Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ten Most Wanted: Crimes in Song

1. A No-Frills Version of "Folsom Prison Blues"

2. The Kingston Trio on "The Eternal Triangle..."

3. Olivia Newton-John takes out an unfaithful boyfriend

4. The Widow Who Knew Too Much...

5. The History of Violence

6. To the same tune, "Dulce et Decorum Est..."

7. Jackson Browne and Lady White

8. Furry Lewis sings about Frankie and Johnnie:

9. Bob Marley will only cop to one shooting:

And, finally

10. I'm not sure whether the bigger crime is that described in the lyrics or the ones committed by Bob Mackie

Anybody else have a favorite crime immortalized in song?


  1. Ooh, such fun....

    I like Ella's version of "Miss Otis Regrets" an awful lot.

    (And have to admit, I like the Mick Jagger / Chieftains version of "Long Black Veil" a bit better than Dave and Emmylou ;-)

  2. Lyle Lovett's L.A. County. No one pulls a gun and blows an ex-girlfriend away at her wedding quite like Lyle.

  3. As cheesey as it is, "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia " just because. A Country Music Classic!

  4. "Desperate Times," by Charlie Robison.

    "Used To Love Her," G 'n R

    "Shades Of Gray," Robert Earl Keen

    "Copperhead Road," Steve Earle

    "The Road Goes On Forever," REK

    Dunno why it is that awful crimes so often make for great songs.

  5. Miranda Lambert's "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

  6. And of course ... "Alice's Restaurant," although that wasn't much of a crime.

  7. Delurking with these humble submissions...
    "Down By the River" by Neil Young (murder)
    "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen (murder)
    "Kid Charlamagne" by Steely Dan (drug dealing)

    -Lucy (Dobbs '82)

  8. "Papa Loved Mama" by Garth Brooks:
    Features probably the only murder-by-big rig in modern popular music.

    This isn't the official video, but it totally should be:

  9. Ooh, thought of two more:

    "Goodbye Earl", Dixie Chicks, and that Billie Joe McAllister / Tallahassee Bridge song from back in the day.....

  10. Oh, and "Delia's Gone," as sung by Johnny Cash.

    Yeah, it's a feel-good springtime singalong.

  11. Dave matthews Long Black Veil cover is on my MP3 player and I listen to it five times a week.

    Good job, Cornelia.


  12. i second "Goodbye, Earl". I wrote an article about country music a while back and got onto quite a distracted sidebar about revenge songs. And will offer one that most folks don't know, since this was a great local group.
    Ranch Romance's "The Buckaroo"
    Garth Brooks "The Thunder Rolls"
    Martina McBride "Independence Day"

    And on a slightly different note, "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun" ("Johnny? Wull, like, who's JONNNY?") by Julie Brown (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8hxCpAdCJI)

    I alas, HATE "Long Black Veil" as it tends toward that nasal whininess in too many renditions. But I gotta admit to a secret liking for "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia" too.

    LOVE the no-frills "Folsom Prison Blues". Love it.

    And for all of us who grew up with "Tom Dooley", let's spare a thought for John Stewart of the Kingston Trio who died 1/21/08

  13. Should we be concerned about your bloodthirsty taste in popular music?

  14. Oh, so sad about John Stewart, Andi!

    I also love Goodbye Earl, and should have included that one. Plus Alice's Restaurant is a perennial favorite. I can just about recite the entire massacree.

    And welcome, Lucy! Always great to see a Dobbs chick, online or otherwise

  15. I was thinking almost anything by Britney Spears since it's pretty much a crime against music everytime she sings.

  16. "Delilah" sung sexily by Tom Jones.

    "Dark Lady" sung by Cher.

    Both damn good. :-D


  17. "Down in the Willow Garden" by Art Garfunkel. It's such a sweet sounding, gentle little song, right up until you listen to the lyrics.

    And for revenge, "Up Until Then" by John Gorka, another happy, up-tempo song with violence.

  18. "The End" by the Doors.

  19. Actually, it was "Ode To Billie Joe" that lead me to this site. I guess the question is which crime does it refer to? Billie Joe's suicide, or what he and the narrator had thrown off the bridge (presumably a baby)

    Then I remembered a song from my childhood that obviously got a lot of airplay on the AM radio station my Dad used to listen to; "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia". Something about the lyrics of that one, as cheesy as they are, really kind of creeped me out.

    Which in turn, lead me to "The End", where the son massacres (amongst other things) his family. Also, I believe there has been speculation that The Door's "L.A. Women" is a about a serial killer. Has anyone else heard this?