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The Meaning Behind The Song: I Fought the Law by Stray Cats


The Meaning Behind The Song: I Fought the Law by Stray Cats

The iconic song “I Fought the Law” by Stray Cats has captivated audiences since its release in 1979. With its catchy rhythm and powerful lyrics, this track continues to resonate with music lovers of all generations. But what is the true meaning behind this timeless classic?

First and foremost, “I Fought the Law” explores the theme of rebellion against authority. The narrative of the song revolves around a protagonist who finds himself caught up in a life of crime and subsequently faces the consequences. The lyrics depict a desire for freedom and defiance against societal norms, reflecting the spirit of rebellion that resonated with many during the turbulent 70s.

Moreover, the song can be interpreted as a commentary on the clash between individuality and conformity. The repeated line “I fought the law and the law won” conveys a sense of resignation, illustrating the futility of resisting the established system. This resonated strongly during a time of counterculture movements and social unrest, and the song became an anthem for those questioning authority and seeking a sense of independence.

Frequently Asked Questions about “I Fought the Law”

1. Who originally wrote and performed “I Fought the Law?”

“I Fought the Law” was originally written and performed by the American rock and roll band The Crickets in 1959. However, it was the cover version by Stray Cats in 1979 that gained significant popularity and became the definitive rendition.

2. What inspired Stray Cats to cover this song?

Stray Cats was greatly influenced by the rock and roll and punk rock movements of the 1970s. They saw “I Fought the Law” as a perfect fit for their energetic style, and their cover breathed new life into the track, introducing it to a whole new audience.

3. What is the significance of “I Fought the Law” in popular culture?

The song has permeated popular culture, being featured in various films, television shows, and commercials over the years. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its impact and connection with audiences across different generations.

4. Which other artists have covered “I Fought the Law”?

Apart from Stray Cats, numerous artists have covered the song, including The Clash, Dead Kennedys, Green Day, and Bobby Fuller Four. Each interpretation brings a unique flavor to the song while staying true to its rebellious spirit.

5. Are there any hidden meanings in the lyrics of “I Fought the Law”?

The lyrics of “I Fought the Law” are relatively straightforward, highlighting the protagonist’s rebellion against the law. However, like any art form, there might be room for individual interpretation based on personal experiences and perspectives.

6. How did the song impact Stray Cats’ career?

“I Fought the Law” played a significant role in propelling Stray Cats to international fame. The song’s success helped solidify their reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the rockabilly revival movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

7. Is “I Fought the Law” a political song?

While “I Fought the Law” carries rebellious undertones, it is not explicitly a political song. Its focus lies more on personal defiance and the consequences of one’s actions, rather than making a broader political statement.

8. What is the legacy of “I Fought the Law”?

The legacy of “I Fought the Law” extends far beyond its initial release. As an anthem for rebellion, the song continues to resonate with individuals who feel the need to challenge authority and societal norms.

9. Did Stray Cats write any other songs with a similar theme?

As a band known for their energetic rockabilly sound, Stray Cats explored themes of rebellion and individuality in several of their songs. Tracks like “Rock This Town” and “Stray Cat Strut” also embody their rebellious spirit, making them synonymous with the band’s style.

10. How does “I Fought the Law” connect with audiences today?

The timeless nature of “I Fought the Law” stems from its universal themes and relatability. Even decades after its release, the song continues to resonate with those who question authority, fight for their individuality, and strive for a sense of freedom.

With its vibrant energy and rebellious spirit, “I Fought the Law” remains a testament to the enduring power of music to evoke emotions, challenge norms, and connect people across generations.


“I Fought the Law” remains a pivotal song in rock and roll history, its meaning and spirit transcending time and resonating with generations of music lovers. Stray Cats’ cover of this classic laid the foundation for their success and solidified their status as rockabilly icons. Through its rebellious narrative and infectious rhythm, this song continues to captivate audiences worldwide. So, next time you listen to “I Fought the Law,” allow yourself to be transported to an era of rebellion and celebrate the enduring power of music.

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About Warren Barrett

Warren has spent nearly half a century (now that's a long time!) as an ink-stained wretch writing for music magazines and websites and has no plans on giving up soon.

He is curious about all types of music and instruments apart from any genre with 'Urban' in the title. He's also not so keen on Plastic Potted Plants, Reality TV, and any movies with Kevin Costner in them.

He lives in Delaware with his wife Wendy and lots of great memories...

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