THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Clash – “I Fought the Law”
Another of their famous covers, “I Fought the Law” still sounds like a song that The Clash should have written. They hadn’t even heard the song until they were in San Francisco recording overdubs for Give ‘Em Enough Rope. The studio had a bunch of old records on the jukebox, and included was Bobby Fuller’s version of “I Fought the Law”. They listened to the song, learned it, and by the time they returned to England a month later, they were playing it live.
They recorded it and it originally appeared on the The Cost of Living EP in the UK, but their label decided to bundle it in the shuffled US release of The Clash. Their rendition explodes with a cacophony of cymbals and guitars, refusing to let up with a bevy of percussion. The snare hits on “robbin’ people with a six-gun” and just nails the listener to the wall. It’s still hard to believe Strummer didn’t have a hand in the words at all. It’s a match made in protest heaven.
The Only Lyric That Matters: “Robbin’ people with a six-gun/ I fought the law, and the law won”.