Saturday, 20 July 2013

Police & Thieves - 15 songs about cops or robbers

The rock and roll singer, the great outlaw pose. Lyrics and posture defying authority, guitars toted as guns, whipping the crowd up into revolutionary fervour, all the while taking the money to the bank.

From Stagger Lee folk criminal songs, through to "Jailhouse Rock", rock and roll has nailed its colours firmly to the lawlessness mast. The whole of Gangster Rap associates itself with the lethally criminal. Every second song by The Clash seemed to be about cops or robbers, "Julie's Been Working For The Drug Squad", "Police On My Back", "Police And Thieves", "Guns of Brixton", "I Fought The Law", "Bankrobber"...

So in rock and roll, the thieves generally get a sympathetic treatment, while the cops are uniformly 'Pigs', party-poopers coming down hard on music that's too loud or clouds of cannabis smoke, with the notable exception of Killdozer's "The Pig Was Cool". Do we have to invoke NWA's infamous "**** The Police" to underline the point? Then of course there was the band The Police with their anaemic white reggae just to apply the coup de grace.

So in a vain attempt to equal the balance, here are 14 songs alternating between the good guys and the bad guys as portrayed in rock and roll and the classic Junior Murvin song at 15.

1) "Sound Of Da Police" - Boogie Down Productions

2) "Thieves Like Us" - New Order

3) "Dream Police" - Cheap Trick

4) "Two Thieves And a Liar" - Gary Clail

5) "Police Truck" - Dead Kennedys

6) "Thick As Thieves" - The Jam

7) "Police And Helicopter" - John Holt

8) "Grand Larceny" - Ice-T

9)  "Cop" - Swans

10) "Thief Of Dreams" - The Bug

11) "Sheriff Fatman" - Carter USM

12) "Hazy Shade Of Criminal - Public Enemy

13) "I Shot The Sheriff' - Bob Marley & The Wailers

14) "Gypsies Tramps And Thieves" - Cher

15) "Police & Thieves" - Junior Murvin

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