I Fought the Law (2:41)

Cover of The Clash

From The Clash and 68 other releases

While one version of the Clash’s decision to cover the song is that it was the existence of a 45 of the Bobby Fuller version in an American studio jukebox, it is true that Ducks Deluxe issued a cover single. ‘I Fought The Law/Cherry Pie’ (RCA 2531, 1975) in the UK and Joe Strummer with the band 101’ers had been on the same pub rock circuit as Ducks Deluxe. The Clash were completing work on their second album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope, at the time; Fuller’s version had not been a hit single in the UK, that inspired The Clash to record a cover version of the song in 1978.

Their version first appeared on the EP The Cost of Living in May 1979 in the UK, and then later in 1979 was made part of the American edition of the Clash’s eponymous album. This cover version helped gain The Clash their first taste of airplay in the States and is one of the best-known cover versions of the song. The live recording of the song, performed at the Lyceum Theatre, West End, London on December 28, 1978, features as the last piece of the 1980 film Rude Boy directed by Jack Hazan and David Mingay. The Clash were dressed all in black for that gig and the song, at that stage, was considered the film’s title song.


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