10 Musical Preferences That Might Get You Arrested (Or Killed)


If you’re like us, you probably couldn’t quite stifle a rueful sigh at the news earlier this week that a woman in Colorado was arrested for assaulting her boyfriend after he refused to stop blasting Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” on the stereo. It seems there’ve been several such reports of late, and while there’s nothing funny about domestic assault, the whole thing did get us thinking about songs that have managed to get their fans into hot water. We decided to investigate further, and came up with this selection of music that has landed fans in trouble in various amusing, ridiculous, and/or depressing ways.

Macklemore — “Thrift Shop”

So, the “Thrift Shop” incident, wherein 23-year-old Samantha Malson of Longmont, Colorado, was arrested for attacking her boyfriend after he played the song 25 times in a row. It’d be trite to say that we admire Malson’s restraint for sitting through 25 airings of the song, but dude, come on. Who does that?

Alanis Morissette, generally

In a similar vein, we found ourselves shaking our heads in amazement at the story last December about the Florida couple whose argument over Alanis Morissette’s music devolved into a physical confrontation that ended with one Allen Casey breaking a dinner plate in his boyfriend’s face. “That’s all that motherfucker listens to,” Casey complained to the officer who arrested him, as headline writers around the country rubbed their hands with glee.

Queen — “Bohemian Rhapsody”

OK, so the song didn’t technically get this dude arrested, but just think — if he hadn’t been picked up for public intoxication, the Internet would never have had this video to giggle at.

Carl Douglas — “Kung Fu Fighting”

One Simon Ledger, 34, of the Isle of Wight, was arrested after his band played this song because a passing pedestrian — “reportedly of Chinese descent” — complained that the song was racist.

Madonna — “Gimme All Your Luvin”

This song landed a Spanish fan in jail after he was found to have leaked the track onto the Internet. Shit, if you’re going to get arrested for leaking a Madonna song, at least make sure it’s a good one!

AC/DC — “Highway to Hell”

Lesson learned: if you get arrested four times in 24 hours for blasting this song out of your car, you get yourself thrown in jail. So it goes.

Phil Collins

If you’re a well-paid English soccer star with a liking for Phil Collins, and you’re at a club and the DJ refuses to put Phil on the stereo, what do you do? If you answered “punch him in the face and duly get arrested,” congratulations: you have something in common with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who did exactly this at a club in 2008. More proof that nothing good has ever come of Phil Collins.

Insane Clown Posse, generally

Much hilarity ensued when reports emerged last year that the FBI was investigating Juggalo culture for potential gang activity, describing ICP fans in a 2011 report as “loosely-organized hybrid gang” and claiming that they were “forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity.” The band, understandably, were none too amused with this, especially after a 20-year-old fan was arrested for an outstanding warrant and charged as a gang member, leading to potentially harsher penalties — they threatened to sue the Bureau.

The Clash — “London Calling”

We’re just going to leave the first couple of sentences of this report here and ponder whether anti-terror hysteria might just have gone a little too far: “LONDON (Reuters) – Anti-terrorism detectives escorted a man from a plane after a taxi driver had earlier become suspicious when he started singing along to a track by punk band The Clash, police said… The taxi driver had become worried on the way to the airport because Mann had been singing along to The Clash’s 1979 anthem ‘London Calling,’ which features the lyrics ‘Now war is declared, and battle come down’ while other lines warn of a ‘meltdown expected.'”

Frank Sinatra — “My Way”

And finally, the grandaddy of them all. The New York Times ran a piece in 2010 about what have come to be called the “My Way Killings” in the Philippines — apparently “My Way” has been responsible for multiple murders in karaoke establishments, catalyzed by disagreements over the how the song was performed. As per the NYT: “Filipinos, who pride themselves on their singing, may have a lower tolerance for bad singers… most of the ‘My Way’ killings have reportedly occurred after the singer sang out of tune, causing other patrons to laugh or jeer.”