I Fought The Law

And the law won…

Every Monday, The Nest is counting down its greatest hits you won’t ever hear on DJ Scratchy’s Dusty Vinyl Archive.  We call it The Top 30 Songs We Just Feel Like Playing, and after today we’ll be a third of the way through this countdown full of amazing music that will leave you wondering if I’m actually tone deaf.  It’s time for a little classic metal, and we’re gonna play it like we stole it…

#21. “Breaking The Law” – Judas Priest

The band Judas Priest was formed in the UK in 1969, toiling away in relative anonymity for much of the 1970’s… not realizing they were on the verge of defining the sound and fashion of an entire genre of music.  While “heavy metal” had been around since the wild days of Steppenwolf, Rob Halford and his gang of leather studded noisemakers became the epitome of metal in 1980 when they broke out with the album British Steel.  That album contained two of their best songs, “Living After Midnight” and this one, which has become the signature song of Judas Priest…

The excellent guitar riff and Halford’s wide ranging voice are only a couple of the things that got “Breaking the Law” into the countdown.  Another is that video… which is pretty robust despite being filmed in the days before MTV turned music videos into an art form.  Halford and his bunch storm into a bank armed with only guitars and scare the staff and customers half to death.  I’d probably be intimidated too if I got ambushed by an angry gay guy and his gang of leather men…

Keep those heads down or I’ll lash you with my spiked feather boa!!!

One of the things I look for when I watch music videos is how well timed the action is with the music.  It’s always a treat to see someone in the production room was actually trying to tie the beat with the video… even if that action was filmed outside of the context of the video.  I bring that up, because “Breaking the Law” contains maybe my favorite moment of perfect synchronicity between man and music in a video.

Huh? Tut tut, I say, what is this rubbish?

Bank teller Ian Fitzgerald doesn’t appear to be the kind who would bang his head to a heavy metal song.  But as the Judas gang first enters the bank just before the first chorus, Old Man Ian is shown reacting in shock and disgust… and his motions, including dropping the important paperwork he was perusing, are in absolute lockstep with the drum break.  I seriously fucking watch for this every single time I see this video.  Jolly good show, ol’ chap…

You don’t know what it’s like!!!!

You’ve got another thing coming next Monday, and that’s song #20….


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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20 Responses to I Fought The Law

  1. the best car driving song ever… specially now while our gas stations are deserts LOL

  2. This is awesome AF. What a great way to start off the week.

  3. HA! My favorite thing is the bank guard rockin’ out.


  4. A definite head banger of a tune!

  5. Thom says:

    My band covered both this and “Midnight”. I was no Halford, but nevertheless, I persisted.

  6. draliman says:

    How sweet that their break-in inspired the security guard to rekindle his childhood love of playing a cardboard cutout guitar.
    In a world first, I whole-heartedly approve of both the video and song, which will probably make you rethink this week’s choice…

  7. One of the things I DON’T like about music videos is that they are more often than not, just a bunch of pictures with little that associates it with the music. Sometimes the problem is the music has no context with which to work, but mostly, it’s lazy editing. I remember sitting behind Garry at channel 7 while he edited. He knew exactly which pieces of tape went where. His scripts told the engineer (if he wasn’t personally doing the editing) where to drop down under, bring up the music, fade or whatever. It seems to me most music videos are done by amateurs with a cell phone.

  8. Back when breaking the law meant robbing a bank, now it just means someone hacked your online accounts. Where’s the song lyrics in that? lol

  9. Evil,
    Is it wrong of me to think of Beavis & Butthead rocking out everytime I hear this song? I would do my Butthead impression, but it doesn’t translate via blog text. Ha! Mona

  10. crimsonowl63 says:

    I LOVE this song and the entire album! I haven’t ever seen any video of it, but I will check this one out.
    I didn’t hear this one on the radio I don’t remember. “United” and “Living After Midnight” yes.
    I went to see them in 1980 or ’81 with the 19-year-old Def Leppard opening, the Scorpions, and Judas Priest top bill. 90% males with chain wallets, biker types and their women. Then there were two 17-year-old girls, my friend and me and my friend’s mother who turned us on to JP a couple years before. Good times.

    GREAT SONG. I still sing it when I see someone doing so on tv.

  11. Trisha says:

    I always giggle a little when I hear this song but I had forgotten how funny the video is. And from now on I will probably laugh even more when imagining your idea for modernizing it. “Hackin’ the card! Hackin’ the card!” LOL!

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