“Rhymin’ and Stealin'” with the Beastie Boys. Mixing 1001 Arabian Nights, Betty Crocker and a few dozen pirate cliches. The crime-themed songs they’ve done might merit a show of its own. The piratical and nautical allusions in that song come from folklore and fiction. Pirate folklore has a long history.
“The Coast of High Barbary” by Joseph Arthur. There is evidence that the roots of that song go back to the 1500s. It became popular in America around the beginning of the 19th century when Barbary pirates were a real threat to US commerce.
“Barrett’s Privateers,” a Stan Rogers song performed by The Real McKenzies. Privateers were pirates who operating with government sanction to rob merchant ships of enemy nations. Legal criminals, you might say.
The Pogues, with “Wake of the Medusa.” A song of a shipwreck rather than pirates, it’s based on a painting of an actual incident. The painting was met with both praise and revulsion which fits in with many people’s attitudes towards true crime tales. Until next time, Crime Time Radio.