My Top 1000 Songs #456: I Fought The Law

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

I heard the Clash's 1979 version long before discovering the 1965 Bobby Fuller Four iteration (released shortly before Fuller's apparently suspicious death). And it would be even longer before I figured out that Fuller's version was also a cover, the song originally recorded by his fellow Texans the Crickets (the remnants of Buddy Holly's band after his own passing) in 1959 (and released the following year). It was written by Sonny Curtis, who joined the Crickets after Holly's plane crash (Curtis also wrote the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song ("Love Is All Around"), one of the greatest tv series theme songs ever--later covered by Husker Du and Joan Jett, among others).

Anyway, history aside, it's the Clash's version I'll always find definitive--Topper Headon's relentlessly thundering drums and some tremendous guitar interplay between Mick Jones & Joe Strummer. But Fuller's earlier take is no slouch, jangly guitars still plenty boisterous even without the punk stomp.

The Clash:

The Clash, live 1979:
Bobby Fuller Four:
The Crickets: