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The Clash — I Fought The Law
Album: The Essential Clash
Avg rating:
7.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1311









Released: 1981
Length: 2:37
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Breaking rocks in the hot sun
I fought the law and the law won, I fought the law and the law won
I needed money 'cause I had none
I fought the law and the law won, I fought the law and the law won

I left my baby and it feels so bad
I guess my race is run
She's the best girl that I ever had
I fought the law and the law won, I fought the law and the...

Robbing people with a six-gun
I fought the law and the law won, I fought the law and the law won
I lost my girl and I lost my fun
I fought the law and the law won, I fought the law and the law won

I left my baby and it feels so bad
I guess my race is run
She's the best girl that I ever had
I fought the law and the law won, I fought the law and the...

I fought the law and the law won
I fought the law and the law won
Comments (120)add comment
 Proclivities wrote:
justin4kick wrote:
I like the Clash a lot but the Bobby Fullers Four's version is much much better.
 

That version sounds "clean and tame" largely because it was recorded in 1966.  Later cover versions often sound more raunchy (like The Black Crowes "bar-band" cover version of Otis Redding's classic "Hard To Handle" for example).
In the case of this song, I like both versions; they're just different takes.

My thoughts exactly. BFF's version was suited to the time - 1966. This version was suited to its time as well. Both capture the rebellious spirit - and the resignation - The Clash just did it their way.
c.

Joe and his army rocked🎸
justin4kick wrote:
I like the Clash a lot but the Bobby Fullers Four's version is much much better.
 
 Jota wrote:
I just went to listen to it and it's far too clean and tame.  It's what I imagine church sounds like. all nicey nicey.  

That version sounds "clean and tame" largely because it was recorded in 1966.  Later cover versions often sound more raunchy (like The Black Crowes "bar-band" cover version of Otis Redding's classic "Hard To Handle" for example).
In the case of this song, I like both versions; they're just different takes.
this was one of my favorite concerts.  they opened for the who.  half the crowd left after the clash set including me
Check out Rude Boy movie with The Clash in it. This song rocks live in it
Love this song.  Love the original.  Stop bickering.
Almost as good as the original
 enkay wrote:

You said that 3 years ago and nobody agreed with you that time either apparently.

 

Thanks for reminding me. Guess what, I still find Bobby Fullers Four version much better.
"Outstanding!" A true "4" rating - as i got my good day today.
Great segue from The Specials...same era, different ATTITUDE!
 oldfart48 wrote:
worst version of this ever heard......{#Ass}
 

I beg to differ. I think the 'in your face' nature of this makes it the definitive version.


 oldfart48 wrote:
worst version of this ever heard......{#Ass}

 
Haha.  Exactly.  Although, I've pretty much never liked any version.
Arm hurts from playing air guitar...
 justin4kick wrote:
I like the Clash a lot but the Bobby Fullers Four's version is much much better.

The video quality is very low-res, but the pistol-packin' dancers are a hoot! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgtQj8O92eI
 justin4kick wrote:
I like the Clash a lot but the Bobby Fullers Four's version is much much better.

 
You said that 3 years ago and nobody agreed with you that time either apparently.
I just went to listen to it and it's far too clean and tame.  It's what I imagine church sounds like. all nicey nicey.

justin4kick wrote:
I like the Clash a lot but the Bobby Fullers Four's version is much much better.

 


I like the Clash a lot but the Bobby Fullers Four's version is much much better.
Have seen the recently discovered extended footage of the Clash from 1977 ? truly a time trip mixed with New Years BBC footage.Awesome, found in a trunk or a vault.
Most  excellent but the Dead Kennedys version is a solid 10
"I Fought the Law" was track five on side two of " In Style With the Crickets". Track six was "Love's Made a Fool of You". Bobby Fuller's follow up to "I Fought the Law" was "Love's Made...." That one was written by Holly/Montgomery, although Buddy wasn't in the band, and I believe had died by the time the album was made.
 Proclivities wrote:

Generally (and legally), credited cover versions of songs are not considered "ripped" from their composers, and Sonny Curtis (who joined The Crickets after Buddy Holly's death) wrote this song, not Buddy Holly.

 
Yes, but Sonny Curtis knew Holly from the beginning and was on Holly's first demos. Apparently, he was on the road as a working musician when Holly formed the Crickets, returning to take the lead vocals after Holly's death.

I agree BTW that covers are simply covers, generally reimbursing the songwriter. I guess they would be considered rips if the songwriter wasn't paid. Probably happens. Lord knows Led Zep and Dylan seem to have skirted that little nicety, tho' LZ relented some years ago.
New video out ( well to me anyway) The Clash New Years 1977. amazing archival footage from a hand held something.
Two of my old favorites today...

 1:26 pm - The Clash - I Fought The Law
1:23 pm - The Specials - Gangsters

Ah... like a favorite faded black t-shirt.
cartoon
 fredriley wrote:

'Kinell! I wouldn't expect quotes from an abstruse philosopher on this forum. Thanks for the intellectual interlude :)

IIRC Kierkegaard was considered to be an early existentialist. Sadly, I could never get on with existentialists and their appallingly bleak and individualist outlooks. Camus in particular was a prize self-centred tit.
 

Yeah, Søren Kierkegaard is considered one of the early founders of existentialism...  he never used the word "existentialism", but he was the first to describe the absurdity of human existence... however, Kierkegaard was afraid that nihilism would result if nobody believed in anything because everything is absurd, so Kierkegaard thought that people should believe in something, even if it is absurd...

the core definition of existentialism is a paradox, so it is as absurd as everything else— postmodern existentialists believe that objectively everything is absurd, so subjectively people are free to believe whatever they wish... the paradox is that this means objectively, existentialism is as absurd as everything else...

everybody in my mushrooming multitude of churches be dancing buck ass naked all across the holy moly world like bowlegged gypsy muleskinners and B.F. Skinner... we love this splendiferous song... love sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll...


 unclehud wrote:

As long as there is law, there will be bad boys (and girls) who fight and lose ... and then sing this song proudly.

 
This also applies to good boys (and girls).
 joelbb wrote:
I was a young radio listener when the original of this song came out.  Everybody liked it then, a major hit.  Rockin' bands like the Clash (and their  fans) ALWAYS have loved it, esp. the short drum riff in the middle.  I'll bet it's still being covered 25 years from now.
 
As long as there is law, there will be bad boys (and girls) who fight and lose ... and then sing this song proudly.
{#Bananajam}{#Drummer}{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Bananajam}
worst version of this ever heard......{#Ass}
 Lazarus wrote:

Everybody in my church loves this cover...

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard defines dread as the knowledge of what you must do to prove you're free, even if it will destroy you. His example is Adam in the Garden of Eden, happy and content until God shows him the Tree of Knowledge and says, "Don't eat this." Now, Adam is no longer free. This is one rule he can break; he must break to prove his freedom, even if it destroys him. Kierkegaard says the moment we are forbidden to do something, we will do it. It is inevitable.

According to Kierkegaard, the person who allows the law to control his life, who says the possible isn't possible just because it's illegal, is leading the inauthentic life.


 

 
'Kinell! I wouldn't expect quotes from an abstruse philosopher on this forum. Thanks for the intellectual interlude :)

IIRC Kierkegaard was considered to be an early existentialist. Sadly, I could never get on with existentialists and their appallingly bleak and individualist outlooks. Camus in particular was a prize self-centred tit.
Good, but still the Bobby Fuller Four´s version is much better!
 richlister wrote:
Shame they ripped it from Buddy Holly.
 
Generally (and legally), credited cover versions of songs are not considered "ripped" from their composers, and Sonny Curtis (who joined The Crickets after Buddy Holly's death) wrote this song, not Buddy Holly.
Sunday morning... 9 in the morning in Toulouse (South France)... weather pretty bad for a end of april... despite this, the energy of this song of the clash rise my energy to go to run and take fresh air in the forest !  another time, THX RP !  {#Good-vibes}
It don't get any better! {#Skull}

Everybody in my church loves this cover...

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard defines dread as the knowledge of what you must do to prove you're free, even if it will destroy you. His example is Adam in the Garden of Eden, happy and content until God shows him the Tree of Knowledge and says, "Don't eat this." Now, Adam is no longer free. This is one rule he can break; he must break to prove his freedom, even if it destroys him. Kierkegaard says the moment we are forbidden to do something, we will do it. It is inevitable.

According to Kierkegaard, the person who allows the law to control his life, who says the possible isn't possible just because it's illegal, is leading the inauthentic life.


 
Saw Bruce Springsteen do this in Cleveland in about 1980.    Timeless and Joe's version here is a 9 at least.

As for Bobby Fuller and the Bobby Fuller Four (or Five?), too bad that the LAPD did not like him.

Shame they ripped it from Buddy Holly.
I was a young radio listener when the original of this song came out.  Everybody liked it then, a major hit.  Rockin' bands like the Clash (and their  fans) ALWAYS have loved it, esp. the short drum riff in the middle.  I'll bet it's still being covered 25 years from now.
"i fought the song, and the song won"  GD tour shirt, 1993
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z_wnc3KU-Y

Actually a fun cover and well done!
 Proclivities wrote:

Still, the Bobby Fuller Four version is great.  I enjoy this one too, it's just a different take on the theme.

"Happy Laments" would make a good album title though.

 
John Mellancamp said this was the inspiration for "I fought authority and authority always win".
 Stingray wrote:
Vibrators are better!
 
That's what your girlfriend says.
 sirdroseph wrote:
I think they were concerned about the message more than anything else because they obviously were not very concerned about musical execution. I am no musician, but I bet that most musicians could play all of the Clash's tunes blindfolded. For that matter all punk songs.
  Sure, but wasn't that part and parcel of the punk ethos? The fact that you don't need orchestration (The Moody Blues come to mind), choreography (e.g. disco) or even much musicianship, to make music?


 BBOGDA wrote:

Makes me Bop!  Love it.


 
What do you do, if you are Bob?

Vibrators are better!
AWESOME!

Makes me Bop!  Love it.




Everybody in my hotel room be dancing to this classic cover...


 

Your musical ignorance is showing..might want to do a little research before you dismiss bands just because  they are labled "Punk"


I think they were concerned about the message more than anything else because they obviously were not very concerned about musical execution. I am no musician, but I bet that most musicians could play all of the Clash's tunes blindfolded. For that matter all punk songs.
 

It sounded like Bill said the song was originally by the Bobby Fuller Five, but it the Bobby Fuller Four originally from El Paso, Tx. - Booby was a local band favorite who went to Hollywood and ended up what was said to be suicide from drinking gasoline. Many thought that it was something much more sinister that took him out.
 fredriley wrote:

Substance over style. I think Joe and the boys were more concerned with the music and the message than in a 'cool' cover.

 

I think they were concerned about the message more than anything else because they obviously were not very concerned about musical execution. I am no musician, but I bet that most musicians could play all of the Clash's tunes blindfolded. For that matter all punk songs.
Pure 100% gold rock and roll. 
 mikewallach wrote:
I think it's the best version....Little known fact.  First recorded by the Crickets, NOT Bobby Fuller
 no.  I mean it's a mediocre reworking of a song I treasure.
 
 
So, did Buddy Holly write it? Would not surprise me, considering how well his songs have held up, 50 years later.

edit: no, it was written by Sonny Curtis of The Crickets.



The Clash - I Fought The Law, Live

"Am gonna be 50 this year, n this is the song i want to hear when am 90, love The Clash."    tedtheranger

 


Best punk song? {#Ass}
Ah my misspent youth!  Two of my favorites from what was a very fun time for me, The Specials followed by the Clash!
one of my first cassettes
{#Dancingbanana}


I think it's the best version....Little known fact.  First recorded by the Crickets, NOT Bobby Fuller
 no.  I mean it's a mediocre reworking of a song I treasure.
 


 fredriley wrote:

Substance over style. I think Joe and the boys were more concerned with the music and the message than in a 'cool' cover.
 
Yeah, no.  I mean it's a mediocre reworking of a song I treasure.
 nerakdon wrote:
Mediocre cover.
 
Substance over style. I think Joe and the boys were more concerned with the music and the message than in a 'cool' cover.

Mediocre cover.
 garycha wrote:
Utter drivel from a great band that should have quit sooner.

Embarassing, cynical attempt at seducing US kids after peaking in the UK with their first three LPs.  I am sure that the three surviving members enjoy the "Law" royalties, but wince at this track. 
 
Um... according to the discography on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Clash_discography) this song was released about midway between Give 'Em Enough Rope (Nov 78) and London Calling (Dec 79). So between albums 2 and 3. Unless there's another one only you have?

I fought the song, and the song won...
Terrible 80 sound!
needs more 10.
Utter drivel from a great band that should have quit sooner.

Embarassing, cynical attempt at seducing US kids after peaking in the UK with their first three LPs.  I am sure that the three surviving members enjoy the "Law" royalties, but wince at this track. 
I like this and the original.  I agree that this is "angrier" than the original.
I fought the law, Anna. The law won.
The Clash could record "Jingle Bells" and it would sound great.
Long live Joe!
 HazzeSwede wrote:
This is Rock and Roll ,I can SEE the energy coming out from my speakers! # 10
 
I was fortunate enough to SEE and HEAR it comig off the stage!
North American Campaign 1982! August 18th @ Stanley Theater, Pittsburgh!
Half the audience was decked out in combat gear!
Set List...

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23

London Callling
One More Time
Rock the Casbah
White Man
Know Your Rights
The Guns of Brixton
Police on My Back
Car Jamming
This is Radio Clash
Magnificent Seven
Train in Vain
Wrong Em Boyo
The Call Up
Brand New Cadilac
Somebody Got Murdered
Presure Drop
I Fought the Law
Armagideon time
Should I Stay or Should I go
Safe European Home
Straight to Hell
Im so Bored with the USA
Career Opportunities


It was a fucking amazing show! They were one of the best!
{#Sunny}

TSHIRT - VINTAGE DISTRESSED KNOW YOUR RIGHTS BANNER WITH THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN & GUN IN OPEN PAGES OF BOOK WITH STAR, LIGHTNING BOLTS & ARMY STENCIL LOGO/COMBAT ROCK NORTH AMERICAN TOUR LOGOTSHIRT - VINTAGE DISTRESSED KNOW YOUR RIGHTS BANNER WITH THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN & GUN IN OPEN PAGES OF BOOK WITH STAR, LIGHTNING BOLTS & ARMY STENCIL LOGO/COMBAT ROCK NORTH AMERICAN TOUR LOGO
I still have this shirt...in a box some where in North America!

This is Rock and Roll ,I can SEE the energy coming out from my speakers! # 10


Love and defiance. Two of my favorite themes.
More Clash!
 cc_rider wrote:
Awesome cover. The Clash makes it an ANGRY anthem, where Bobby Fuller made it a sad lament. Is there such a thing as a happy lament? Don't think so. Oh well.
 
Still, the Bobby Fuller Four version is great.  I enjoy this one too, it's just a different take on the theme.

"Happy Laments" would make a good album title though.

 winter wrote:
I also like what the Dead Kennedys did with it.
 
The DK version is cool, but this to me is the perfect energy/style/emotion for the song. The Clash just got the execution of punk perfect for me. That is a bit contrary for punk, but I stand by it.



Man, this song brings back some memories...  let's go do some crimes!!


{#Bananasplit}
Usually, I don't like the Clash's stuff, but this is wonderfully funny.  I love it!
Hell yes, Bill! This set is dy-no-mite!
A most definate up-beat song set....keep em coming!
12:08 am - The Clash - I Fought The Law 12:04 am - The Who - Summertime Blues 12:02 am - Blur - Song 2 11:58 pm - The Smiths - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out 11:54 pm - Radiohead - Bullet Proof..I Wish I Was 12:10 am - Bob Marley - Burnin' And Lootin'
Perfect set this morning, Bill! I like to thank you.
Uncle_Fenester wrote:
:stupid: What could possibly be wrong with the execution? The Clash tears into this song with incredible power and ferocity. One of those rare covers that leaves the original in the dust, IMHO.
On that live disc that came out in the late 90's (from a performance in London in late '78), Strummer changed the words from "I left my baby" to "I killed my baby". He always did dial everything up a notch or two...
rtkmusic wrote:
Nail on the head...one of those rare covers that transcend comparison to the original.
:yes: I also like what the Dead Kennedys did with it.
cc_rider wrote:
Awesome cover. The Clash makes it an ANGRY anthem, where Bobby Fuller made it a sad lament. Is there such a thing as a happy lament? Don't think so. Oh well.
Nail on the head...one of those rare covers that transcend comparison to the original.
bcorcoran wrote:
no, people just like to complain. do you read the comments? lol...
kind of hard to read 9 comments that are simultaneous with your own, huh mr. snarky mccrankypants?
Tried both 192k Streams and the 128, and although Winamp shows the correct bitrate, this track sounds like listening to RealAudio over dialup.
What's a matter with ya wankers...THIS IS GOOD SHITE! :lol:
Eul0gy wrote:
Ah, right channel corruption again. Fun stuff. Switch to left channel only if you really have to hear this song.
man...good call.
Awesome cover. The Clash makes it an ANGRY anthem, where Bobby Fuller made it a sad lament. Is there such a thing as a happy lament? Don't think so. Oh well.
rah wrote:
does this track sound incredibly tinny/badly compressed to anyone else? at first i thought it was my headphones, but i think it's the stream...
YES ... very bad on 64aac+. Great tune though. Rock and ROLL!!
rah wrote:
does this track sound incredibly tinny/badly compressed to anyone else?
no, people just like to complain. do you read the comments? lol... Bill needs to fix this...
does this track sound incredibly tinny/badly compressed to anyone else? at first i thought it was my headphones, but i think it's the stream... edited to say: so it's not just me...
Ah, right channel corruption again. Fun stuff. Switch to left channel only if you really have to hear this song.
ouch
Oh god... stream is messed up again...
Nooo, not this song too! Another corrupt file.
Ack! The stream's gone all wonky again!
AHHHH!!! there's that sound again! Make it stop!!!!
Ahh! College and too many beers and The Clash and Costello and Pretenders all elbowing their way into the airwaves with their sneers and ragged, insistent musicanship. I needed money cause I had none! According to Marshall Crenshaw: best song written by a man who was killed by mobsters.
Uncle_Fenester wrote:
:stupid: What could possibly be wrong with the execution? The Clash tears into this song with incredible power and ferocity. One of those rare covers that leaves the original in the dust, IMHO.
exactly.
YES!
auburntigerrich wrote:
Blech. Way before my time. Makes me feel younger, if nothing else.
First Clash song I ever heard - way OF my time!! :dancingbanana:
Have to catch Rude Boy again.
Somewhere, Bobby Fuller and Buddy Holly & the Crickets are nodding there heads and saying Yes, that's it.
NICE segue. Didn't know I did't hate the Boss 11:44 am - The Clash - I Fought The Law 11:41 am - Bruce Springsteen - Tenth Avenue Freeze Out 1
Blech. Way before my time. Makes me feel younger, if nothing else.
:bounce: :guitarist: :bounce: :guitarist: THIS ROCKS! Thanks, RP!!!!!
:guitarist: :drummer: :guitarist: :guitarist:
HELL YEAH! I just punched a hole in my monitor! YEAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!
Uncle_Fenester wrote:
:stupid: What could possibly be wrong with the execution? The Clash tears into this song with incredible power and ferocity. One of those rare covers that leaves the original in the dust, IMHO.
Agreed
Uncle_Fenester wrote:
:stupid: What could possibly be wrong with the execution? The Clash tears into this song with incredible power and ferocity. One of those rare covers that leaves the original in the dust, IMHO.
Agree almost exactly - however, the original was great in context with its' time.
one of the first singles that I ever bought. And does John "Johnny Couger" Mellencamp have no shame?
natural_tools wrote:
I'm rating this high, but more because of the song than the execution.
:stupid: What could possibly be wrong with the execution? The Clash tears into this song with incredible power and ferocity. One of those rare covers that leaves the original in the dust, IMHO.
I'm rating this high, but more because of the song than the execution.
The Clash doing the Bobby Fuller Four. What could be better! :bounce:
Okay, now I'm awake! More Clash!
What? Never played?? :taped-shut: Come on. Lets pull this one out. :sunny:
I'll fight the playlist until I win and this thing gets played. S. Curtis
An all-time cover that belongs in the rotation somewhere!