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Songs about Jail or Prison

Why is this such a popular music subject? Have that many musicians cooled their heels in the clink? Moreover, are there that many listeners in the audience who are going to identify with the song? "Hey, put 'Folsom Prison Blues' on, I want to fondly reminisce about the good old days when I was serving twenty in the state pen!"

Anyway, being locked up makes a great topic for blues music, which is what most of these songs are. You won't find any jail songs in the Hot Dance Singles charts. Nope, these are hard times songs, with lots of wailing harmonica and hang-dog regret for the decisions in life that led one to this position. Except for the occasional gangsta rap song, where jail time is just dismissed as an occupational hazard.

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