Screenshot via John Hinckley Jr.’s YouTube channel.
John Hinckley Jr., the 66-year-old man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, has released songs and covers directed by acoustic guitar at YouTube channel created it in November 2020. Its page includes only a handful of videos, four of which are original songs, two are renditions of songs by Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley, and one is a video of a 78 vinyl record. rpm starring Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup 1944 blues sign “My Mama Don’t Allow Me”. The songs aren’t bad: Hinckley has a nice, approachable voice and a solid ear for writing tunes on his own songs and recreating them on faithful covers. People have started noticing this because during Memorial Day weekend, Twitter user sludge_worm posted a viral screenshot from the channel. At press time, the tweet has over 62,000 likes and Hinckley’s YouTube page now has thousands of subscribers.
In 2011, after the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Hinckley reportedly expressed dismay to their doctors about their public perception. “I don’t have a microphone in my hand,” he supposedly said. “I do not have a video camera. So no one can listen to my music. No one can see my art. I have these other aspects of my life that no one knows about. I am an artist. I am a musician. Nobody knows that. They just see me as the guy who tried to kill Reagan. ”Hinckley has long wanted to be known for more than trying to assassinate the president of the United States, and now, thanks to some viral fame on the Internet, maybe he will.
Hinckley was found guilty of murder attempt for reasons of madness and never spent any significant time in prison, and was released in 2016 from Santa Isabel Psychiatric Hospital, where he had been confined and in treatment for 34 years. Since leaving government facilities, Hinckley has lived with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia and has been progressively granted greater freedoms of judicial oversight. Under the current terms of its release, must still volunteer or work three times a week, own a traceable phone to track their movements, attend counseling and take their medication, refrain from drugs, alcohol and violent means, cannot own firearms legally and must check it in court by phone, as well as complete daily activity records.
He is currently seeking “unconditional release” from a federal judge, which would significantly increase his liberties. In 2020 he was allowed to legally publish and sell his works of art, writings and songs, that he was forbidden to do so as part of his initial treatment plan. Before these restrictions were lifted, prosecutor Kacie Weston warned of how Hinckley would handle public scrutiny of his work. “This is one of the very unproven areas of how you will handle criticism or success, in case it goes in any direction,” she said. For its part, Hinckley told the court that he felt willing to make money with his music and art. “I think things that I think are good and, like any other artist, I would like to take advantage of them and contribute more to my family,” he said. “I think I could help my mom and my brother if I could make money with my art.”
Music has long been one of Hinckley’s great passions. In the 1970s, he moved to Los Angeles to try to become a professional composer. Although this failed, he continued to devote himself to music at Santa Isabel Hospital where he he said Penthouse magazine in 1983 that a typical day for him included playing an instrument. “I see a therapist, I answer by mail, I play my guitar, I listen to music, I play pool, I watch TV, I eat lousy food, and I take delicious medication,” he said. According to Twitter users who saw the original viral tweet, Hinckley has also been a regular at a Williamsburg, Virginia record store a person who claims to have bought his CD copy of Bright Eyes’ I’m awake, it’s morning. In accordance with the New York Times, Hinckley has been posting his songs anonymously on SoundCloud and YouTube since 2018 under the supervision of his music therapist and has been “disappointed by the few people he has heard.” Thanks to a viral tweet, it now has an audience of tens of thousands.
As of press time, Hinckley has not yet responded or acknowledged the new interest in his music. In 2020, his music therapist told a New York News, “I’m worried he’s a well-known figure and I’m worried someone will troll him.” Seeing comments on Hinckley’s original song “Majesty of Love,” his most-watched video on more than 38,000 views, there are several joking comments about his assassination attempt in 1981. Hinckley has previously stated that he wants comments on his songs and an audience; now he is getting it.