Ever since greasers and hoodlums picked up Stratocasters and saxophones, rock and roll has flirted with the long arm of the law in one form or another.
Here are a few for your Tuesday night enjoyment….
1) I Fought the Law – Bobby Fuller (1966) - The original rebel tune. Written by Sonny Curtis of The Crickets (Buddy Holly’s backing band). The song was a big hit for Bobby and the band. Fuller died a few years later under unexplained circumstances (still a mystery) and although the band tried to continue with his brother, it fell apart.
2) I Fought the Law – The Clash (1979) – A remake of the original and rather well done. Something classic in the line “I needed money, ’cause I had none.”. RIP Clash guitarist Joe Strummer.
3) The Authority Song – John Mellencamp (1983) – Not exactly about law enforcement but close enough for me. Remember when John was going by the moniker “Johnny Cougar”? He rocks this one in classic style.
4) You’re Under Arrest – Serge Gainsbourg (1987) – One of the great iconic French singers, this was Gainsbourg’s last album before his death in 1991. Ignore the title where it cites the rapper as King Curtis. Curtis died in 1971 and I doubt he would have recorded this for use 16 years later.
5) State Trooper – Bruce Springsteen (1982) – From the depths of Bruce’s mind and onto the 1982 “Nebraska” album it doesn’t get darker than this from The Boss. It’s a spare recording – Bruce and a solo acoustic. It fits the mood perfectly.
6) Highway Patrolman – Johnny Cash (1983) – Johnny’s covering another Bruce tune here (also off “Nebraska”). A great version that tells the ballad of Joe Roberts and his ne’er-do-well brother Frankie.