Musical Monday: Cover songs #8

I’ve started 2023 with a series of my favourite cover songs. It’s quite amazing how many artists cover one another’s songs. Sometimes they’re not artists you might expect, sometimes they are………

Well, I’m a-runnin’
Police on my back
I’ve been hidin’
Police on my back
There was a shootin’
Police on my back
And the victim
Well, he won’t come back

Funny how some songs simply do not grow old.

Police On My Back was penned by Eddy Grant and performed by his group, The Equals, and it tackled racial discrimination in the UK at the dawn of the 70s.

Fast forward almost 10 years and The Clash re-discovered the song, popularising it as a punk anthem at a time of political and social repression, the dawn of the Thatcher era.

Fast forward to 2018 there’s plenty to rebel against, with American group Culture Abuse using Police On My Back as a means of mobilising fans in a positive way. Raucous, wild, and totally exhilarating, this new version is a righteous call to arms. In the  years since the Equals’ version of the song, the meaning of the lyrics has changed from being an expression of Jamaican rude boy culture to being a song that expresses the oppression of migrants from British and European colonies living in the metropoles of the colonisers.

The original features a slower, Jamaican-style cadence, in contrast to the urgent, hard-driving Clash version. Critics considered it among the most Clash-like song on the album Sandinista!

Which version do you prefer? Let me know below.

2 Comments on “Musical Monday: Cover songs #8

  1. I prefer the Clash version. The Equals were such a great group but this is rather insipid compared to their other songs 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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