Songs about trials: part 1

Part 1 in a new series: Songs About Trials (leave your favourites in the comments please).  First up, Bob Dylan’s ‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll‘ from ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’.  Seems Dylan is in fact a rich source of trial songs.

‘William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll
With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger
At a Baltimore hotel society gath’rin’.
And the cops were called in and his weapon took from him
As they rode him in custody down to the station
And booked William Zanzinger for first-degree murder.
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Take the rag away from your face.
Now ain’t the time for your tears.

William Zanzinger, who at twenty-four years
Owns a tobacco farm of six hundred acres
With rich wealthy parents who provide and protect him
And high office relations in the politics of Maryland,
Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders
And swear words and sneering, and his tongue it was snarling,
In a matter of minutes on bail was out walking.
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Take the rag away from your face.
Now ain’t the time for your tears.

Hattie Carroll was a maid of the kitchen.
She was fifty-one years old and gave birth to ten children
Who carried the dishes and took out the garbage
And never sat once at the head of the table
And didn’t even talk to the people at the table
Who just cleaned up all the food from the table
And emptied the ashtrays on a whole other level,
Got killed by a blow, lay slain by a cane
That sailed through the air and came down through the room,
Doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle.
And she never done nothing to William Zanzinger.
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Take the rag away from your face.
Now ain’t the time for your tears.

In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all’s equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain’t pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught ’em
And that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom,
Stared at the person who killed for no reason
Who just happened to be feelin’ that way without warnin’.
And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished,
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance,
William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence.
Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now’s the time for your tears.’

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4 Replies to “Songs about trials: part 1”

  1. Stephen

    This song by Morrissey (ex The Smiths) has to be the all time classic by a disgruntled client:

    SORROW WILL COME IN THE END lyrics

    Legalized theft
    Leaves me bereft
    I get it straight in the neck
    (Somehow expecting no less)
    A court of justice
    With no use for Truth
    Lawyer …liar
    Lawyer …liar
    You pleaded and squealed
    And you think you’ve won
    But Sorrow will come
    To you in the end
    And as sure as my words are pure
    I praise the day that brings you pain
    Q.C.’s obsessed with sleaze
    Frantic for Fame
    They’re all on the game
    They just use a different name
    You lied
    And you were believed
    By a J.P. senile and vile
    You pleaded and squealed
    And you think you’ve won
    But Sorrow will come
    To you in the end
    And as sure as my words are pure
    I praise the day that brings you pain
    So don’t close your eyes
    Don’t close your eyes
    A man who slits throats
    Has time on his hands
    And I’m gonna get you
    So don’t close your eyes
    Don’t ever close your eyes
    You think you’ve won
    OH NO

    Morrissey SORROW WILL COME IN THE END lyrics

    And for completeness,this from his song “The more you ignore me,the closer I get”

    Beware !
    I bear more grudges
    Than lonely high court judges
    When you sleep
    I will creep
    Into your thoughts
    Like a bad debt
    That you can’t pay
    Take the easy way
    And give in

    I dont think he likes us.

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