Although they are not mentioned by name on this track, which is rather short lyrically, "Profession Of Violence" is about the Kray Twins, who were notorious East End Gangsters in the 1960s. In October 1967, the professional criminal Jack "The Hat" McVitie attended a party in the East End of London where they murdered him; his body was never found. McVitie was the uncle of Vince Riordan, bass player with Cockney Rejects. When the bands met up at the Hammersmith Odeon, Riordan told his tale to UFO.
Reginald and Ronald Kray were born at Hoxton, London in 1933. After an apparently trouble free childhood they embarked on a criminal career which included robbery and protection rackets, the latter being something that is all but unheard in the new millennium. They invested the proceeds of their crimes in legitimate businesses, including a night club in the West End of London, which earned them a certain celebrity. Reggie, the older of the two, had a flair for business, and had he been so inclined he could probably have put his criminal past behind him, but it was not to be. The Krays crossed the line with the murder of George Cornell, a member of the rival Richardson gang. In March 1966, Ronnie shot Cornell in a public house in front of numerous witnesses, although none would testify against him.
Eventually, New Scotland Yard decided enough was enough, and the Krays and their "firm" were arrested and brought to trial. The brothers were convicted of the murder of Jack McVitie, and Ronnie and another accomplice were convicted of the Cornell murder. They were jailed for life; Ronnie was later transferred to Broadmoor, an institution for the criminally insane; he died in 1995. His brother was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, and died shortly after.
"Profession Of Violence" was co-written by vocalist Phil Mogg and then lead guitarist Paul Chapman; it runs to 4 minutes 22 seconds. In the US it was released as "Profession Of."
Very few heavy metal bands have ever used string arrangements, but UFO have on occasion, and the string backing to the guitar solo on this slow, thoughtful track is a master stroke.
The Profession Of Violence, subtitled The Rise And Fall Of The Kray Twins, is the title of a well researched biography which was first published in 1972.
Suggestion credit: Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above