group jokester and you finally want to be taken seriously? The man in this 1965 Top 10 pop hit is desperate to express his love to his crush. She laughs at his antics, but he needs her to see that clowns have feelings, too. Romantic ones. Sexy ones.
13. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by Elton John (featuring Kiki Dee)
When Elton John endeavored to write a Motown song, the result was this classic 1976 pop hit with a disco vibe. John and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin clowned around and hid their identities as songwriters, using the pseudonyms "Ann Orson & Carte Blanche."
In the uptempo tune, an energetic couple celebrates with flirty banter regarding how good they are for one another. Each is the key to each other's heart, provides the spark to the other's sensual flame, and serves as a cheerful clown when the other is depressed.
14. "The Clown" by Conway Twitty
The man in this 1981 country song is beguiled by a beautiful and popular woman, and he'll do anything to make her happy, even if it means making a fool of himself. She commands her lover to jump, and he responds, "How high?" The desperate measures this poor guy takes to make his lover happy have onlookers deriding him as a clown. Have you ever been in a similarly desperate relationship?
15. "This is Halloween" by Marilyn Manson
From The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, this 1993 Marilyn Manson tune appeals to the fear of creepy clowns residing within us all. The song narrator is an evil clown who taunts that you'll fear him, no matter what your age. He hides under the bed, around the corner, and in the shadows, ready to surprise you and make you scream like a banshee:
I am the clown with the tear-away face
Here in a flash and gone without a trace
I am the "who" when you call, "Who's there?"
I am the wind blowing through your hair.
16. "Tears of a Clown" by Iron Maiden
What a tragic loss the world experienced when funny man Robin Williams died by suicide in 2014 in the midst of his struggle with Lewy body disease (a consequence of Parkinson's). This 2015 rock song pays tribute to the comic, calling attention to how his clown exterior was an unfortunate facade for the inner turmoil that lay beneath. Williams was known for his free-association improvisational style of comedy and high energy on stage.
17. "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." by Sufjan Stevens
John Wayne Gacy Jr. was a heinous serial killer who adopted a killer clown persona as Pogo or Patches the Clown. He joined a local "Jolly Joker" club and provided entertainment at hospitals, kids' parties, and charity events. Then Gacy proceeded to viciously violate and murder 33 young men and boys before being executed in 1994. Nicknamed "The Killer Clown," Gacy is the most prolific serial killer known to date.
This eerie alternative rock song from 2005 fictionalizes Gacy's background, imagining that he was hit in the head as a child and recalling that he was able to deceptively earn the respect of his community. It also foreshadows a Gacy copycat, a killer clown who has hidden bodies under his floorboards.
18. "Bandy the Rodeo Clown" by Moe Bandy
The old cowboy in this 1975 country song no longer ropes and rides, and he's trying hard to conceal his pain with the painted smile of a clown. Since his sweetheart left him, tears are melting Bandy the rodeo clown's makeup so that now he just relies on whiskey to remember his glory days.
19. "Stuck in the Middle with You" by Stealers Wheel
Clowns to the left of me
Jokers to the right
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
Members of the Scottish band Stealers Wheel left a frustrating meeting with music industry executives wherein big shot businessmen disrespectfully talked past them. They used the eye-rolling experience as inspiration for this successful 1973 folk-rock number, and it became the group's biggest hit.
Now a classic, "Stuck in the Middle with You" describes the awkwardness of a music industry cocktail party. (It might just as easily apply to many of today's business networking events.) The narrator doesn't know why he showed up, doesn't know how to behave, and assesses the whole affair as a bit ridiculous. Quentin Tarantino prompted a resurgence in the catchy tune's popularity when he used it in his first film, Reservoir Dogs, a violent crime film about a jewelry heist that goes awry.
20. "Costume Makes the Clown" by Shakira
Columbian pop singer Shakira comes clean in this 2005 pop ditty as she wipes off her makeup and confesses her romantic betrayal, thereby exposing her true self. Neither the idealized image the malignant clown character she has been painted to be he presents herself as a real person. In making herself vulnerable with this confession, she finds relief but knows that there will be consequences.
Even More Songs About Clowns
23. Pierrot The Clown
24. Clown in Your Rodeo
25. Clarlie Brown
26. Rodeo Clowns
G. Love & Special Sauce (featuring Jack Johnson)
27. Ha! Ha! Said the Clown
28. Death of a Clown
29. She Ran Away with a Rodeo Clown
30. Bandy the Rodeo Clown
31. Cowboys and Clowns
32. Shoot All the Clowns
33. We Are Golden
34. See the Funny Little Clown
35. Carnival Town
36. Rodeo Clown
37. Clown Strike
39. Don't Cry Out Loud
40. Killer Klowns (from Outer Space)
41. In Dreams
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