Stephen Arnold Music

The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America

Al Capone – Singer/Songwriter/Gangster

“He never sang to the feds, but it turns out Al Capone had a song in his heart. All it took was a stint in Alcatraz to bring it out,” begins the KFWB article on the ruthless crime boss. “The gangster who supposedly orchestrated the 1929 Valentine’s Day Massacre,” composed a love song, “Madonna Mia,” perhaps for the Virgin Mary or his faifthul wife, while expiating his sins at the Rock.

They say idleness breeds creativity… well Al Capone, apparently quite the gentlemen under the auspices of the justice system, managed to convince the pigs guarding his cell to let him bring instruments into the prison, including a banjo and a mandola. Then he and several other men behind bars formed a band to strum away the years. In light of that, Alcatraz doesn’t sound too bad. Do you think Capone,  sitting in the tombs of the Rock and plucking the banjo with his buddies, ever thought, “Man, I’ve got it made”?

I doubt it.. though he wrote the sheet music for the first (and only) song on his debut album,  the article goes on to say that Capone was stabbed in the back – literally not metaphorically – by a cell mate, whom he then bludgeoned with his banjo. Talk about a sonic brand…

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