On his 2005 album Illinoise, Detroit-born indie singer Sufjan Stevens pays tribute to the best and the worst of the 21st state. The fourth track, titled John Wayne Gacy Jr. is a melancholy tune that visits the life of infamous Chicago serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
The song begins with the lyrics “His father was a drinker / And his mother cried in bed / Folding John Wayne’s T-shirts / When the swing set hit his head” referring to an incident in which, at age 11, the future serial killer was hit on the head by a swing set. The injury caused a blood clot in Gacy’s brain which went untreated until he was 16. Before he was given medicine to dissolve the clot, Gacy suffered blackouts.