A half dozen prison songs for Charlie Sheen's "Aspen vacation"
Useless trivia: Some of What Jail is Like was recorded Live at the Mercury Cafe.
01. The Afghan Whigs, "What Jail is Like" The Afghan Whigs' frontman Greg Dulli isn't singing about prison in the literal sense in the smoldering, emotionally fraught "What Jail is Like." But his lurid tale of drugs, violent passion, and the dickish admission that "I'm scared of girls/Well, maybe/But I'm not afraid of you" might hit Sheen uncomfortably close to home. (We'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he has a conscience.)
2. The Fat Boys, "Jailhouse Rap" There have been a gazillion songs about prison made by a bazillion incarcerated rappers, but frankly, Sheen isn't hardcore enough to deserve them. The Fat Boys' "Jailhouse Rap" is way more his speed. Even better, the goofy track--the story of a gluttonous dude who gets sent up the river for breaking into a pizza shop (this is The Fat Boys, after all)--is a total relic of the '80s, kind of like Sheen himself.
3. & 4. AC/DC "Jailbreak"/Thin Lizzy, "Jailbreak"Do we expect Sheen to bust out of his Aspen jail cell, Prison Break-style, and become a hunted fugitive? Right. He wouldn't make it past Carbondale. He might need to fantasize, though, about making such a ballsy move just to stay sane behind bars -- and what better way to do so than with two of classic rock's greatest, toughest, busting-out anthems?
5. Toots & The Maytals, "54-46 Was My Number" Reggae legend Toots Hibbert may sound breezy and upbeat on his 1969 hit "54-46 Was My Number," but there's an unmistakably melancholy undertone to the song. It is, after all, about the dehumanizing inmate number he was given while serving a yearlong sentence in his native Jamaica for marijuana possession. Still, no matter how you add it up, 54-46 is a more dignified number than 2½.
6. Johnny Cash, "Starkville City Jail" No prison playlist would be complete without Johnny Cash. But while his odes to state pens like Folsom and San Quentin are better known, it's "Starkville City Jail" that might resonate with Sheen a bit more. A moment of levity on the otherwise emotionally heavy live album, At San Quentin, "Starkville" is Cash's account of being locked up in a small-town Mississippi jail for violating curfew by picking flowers after dark. Granted, Sheen's crime is far more serious than that. But Sheen himself? Not so much. And although he wasn't picking flowers in Starkville, he'll likely be picking up trash in Aspen pretty soon.
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