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THE Story in THE Song 10cc Good Morning Judge

A convict who can’t wait to get back behind bars faces a judge who thinks he’s innocent.


Writer – Graham Gouldman. Album – Deceptive Bends Running time Two minutes and fifty-five seconds. Deceptive, Bends

A strong satire on the absurdity of the criminal justice system that offers too much leniency to the habitual criminal.

A repeat offender finds himself in the same courthouse and before the same judge so often he greets him on a casual basis, and seems happily hopeful of gaining a long custodial sentence. His first crime in the song (though he seems to have been arrested before) seems to be using prostitutes. He talks of a tangle with a pretty thing, and claims he couldn’t stop her. This implies use of ladies of the night.

The judge, or possibly a defence lawyer, denies that he was involved in the offence, and insists on his innocence despite his confession. He seems to get a light sentence or freedom.

Soon afterwards he is arrested again and back before the same judge on car theft charges and again, seems to be begging for prison, but again the judicial system is arguing for leniency and release.

Despite being a British band, 10CC aimed the song at an American market with the criminal concerned wishing he was in San Quentin or Alcatraz (a prison closed down long before the song was recorded). The crook and Judge are seen as being out of touch with one another and reality. The judge keeps releasing the criminal(s). The crook actually finds prison life romantic and ideal.

A fun record that seems unsure quite what its message is, and in displacing the crime from its British roots to an outmoded view of the US penitentiary system, (with Alcatraz prison now reduced to a museum relic), the writer seems unsure quite where this song is going too.

Despite its flaws I still love Good Morning Judge.

The lyrics –

Arthur Chappell

10CC, song, lyrics, Alcatraz, San Quentin, Gouldman, judge, prison, court, penitentiary, Arthur, Chappell,

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