Call the cops! Songs about criminals and crime

14 October 2020, 12:00 | Updated: 14 October 2020, 16:21

Joe Strummer of The Clash, pictured in November 1976
Joe Strummer of The Clash, pictured in November 1976. Picture: Julian Yewdall/Getty Images

Rock music isn't afraid to flirt with the criminal element. Here are a selection of tracks that detail the whole spectrum of illegal activity.

  1. THE SONG: The Clash - Bankrobber

    THE CRIME: ARMED ROBBERY

    Joe Strummer fondly remembers his dad… who didn't have a "proper" job.

  2. THE SONG: The Jam - Down In The Tube Station At Midnight

    THE CRIME: MUGGING

    Poor old Paul Weller comes a cropper trying to get home with his takeaway curry, getting a sound kicking in the process.

  3. THE SONG: The Killers - Jenny

    THE CRIME: MURDER

    The third part of the band's "murder trilogy" (after Midnight Show and Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf). The story is based on the true life case of Robert Chambers, the "Preppie Killer", who murdered 18-year-old Jennifer Levin in 1986.

  4. THE SONG: Supergrass - Caught By The Fuzz

    THE CRIME: POSSESSION OF CLASS B DRUGS

    Young Gaz Coombes regrets his foolish night out and ends up in the back of a police van after messing with the wacky baccy. We assume he was given a caution, but HIS MUM'S GONNA KILL HIM.

  5. THE SONG: Morrissey - The Last Of The Famous International Playboys

    THE CRIME: GANGLAND VIOLENCE

    The Mozfather likes the romance of the classic 1960s London gangster - this is his 1989 tribute to the notorious Kray Twins.

  6. THE SONG: The Rolling Stones - Midnight Rambler

    THE CRIME: SERIAL MURDER

    A particularly ghoulish ditty from the Stones' "Satanic" period, this classic track is a fantasy, but namechecks the case of Albert DeSalvo, the "Boston Strangler" who was sent down for murdering 13 women in 1967.

  7. THE SONG: Simian Mobile Disco - Hustler

    THE CRIME: SHOPLIFTING

    "Go to the record store, put the records in my clothes, go past that record man." YES, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SECURITY TAGS?

  8. THE SONG: Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

    THE CRIME: MURDER

    "Mama, just killed a man. Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he's dead" Freddie Mercury, you do not have to say anything. But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. Bismillah.

  9. THE SONG: Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe

    THE CRIME: ATTEMPTED MURDER

    Jimi's acquaintance is on his way to shoot "his old lady" because she was allegedly "messing 'round with another man". The criminal act takes place and the individual then goes on the run from the authorities, but we are left wondering if the gunshot wound was fatal.

  10. THE SONG: Judas Priest - Breakin' The Law

    THE CRIME: CAUSING A BREACH OF THE PEACE

    Rob Halford's protagonist is out of work, so decides "I might as well begin to put some action in my life". This means - according to the fantastic video - holding up the local bank using guitars as offensive weapons. Guilty, your honour.