March 12

A Great Story Teller, Ricky Van Shelton Sings “Crime of Passion”

“Crime of Passion” is a song written by Walt Aldridge and Mac McAnally. American country music singer Ricky Van Shelton recorded the said track. Released in April 1987, it was the second single from his debut album Wild-Eyed Dream. The song was on the Hot Country Singles charts for 19 weeks and it reached the number 7th spot. In 1988, Columbia Nashville launched its B-side “Don’t We All Have the Right” as the album’s 5thsingle.

Story of the Song

“Crime of Passion” main plot talks about a drifter who conspires with a young woman to rob a gas station. This serves as a metaphor for a man who falls hard for a woman with sinister hidden motives. In this case, it tells a story about a failed love affair with a seductress, who leaves her target to the wolves after he serves her purposes.

In the song’s first verse, a beautiful young woman driving a Cadillac Eldorado convertible picks up the drifter along a desert highway. After the two begin talking, the man explains his situation of being unemployed and broke. The woman suggests finding a place to rob. As they have planned, the man enters the gas station. Sticking with the plan, they end up netting a large cache of cash.

As the two are counting the cash and celebrating their success, the convertible is pulled over by an unmarked police car. The woman professes her innocence and immediately points at the man as the armed robbery suspect. Towards the end of the song, we discover that the woman’s soon-to-be ex-husband is the gas station owner. As a favor to her, the gas station owner refuses to implicate her, leaving the drifter to take the fall alone.

Throughout the song, its lyrics contain vivid descriptions of the objects and characters found in the track. These include the names of key people in the song: gas station owner Jim, whose name is sewn on his shirt. Second is Joe, the police officer whose name is written on his badge. The third is the Eldorado convertible with “tuck and roll pleat” vinyl upholstery. Lastly, we have the Chevy Nova police car that has no mark.


crime of passion, Ricky Van Shelton

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