Years ago, I dated an ex felon who served time for armed robbery. This 1974 classic rock song from ex-Beatle McCartney and friends depicts the narrator's escape from the four walls of a jail cell and the ensuing search party. Chain gangs are the unlikely topic of this 1960 rock hit. Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 25, 2017: Jailhouse Rock and Fulsom Prison were automatic. Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 26, 2017: I agree very much that prison can be a state of mind as well as a place. Common, “Testify”“She walk into the court, her knees buckle / Saying for a man to survive he needn’t hustle,” Common raps in his 2005 single “Testify.” At first, it seems as if the song’s female character is showing up in court to offer support for her man, who’s being accused of murder and gun possession. Have a wonderful weekend. Elvis Presley had a huge hit with his song, “Jailhouse Rock,” in the late-1950s. It's strange how you can go to prison longer for tax evasion than manslaughter in some cases. Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on July 26, 2017: This was a very interesting and thought-provoking piece. Presiding over the case is Judge Roughneck, who will have none of it; he ends the song with a justified echo of Judge Dread’s “Take them away!”, 7. The single’s flip-side sports a spoken-word skit (recorded on Rowan And Martin’s Laugh-In) titled “The Trial” that drives home Markham’s raw, racy idea of gin-soaked justice. Prison isn't always a place. Rock stars, rappers and country musicians have all written iconic songs about jail, so why not rank them and see which one is the most popular among music fans? The convict knew that the dog was an excellent tracker but wouldn't be able to resist the natural allure of a lady dog. “Your Honour,” he implores, “I was inside the closet, minding I and I own business / Your Honour, it was a complete stranger causing these disturbances / Him claims of me touching him wife / Which is a wicked and awful lie.” Shervington tries to paint himself as the victim of the crime, but he just digs himself in deeper when he asks the judge to call a certain character witness: “Ask the maid downstairs, Agatha / She gonna be glad to testify for me.”. An extra verse she sings live includes the lyrics: "So now when I tell you it was Michael Stewart’s eyes that the coroner lost / Do you know what I mean when I say that justice is blind. Dance music is full of reflective music about coming of age. The case: In 1966, two white men and one white woman were shot and killed in a New Jersey bar. As well as creating news headlines, criminal cases have inspired a rich tradition of songwriting, beginning with the murder ballads of previous centuries (versions of Knoxville Girl, sung by Elvis Costello and Nick Cave, among others, date back to the 1700s) and evolving into the controversial hits of today, such as when German industrial metal band Rammstein caused outrage when Mein Teil, their song about the Rotenburg cannibal murder of 2001, reached No.2 in Germany (and No.1 in Spain). A hold-over of slavery, chain gangs were a type of penal labor mostly employed in the American South until the mid-1950s. His offense, punishable by death, is “the lie in his voice.” And “smudging the air with my song.”, 14. Caught in a one-sided love affair, the protagonist finds that she's unable to leave her lover because she loves him too much. The chilling, infantilising refrain of "Polly wants a cracker" sinisterly captures the victim's dehumanisation and imprisonment until she luckily escaped. Needless to say, there was no escape. 15. The song it inspired: In 1975, Carter sent Bob Dylan a copy of his autobiography and the singer consequently visited him in prison. 6. With clever planning and a little luck, the the prisoner hatched a plan to distract the dog, and he ran free. Sometimes it's a habit, a state of mind, a lifestyle. The officers who had been present during Stewart's arrest and custody were accused of negligent homicide and perjury between them, but were acquitted of all charges. As well as performing at Carter's prison, Dylan put together two benefit concerts to raise money for the defence at his 1976 retrial. Have a great weekend. “Order, order, what’s the first case on the docket?” Long intones, answered by a backup singer’s lament that, “I gotta boy here who can’t dance.” Long then delivers his wise and merciful sentence: “Thirty days in boogaloo, 30 days to learn how to shingaling, and 30 more for the Afro-twist.”. / Is it true you betrayed us? Thank you for another amazing article, Flourish! The ol' country boy in this 1990 song is a smart convict who became BFFs with the warden, thus being given the job of watching the prison's bloodhound. The crime? The tune refers to one of the group having left the chain gang while the others stay behind to complete the hard labor. That poor woman. The trials and tribulations of prison life have long been a fascination to musicians outside of the penitentiary walls. © Copyright 2020 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. And I have always liked your collection of songs. Now he is prepared to run free. I enjoyed some of them previously also but didn't categorize like this. Rock stars, rappers and country musicians have all written iconic songs about jail, so why not rank them and see which one is the most popular among music fans? The songs it inspired: As well as nationwide protesting and comment from President Barack Obama, Martin's death has inspired scores of musical tributes and many more name checks. The song was featured on the soundtrack of the film of the same name. The rusty cage that has imprisoned the narrator in this 1991 rock song is a bad drug habit which he is determined to break free from. ", BBC News - Profiles: Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional. The convict knew that the dog was an excellent tracker but wouldn't be able to resist the natural allure of a lady dog. He died in police custody 13 days later. 32. The Specials, “Stupid Marriage”In the late ’70s and early ’80s, Prince Buster proved to be a huge influence on the punk-fueled ska revival Two Tone. I like the quote by Tahar Rahim. While on tour in Glasgow, Flowers read about the 2003 murder of teenager Jodi Jones by her boyfriend and wrote a song about it, Where Is She, but decided not to record it after controversy flared up. The case: In 1983, young African-American graffiti artist and model Michael Stewart was arrested for tagging a New York subway station wall. :). The tune’s hapless protagonist isn’t that concerned with the judge’s admittedly anachronistic sentences; in fact, he madly admits to being “So happy, I don’t want to be free.”, 13. I wanted some diversity of artists on this playlist, of course, so I couldn't put all of Merle Haggard's prison-themed songs on it. It's the ending song of Spirited Away (2001). It will make you think the Possum has come back from the grave. I'd love to hear some of those tales. From a prison cell, a recovering drug addict recalls the events that landed him behind bars in his 2008 country song. 10. * Itsumo Nando Demo (Always with Me) by Yumi Kimura. She's already over you. He's learning about behavior and consequences the hard way. When I laid eyes on that title, I instantly thought of "Chains" by Nick Jonas. Another story about a different time, I suppose. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your memories with us. Do you consider "I Don't Look Good in Stripes" by Brandy Clark a song about going to jail since it's more a song about her reasons for not committing the crime? Privacy Policy. BBC Music - 10 of the most disturbing folk songs in history, BBC Music - 6 times music fans broke the law for bands they love, BBC Music - The 6 strangest hoax acts in music.

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