Songs about tough guys or badasses

I’ll start with Bad Bad Leroy Brown

Don’t Mess Around with Jim


Big Bad John

Interesting to note, both Leroy and Jim get there asses kicked,and John dies(tho heroically).

Stagger Lee, Stag O Lee, in its many variations.

Also Two Time Slim, spoilered for language:


Marty Robbins, “Big Iron”

Perhaps “A Boy Named Sue”?

“Who Do You Love?” by Bo Diddley (although many people are more familiar with the George Thorogood cover).

That reminded me, George Thorogood also sang “Bad to the Bone”.

Alice in Chains - Rooster

I could make a list with dozens if not hundreds of entries, but I’ll try and limit myself to 10 or less; I added genre’s so people would kinda know what they were in for if they click the links.

Juicy Bananas - Bad Man - awesome weirdness from the Repo Man OST
Blood Island Raiders - I Am The King - stoner/doom metal from London, UK
Orange Goblin - Beginner’s Guide To Suicide - stoner/doom metal from London, UK
Orchid - He Who Walks Alone - stoner/doom metal from San Francisco, CA USA
Electric Wizard - Wizard In Black - stoner/doom metal from Dorset, UK
The Sword - The Chronomancer I: Hubris - doom metal from Austin, TX USA
The Sword - The Chronomancer II: Nemesis - doom metal from Austin, TX USA
Lair Of The Minotaur - Let’s Kill These Motherfuckers - doom metal from Chicago, IL USA
Black Angels - You On The Run - psychedelic rock from Austin, TX USA
Run-D.M.C. - King Of Rock - rap from Hollis (Queens), NY USA
The Didjits - Killboy Powerhead - punk rock from Sullivan, IL USA - many people are more familiar with The Offspring’s cover of this song
Stormtroopers Of Death - Sargent “D” and the S.O.D. - thrash metal from NYC, NY USA

and of course, my personal theme song: Ace Of Spades by Motörhead

Oh yes. All of music is filled with murder, swagger, and braggadocio. I’ll just add the first three that come to my mind:

John Henry is a steel drivin’ man. (Warning: modern interpretation that grabs me for some reason. Not classic.)

Tennessee Ernie Ford loads 16 Tons.

Dock Boggs kills Wild Bill Jones.

You rule. Amazing song, amazing record.

You also rule.

However, for John Henry I let the master and his guitar do all the talking.

And the award for “Most misleading summation or interpretation of another’s words in this thread” goes to azraiel! Congratulations, you win a


Oh, I do not disagree in the slightest. An American classic performed by so many American masters.

I just wanted to take the chance to introduce Snakefarm to some folks, as I really dig many of their interpretations (and I speak as someone who generally hates drum machines!)

Um, guy? I was agreeing with you. I could also make all kinds of lists of songs I love that fit the OP. I wasn’t trying to snark, or interpret, or even really say anything about your post other than, well, agreement.


ETA: If I came across as mocking or something, it wasn’t my intent. I didn’t say “all music,” I said “all of music.” As in, every genre has gorgeous examples of swagger, murder ballads, etc. All I was saying, or trying to say.

Since I seem to be observing Gender Balance Day in these suggest-a-song threads, let me point out that there are some great songs about female badasses too, including Jim Croce’s Roller Derby Queen and Al Dexter’s Pistol Packin Mama.

(I don’t count songs about women who weren’t badass at all until they happened to get angry at the narrator for cheating on them, or who are only called badass because the narrator’s angry at them for cheating on him.)

I apologize for misinterpreting your post.

And yeah, Snakefarm rocks. I’ve linked to them in several threads over the years, not least in part because they do the best interpretation of St. James Infirmary Blues yet conceived.

I’m going to nominate AC/DC’s Problem Child
[Cop this
I’m hot, and when I’m not
I’m cold as ice
Get out of my way
Just Step aside
Or pay the price

What I want I take
What I don’t I break
And I don’t want you
With a flick of my knife
I can change your life
There’s nothing you can do

I’m a problem child!](

His toughness is mostly implied, but: Quinn the Eskimo.

And let’s not forget the OG, Mack the Knife.