Legal – Illegal (Ewan MacColl)

“Legal – Illegal” Sheet Music (pdf).
“Legal – Illegal” Karaoke (midi with lyrics).

Lyrics: Ewan MacColl.
Tune: Ewan MacColl.


It’s illegal to rip-off a payroll;
It’s illegal to rip-off a train.
But it’s legal to rip-off a million or two
That comes from the labor that other folk do;
To plunder the many on behalf of the few
Is a thing that is perfectly legal.

It’s illegal to kill off a landlord
Or to trespass upon his estate.
But to charge a high rent for a slum is okay;
To condemn two adults and three children to stay
In a hovel that’s rotten with damp and decay
Is a thing that is perfectly legal.

If your job turns you into a zombie,
It is legal to feel some despair.
But don’t be aggressive, that is, if you’re smart,
And for Christ’s sake, don’t upset the old apple cart.
Remember the bosses have your int’rests at heart,
And it grieves them to see you unhappy.

It’s illegal to carve up your missus
Or put poison in your old man’s tea.
But poison the rivers, the seas, and the skies,
And poison the minds of a nation with lies,
If it’s done in the int’rest of Free Enterprise,
Then it’s proper and perfectly legal.

It’s legal to join a trade union,
And to picket is one of your rights.
But don’t be offensive when scabs cross the line;
Be nice to the coppers, and keep this in mind:
To picket effectively, that is a crime
Worse than if you had murdered your mother!

It’s legal to sing on the telly,
But they make it bloody sure that you don’t
If you sing about racists, and fascists, and creeps,
And thieves in high places that live off the weak,
And those who are selling us right up the creek,
The twisters, the takers, the con-men, the fakers,
The whole bloody gang of exploiters!


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