The Criminologist’s Mixtape

To start of this blog off I am crossposting asomething I wrote a while ago.
At the height of my procrastination efforts, I have made a criminological mixtape. Enjoy!

  1. Traditional – Little Sadie/Cocain Blues

The first written version of ‘Little Sadie’ is dated 1922. In its long history the song has been recorded Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Woody Guthry, and many others.

2. Bob Dylan – The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (1964)

Dylan wrote this song at the age of 22, after reading about the killing of Hattie Carroll in a newspaper. In 1963, on the same day that Martin Luther King Jr. held his ‘I have a dream’ speech, the white tobacco farmer William Zantzinger had been sentenced to six months in prison and a 500 $ fine for manslaughter after killing Carroll, a black barmaid, in a drunken rage. Dylan turned the case into a powerful metaphor for race and class in America that transcends time and space.

3. Bobby Fuller Four – I fought the Law (and the law won) (1966)

4. Johnny Cash – Boy named Sue (1969)

5. The Beatles – Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (1969)

6. The Last Poets – When the Revolution Comes (1970)

7. Towns Van Zandt – Pancho and Lefty (1972)

8. The Sex Pistols – No One is Innocent (1978)

This song deserves a special mention in this playlist. It made it on this Blog not so much because it is about crime but because it is made by a criminal. To be precise, the Sex Pistols (or rather what was left of them by 1978) teamed up with Ronald Biggs, a participant in the Great Train Robbery of 1963. Biggs had left Britain and had fled to Brazil where he was safe from extradition. Together they wrote and recorded this piece of good natured amorality.

9. Peter Gabriel – Family Snapshot (1980)

‘Family Snapshot’ was inspired by ‘An Assassin’s Diary‘, a book based on the diary of Arthur Bremer who attempted to kill an Alabama Governor in 1972.

10. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska (1982)

This song is based on the true case of Charles Starkweather who killed eleven people between 1938 and 1959.

11. Midnight Oil – Beds are Burning (1987)

The video to this song can be found here.
The history of Australia is rife with violence against indigenous peoples. One of these peoples are the Pintupi who were displaced between the 1940 to 1980s. Midnight Oil chose this group as an object for their song, creating a powerful appeal for reparations and justice.

12. The Smiths – Shoplifters of the World Unite (1987)

Slavoj Žižek, incidentally, published an essay about the London riots  called ‘Shoplifters of the World Unite’  in 2011.

13. Tracy Chapman – Behind the Wall (1988)

14. NWA – Fuck tha Police (1988)

15. Eminem – Criminal (2000)

16. Immortal Technique – Urban Gorillaz (2008)

17. Atmosphere – Less one (2008)

This playlist was orginally published on

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