Police and Thieves

Junior Murvin

About Police and Thieves

"Police and Thieves" (a.k.a. "Police and Thief") is a reggae song first recorded by the falsetto singer Junior Murvin in 1976. It was covered by the punk band The Clash and included on their self-titled debut album released in 1977.


Year:
1999
4:00
48 
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Police and thieves in the streets (oh yeah)
Fighting the nation with their guns and ammunition
Police and thieves in the street (oh yeah)
Scaring the nation with their guns and ammunition

From genesis to revelation, yeah
The next generation will be hear me
All the crimes committed day by day
No one try to stop it in any way
All the peacemakers turn war officers
Hear what I say, hey

Police and thieves in the street (oh yeah)
Fighting the nation with their guns and ammunition
Police and thieves in the street (oh yeah)
Scaring the nation with their guns and ammunition

All the crimes committed day by day
No one try to stop it in any way
All the peacemakers turn war officers
Hear what I say, hey

Police and thieves in the street (oh yeah)
Fighting the nation with their guns and ammunition
Police and thieves in the street (oh yeah)
Scaring the nation with their guns and ammunition

Police and thieves
Police, police and thieves
Police and thieves
Police, police and thieves

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Junior Murvin

Junior Murvin (born Murvin Junior Smith, circa 1949, Port Antonio, Jamaica) is a Jamaican reggae musician. He is best known for the single "Police and Thieves", produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry in 1976. Murvin's soaring voice and the infectious rhythm made "Police and Thieves" into an international hit during the summer of that year. It peaked at #23 in the UK Singles Chart in 1980. The song was influential and it was recorded by the punk rock pioneers The Clash on their debut album, released in 1977. Australian musician Paul Kelly makes a reference to Murvin in his Christmas song, "How To Make Gravy". more »

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Written by: Junior Murvin, Lee Perry

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind


11 facts about this song

Song Origin
"Police and Thieves" is originally a Reggae song written by Junior Murvin and Lee "Scratch" Perry. It was first recorded by Junior Murvin in 1976.
Popular Cover
English punk rock band, The Clash, made the song popular in western countries when they covered it in their self-titled debut album released in 1977.
Inspiration Behind the Song
Junior Murvin was inspired to write "Police and Thieves" after witnessing clashes between youths and police in his hometown in Jamaica.
Song's Reception
Despite being a reggae song, the original version by Junior Murvin received substantial airplay in the UK and reached number 23 in the UK Singles Chart.
Early Live Performances
The Clash started performing the song at live shows even before it appeared on their debut album.
The Clash's Interpretation
The Clash's version of "Police and Thieves" is faster and more aggressive compared to Junior Murvin's original, keeping in line with their punk sound.
Role in Album
The Clash included "Police and Thieves" in their debut album as it shared similar anti-establishment themes with their other songs.
Accolades
"Police and Thieves" remains an enduring reggae classic, ranked at number 320 by Rolling Stone in their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Misunderstanding
Junior Murvin initially didn't comprehend the lyrics when he first heard The Clash's version, due to their thick British accents and faster pace. He later appreciated their cover but mentioned that they should have paid him for making his song more popular.
Influence
The Clash's cover of "Police and Thieves" helped to introduce a generation of punk rock fans to reggae music. The band continued to incorporate reggae influences in their subsequent works owing to the success of this song.
In Popular Media
"Police and Thieves" was featured in the 1999 film, "The Royal Tenenbaums", and the 2012 video game, "Sleeping Dogs".

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