In this song, a man is serving his sentence in federal prison for armed robbery. At 4:00 AM on July 2, 1953, he wakes up to a rather alarming disturbance: a jail riot! It started in cell block #4 and continued through the prison hall from cell to cell. The jailhouse warden, armed with a gun, threatens to electrocute all the prisoners if the riot doesn't stop soon, but one of them, Scarface Jones, retaliates by carrying dynamite. Forty-seven hours later, 3:00 AM on July 4, 1953, the prison security let loose tear gas on the inmates and they return to their cells.
It was also translated and performed in French by Michel Pagliaro as "Emeute dans la prison" (riot in the prison). In his version it was July 13, 1968 at 4:00 am and originated in cell block #3. It was later covered by Eric Lapointe.