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Monday, May 23, 2022

Songs about Lawyers #1: "Alas for You."

     My hometown of Berea, Ohio isn't known for much. There is sandstone: large quarries that left picturesque lakes, in my youth, that eventually filled up into silty, not-quite-so picturesque bogs. There is a university, Baldwin-Wallace, with a modest reputation for its music program.
     And "Godspell," written by John-Michael Tebelak, who graduated from Berea High School in 1966, a dozen years before I did.
     That put the joyous musical on my radar more than would be typical for a 1970s suburban Jewish kid. The show didn't have the dark, dramatic swoop of "Jesus Christ Superstar," which came one year later, but still managed to upset some Christians, who didn't like to see their faith rendered into show tunes.
     And "Godspell" is fun, bouncy, with the campy, Rudy Vallee-esque "All for the Best," and an actual minor hit, "Day by Day," covered by the Fifth Dimension, Judy Collins and Cher.
     Not music I choose to revisit much, to be honest. Lately though, I've been listening to the show's "Alas for You," simply for the dig at lawyers (You can also watch the video version from the movie, but it's cringingly awful). The song begins:
Alas alas for you
Lawyers and pharisees
Hypocrites that you are
Sure that the kingdom of heaven awaits you
You will not venture half so far.
Other men who might enter the gates
You keep from passing through.
Drag them down with you.
     Why do I like this? I'm not sure. The law is interesting and important. I respect the legal profession, in the main, being the husband of one lawyer and the father of two more. Not to forget my many friends who are lawyers or judges. So I'm not slagging them personally. There's just something funny about tweaking lawyers, even in their absence. Even if they don't perceive the tweak and wouldn't care if they did. A sort of private joke, I suppose.
     Anyway, this week my oldest boy is having the graduation ceremony from New York University Law School that got scrubbed last year, due to COVID. Not coincidentally, I'm taking this week off, so as not to be left with a big mass of vacation at year's end, to do some gardening around the house, and attend to other duties. So in honor of his belated commencement, and so as to not leave you with nothing, I've come up with the next best thing: A week of posts on songs about lawyers. Enjoy. Or don't. Up to you. Either way, see you next Monday.



  1. I thought of a couple right away...and they're oldies but goodies: "Lawyers, Guns, and Money" was the first one I came up with, followed by: "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia." Then I thought of "I Shot the Sheriff" and "I Fought the Law"--technically, those two are about law enforcement, not really about lawyers...but what the hell...

    1. "Lawyers, Guns and Money" is on-deck for Wednesday.

    2. I thought about "I Shot the Sheriff" but that's more about crime than law. "I Fought the Law" might work for Friday.

  2. My first thought was of Lawyers In Love, mainly because my husband hates it with a passion.


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