Wednesday, July 9, 2008

They Fought The Law and The Clash Won


Covers occur naturally in the music industry. Songs that were a hit once before but can be updated and have a new spin put on them may easily find an audience and fill the empty spaces on the track list.

Some covers are banal, boring or just plain awful. But occasionally (as in the case of Pearl Jam's cover of Last Kiss) I find a cover I like better than the original.

The song I Fought The Lawwas written by Sonny Curtis of the The Crickets, but wasn't recorded until after Buddy Holly's death. The most successful version was released in 1966 by the Bobby Fuller Four.

Now I liked that version alright, it's a good song. But give it to a group like The Clash and something happens. The drums go wild, the guitars scratch and buzz and the vocals get... well, louder for one thing.

Now Green Day also recorded this song and their version isn't half bad, but it's a combination of the Bobby Fuller version and The Clash version. They try but, it's still far too civilized.

That's what I like about The Clash version, it's nowhere near being civilized. It's not just louder, it's raw. It's punk. C'mon we're talking about criminal activity here.

Anyway, the Clash studio recording used to be my favorite version, but I have discovered another that has supplanted it in my musical affections.

The live version.

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