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VLW Quick 10: Popular Tunes About Lawyers

You don’t find all that many popular songs about lawyers or the law, but here are some tunes that hit the charts:

1. Lawyers in Love – Jackson Browne. (1983) (Has never been played at a two-lawyer wedding, so far as we know).

2. Take a Letter, Maria – R.B. Greaves. (1969) (Guy dumps his cheating wife by mail, with a “copy to my lawyer…” Then he hits on his secretary Maria? Hello?)

3. The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia – Vicki Lawrence. (1973) (Full of gothic Southern melodrama, even a judge “with bloodstains on his hands”).

4. I Shot the Sheriff – Eric Clapton. (and before him, Bob Marley). (1974) (You can hear it now: “Denial of shooting the deputy isn’t much of a defense, counselor…”).

5. I Fought the Law – Bobby Fuller Four. (1965) (See “I Shot the Sheriff,” supra).

6. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – Gene Pitney. (1962) (Theme for the movie that actually doesn’t appear in the film – hero had a “law book in his hand”)

7. The End of the Innocence – Don Henley. (1989) (Lawyers, of course, get paid to “dwell on small details”).

8. Mamas, Don’t Let You Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys – Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson. (1978) (Being a doctor, or a lawyer, or such, is preferable).

9. D-I-V-O-R-C-E – Tammy Wynette. (1968) (A Number 1 on country chart, includes discussion of C-U-S-T-O-D-Y).

10. She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft) – Jerry Reed. (1982) (One man’s definition of equitable distribution: They “split it all down the middle,” then “give her the better half”).

BONUS. Lawyers, Guns & Money – Warren Zevon. (1978) (Apparently, these are the three things that can fix most anything: “Dad, get me out of this…”) Note: Song never actually charted, but this list would be most incomplete without it.

- Paul Fletcher

8 comments

  1. There probably are many others that were omitted from your list, but one that comes quickly to mind is “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard (“Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleadings I denied ….”)

  2. There probably are many others that were omitted from your list, but one that comes quickly to mind is “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard (“Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleadings I denied ….”)

  3. Stephanie Cangin

    Nice list, but by all means, if you were going to choose Eric Clapton’s cover of “I Shot the Sheriff” over the original Bob Marley version, you should have picked the Clash’s cover of “I Fought The Law.”

  4. Stephanie Cangin

    Nice list, but by all means, if you were going to choose Eric Clapton’s cover of “I Shot the Sheriff” over the original Bob Marley version, you should have picked the Clash’s cover of “I Fought The Law.”

  5. I have long thought that the Bar Exam could use Ralph Stanley’s “Old Richmond Prison” as a criminal procedure hypothetical. (“I shot the sheriff of Buchanan county, even though I was on the Dickenson side.”)

  6. I have long thought that the Bar Exam could use Ralph Stanley’s “Old Richmond Prison” as a criminal procedure hypothetical. (“I shot the sheriff of Buchanan county, even though I was on the Dickenson side.”)

  7. “The Night that the Lights Went Out in Georgia” — What kind of idiot shoots a gun in the air over a bloody dead body to get the Georgia patrol’s attention?!?

  8. “The Night that the Lights Went Out in Georgia” — What kind of idiot shoots a gun in the air over a bloody dead body to get the Georgia patrol’s attention?!?

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