Scarecrow (Melissa Etheridge song)

Single by Melissa Etheridge
from the album Breakdown
Released 1999
Format CD single
Recorded Sunset Sound
Genre Rock
Length 5:21
Label Island
Writer(s) Melissa Etheridge
Producer Melissa Etheridge
John Shanks
Melissa Etheridge singles chronology

"Angels Would Fall"
"Enough of Me"

Audio sample

"Scarecrow" is a single from Melissa Etheridge's 1999 album, Breakdown.


This ballad tells the story of the kidnapping, torture, and homicide of 21-year-old University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, motivated by anti-gay sentiment.[1] The image of a scarecrow was chosen because the bicyclist who found Matthew Shepard, tied to a fence, first thought that he was a scarecrow. The song criticizes hypocritical and deprecatory attitudes towards gay people in media and society.


Etheridge was actually supposed to write a theme song for the US women's soccer team when the news about Matthew Shepard reached the headlines. In her autobiography The Truth Is... she tells that it was "Like somebody just dropped a huge brick in her kitchen" as she realized that being a big gay rock star did not help her changing the world. This led her to supporting some of her friends including Ellen DeGeneres who organized a trip to the Denver hospital. Etheridge also states that Shepherd's death made her especially sad since he looked like a gay friend of hers in high school which made her "cry uncontrollably".


This single did not chart in any country.

Credits and personnel


  • Melissa Etheridge and Laura Morton: The truth is...', Random House 2002


External links

  • Animated interpretation of "Scarecrow" by Karen J. Siugzda