Music Monday: Songs About Crime

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! Now spread 'em! No, no, we're just kidding, the lawyers would never let us mug you. We're not profitable enough to protect! And that's why, today, we're taking a look at the seedy side of songs. Today's Music Monday is all about crime. We'll start with a classic:

Woody Guthrie - Pretty Boy Floyd




This song about a Depression-era bank robber shares a lot in common with modern hip hop songs. A guy with no money, doing what he had to do to survive, yet popular with the people. Some say he's like Robin Hood, some say he's a terrible man, some say it was all just made up in the first place. Regardless of the truth, "Some will rob you with a six gun/and some with a fountain pen" are lyrics that could have been written just last week.

More crime and criminals after the jump. Follow us if you know what's good for you.

Remember our new Spotify playlist will be featuring a great selection from last week's Music Monday comments. The theme of the mix this time is Best Bass Lines so turn on the subwoofer before you hit play. Just before you start reminiscing, check out our current Music Monday below. It'd be a crime if you missed out. Ha! Get it? Okay, fine, that joke was a crime as well.

Serge Gainsbourg & Brigette Bardot - Bonnie And Clyde


Yes, it's in French, and yes, you don't have to speak French to enjoy the song. This song is carried by tone and tune, and if you know who Bonnie and Clyde were, you know this is a love song for a pair doomed from the start. But boy, will they enjoy the ride.

Tony Orlando & Dawn - Tie A Yellow Ribbon


This song has found a new life, but originally, it was the story of an ex-con wondering about the girl he left behind. Of course, Wikipedia adds another layer by letting us know the yellow ribbon was for soldiers first so we're not poo-pooing the present day meaning, just pointing out that this song was originally related to crime.

Kate Bush - There Goes A Tenner


This could, in fact, be the only song about a bank heist in progress. Of course things go wrong, but that's not a spoiler, because if you see the words "bank heist" in any form of media you should just accept the words "goes wrong" follow right behind it. A lovely song nevertheless.

Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues


If you've never heard this song before, that's your fault. The Man In Black made singing about criminal acts into something no one else ever did: a bad thing. You can't sing along to Folsom Prison Blues without understanding that sin carries a price, or to put it casually, if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Lots of rappers make what they do sound wonderful, but Cash makes the sound wonderful, but remembers to keep the story sad. He suffers so you won't.

Confess to your favorite crime song in our comments below. Then lay low in our room for the regular Music Monday enjoyment. Also, let us just remind you: some images come from the corresponding Wikipedia page and are here under fair use.