view from barn in Dorset, VT

Theme Songs

Table of Contents

I have noted before that, these days, everything needs sponsorship. What I neglected to mention, however, is that everything needs a theme song too. Despite that omission, I have been ruminating on the matter for the past few days. 

Some choices are obvious. The one for products liability law, for example, is pretty straightforward. It has to be Safety Dance by Men Without Hats, though I’ve never understood that weird gesture everyone makes with their hands when they do the dance. Maybe it’s supposed to conjure up some special sort of genie who keeps everyone safe. If so, I’ve spotted a flaw. How do you do that and drive or operate machinery at the same time? 

What’s in a Name?

For adoption law, it’s got to be The Ting TingsThat’s Not My Name. While the law of assisted reproduction boasts the song with the best-ever accompanying video (with animations by Aardman of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run fame): Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer

For warranty law, I suggest Torn. The original by Natalie Imbruglia is great, of course, but I actually prefer the cover by Neck Deep. Amber says she’s going to get her band to play this version. If they perform at Caddy’s, no doubt Deda will paint a mahi-mahi too. She loves painting mahi; she says they’re popular. Well, so are burgers, Deda, and I don’t see you painting them. 

Being Petty

Of course, some choices are a bit too obvious. There’s a liquor store near Stetson, whose owners know I’m a law professor. Whenever I’m in there, they remind me that I fought the law, and the law won. So let’s be a bit less obvious and choose the version by The Clash

Surely Commercial Transactions should have Handle With Care by the Traveling Wilburys. Though, in times of inflation, maybe Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ would be better, albeit not sung by the chap I heard murdering it at Caddy’s a couple of months ago. Strudel can howl in tune better than that. Honestly, I didn’t pay, and I still want my money back. 


Choosing other theme songs is trickier. Harassment law, for example, has an uncomfortably large pool of candidates. Probably the most famous is The Police’s Every Breath You Take. But, if you really want to be weirded out, it has to be #1 Crush by Garbage. Try playing that loud and then going to sleep. 

Divorce law has plenty of options too. I nominate Thorn In My Side. Not only is it by the Eurythmics, it also has the amazing Clem Burke on drums. If you haven’t seen him (as a member of Blondie) perform Dreaming live, then you’ve missed an incredible performance. (Incredible, too, is the performance by Peter Powell at the beginning and end of that video; but not in the same sense.) 


As for my own theme song, it’s probably a choice between a couple of Chumbawamba numbers. Some people might say I’m in Trouble Again is most appropriate, but they’re just mean. I think Outsider (played very loud, of course) fits the bill better. 

The theme song for my travels could, perhaps, have been Roam by the B52s. But I think a better choice for this particular trip is Billy Bragg’s A New England (sung by the late, great Kirsty MacColl). 

Lyrics and Rice

I think the law of torts deserves Call Me Al by Paul Simon. (For those who don’t get the reference, the relevant lyric is: All along, along, there were incidents and accidents; there were hints and allegations.

And, talking of lyrics, maybe privacy law is best represented by Talking Heads’ Wild, Wild Life. After all, David Byrne announces at the beginning that he’s wearing fur pajamas, and I’m not sure how much more private you can expect anyone to get. Though I do tend to get distracted by thoughts of curry whenever I hear that song. It’s all that wild, wild rice: surely a missed sponsorship opportunity there.