The Killers Mike Tyson
Brandon Flowers performing with The Killers and Mike Tyson at a weigh-in in 1990. Getty Images

The Killers return this year with their first album in five years. Wonderful Wonderful is set to release on 20 September, and includes one song about very unexpected subject matter, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson - a convicted rapist.

Las Vegas-born Brandon Flowers, The Killers' lead singer and songwriter, was eight years old when Tyson was felled at the pinnacle of his career by underdog Buster Douglas, and watching the dramatic match left a lasting impression on the future frontman.

"Mike Tyson was perfect to me," Flowers told the BBC.

"He created such excitement around the world - but he lived in Las Vegas, and he got my dad excited, he got my uncles excited, so that made me want to be excited about it."

"My friend Edwin Speight, his dad worked for the mayor in Henderson - so he got the fight at his house on pay-per-view.

"We went to his house to watch it - he lived across the street - and I can still see his living room and feel his Kush carpet. It was kind of dusky and twilight.

Tyson entered the Tokyo Dome on 11 February, 1990 as the undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. He lost to the 42-1 underdog Douglas after a flurry of punches in the tenth round, and sporting history was made.

"Then Tyson got knocked out [and] my whole view on the world changed. It wasn't supposed to happen."

Tyson vs Douglas is the imaginative title of the song this night inspired.

"I have a son now who is the same age I was when [the Tyson fight] happened," said Flowers, explaining the song's meaning. "And to him and his two little brothers, I am as perfect as Mike Tyson - and I don't want to go down."

Flowers' lyrics begin from his perspective as he watches the fight unfold, before jumping 27 years to the present as he looks out of a window at his young family.

That desire to never fail his kids extends to the rest of the band, as they hope to maintain their enormous success but bounce back after their forgettable last album Battle Born, five years ago.

The former boxing champ is an odd choice of muse however, given the controversy that engulfed and nearly derailed his legendary career. Two years after his loss to Douglas he was convicted of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington and sentenced to six years in prison.

He was released after three, returning to the boxing ring and winning the WBC and WBA titles from Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon in 1996. He was stripped the WBC belt the next year, and the WBA title too after infamously biting Evander Holyfield's ear in a rematch.

Tyson retired in 2006 after successive knockout losses.

The Killers are far from retired however. Below is the complete tracklist for Wonderful Wonderful, and lead single The Man.

  1. Wonderful Wonderful
  2. The Man
  3. Rut
  4. Life to Come
  5. Run for Cover
  6. Tyson vs. Douglas
  7. Some Kind of Love
  8. Out of My Mind
  9. The Calling
  10. Have All the Songs Been Written