Other deaths of cops recorded in song

July 31, 1992|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,Pop Music Critic

Although his critics would have you believe otherwise, Ice-T is far from the first to sing about cop-killing. In fact, the topic has quite a history, stretching from the outlaw ballads of the 19th century to the rap records of today. What follows is a look at some of the most memorable:

"The Wild Colonial Boy." Originating in the Australian bush, this 19th century saga of unrepentant banditry climaxes in a confrontation between the hero, Jack Doolan, and three troopers. One trooper is killed,the second wounded, but the third shoots Doolan, who is brought back a hero.

"Dupree." Based on the story of Frank Dupree, this American ballad from the '20s tells how he stole a diamond only to encounter a policeman while trying to escape. "I pulled my pistol and I shot that cop/I laid him dead at my feet," goes one couplet.

"Pretty Boy Floyd." In this Woody Guthrie number, Floyd slays a deputy, and ends up an outlaw who shares his booty with the poor. With lines like "You will never see an outlaw/Drive a family from their home," it's clear who Guthrie thought the bad guys were.

* "I Shot the Sheriff." Bob Marley wrote the song, but he did not shoot the deputy. Maybe that's why Eric Clapton had the hit, which climbed to No. 1 in August 1974.

"F - - - tha Police." Written by Ice Cube and recorded by N.W.A., this cop-bashing rampage ends with a mock trial in which an abusive patrolman is tried by the rappers. As a result, Priority Records, which released N.W.A.'s album, received a warning letter on FBI stationery.

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