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Artist Song Album Label Comments
The Clash Police On My Back Sandinista! CBS 1980; The Equals cover; written by Eddy Grant; originally performed by the Equals
The Clash Spanish Bombs London Calling CBS 1979; 3rd album
The Clash This Is Radio Clash The Story of the Clash, Volume 1
The Clash Somebody Got Murdered Sandinista!
The Clash London Calling London Calling CBS 1979; 3rd album; apocalyptic, politically charged rant features the band's famous combination of reggae basslines and punk electric guitar and vocals; The title alludes to the BBC World Service's station identification: "This is London calling ...", which was used during World War II, often in broadcasts to occupied countries. The lyrics reflect the concern felt by Strummer about world events with the reference to "a nuclear error" to the incident at Three Mile Island, which occurred earlier in 1979. Joe Strummer has said: "We felt that we were struggling about to slip down a slope or something, grasping with our fingernails. And there was no one there to help us." The line "London is drowning / And I live by the river" comes from concerns that if the River Thames flooded, most of central London would drown, something that led to the construction of the Thames Barrier. Strummer's concern for police brutality is evident through the lines "We ain't got no swing / Except for the ring of that truncheon thing" as the Metropolitan Police at the time had a truncheon as standard issued equipment. Social criticism also features through references to the effects of casual drug taking: "We ain't got no high / Except for that one with the yellowy eyes". The lyrics also reflect desperation of the band's situation in 1979 struggling with high debt, without management and arguing with their record label over whether the London Calling album should be a single- or double-album. The lines referring to "Now don't look to us | Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust" reflects the concerns of the band over its situation after the punk rock boom in England had ended in 1977. The Clash "London Calling" (1979) MENU0:00 30-second sample—with applied 3-second fadein and 3-second fadeout—of "London Calling" taken from London Calling. "London Calling" was recorded at Wessex Studios located in a former church hall in Highbury in North London. This studio had already proved to be a popular location with The Sex Pistols, The Pretenders and the Tom Robinson band. The single was produced by Guy Stevens and engineered by Bill Price.
The Clash The Magnificent Seven Sandinista! CBS 1980; 4th studio album, a triple album with 36 tracks. third single from their fourth album Sandinista!. It reached number 34 on the UK Singles Chart. The song was inspired by raps by old school hip hop acts from New York City, like the Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. Rap was still a new and emerging music genre at the time and the band, especially Mick Jones, was very impressed with it, so much so that Jones took to carrying a boombox around and got the nickname "Whack Attack". The song was recorded in April 1980 at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, built around a funky bass loop played by Norman Watt-Roy, the Blockheads. Joe Strummer wrote the words on the spot, a technique that was also used to create Sandinista!'s other rap track, "Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice)". "The Magnificent Seven" represents the first attempt by a rock band to write and perform original rap music, and one of the earliest examples of hip hop records with political and social content. It is the first major white rap record, predating the recording of Blondie's "Rapture" by six months. Strummer said of the group's encounter with hip-hop: When we came to the U.S., Mick stumbled upon a music shop in Brooklyn that carried the music of Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, the Sugar Hill Gang...these groups were radically changing music and they changed everything for us. Though it failed to chart in America, the song was an underground hit and received heavy play on underground and college radio. Also popular were various dance re-mixes, both official B-side, ("The Magnificent Dance"), and original DJ remixes such as WBLS's remix known as "Dirty Harry", after the film of same name, which can be found on various Clash's bootlegs, including Clash on Broadway Disc 4: The Outtakes.
The Clash Clash City Rockers Clash City Rockers/ Jail Guitar Doors CBS 1978 single; references The Bells of Rhymney, the song based on the poem by Welsh poet Idris Davies about the Welsh coal mining strikes.
The Clash White Riot The Clash CBS 1977; 1st single on 1st album; The song is short and intense, in the typical punk style of three chords played very fast. Mick Jones counts off "1-2-3-4" at the start of the album version while the single version begins with the sound of a police siren instead. Lyrically, the song is about class economics and race and thus proved controversial: some people thought it was advocating a kind of race war.[1] Rather, lyricist Joe Strummer was trying to appeal to white youths to find a worthy cause to riot, as he felt black people in the UK already had. It contains a positive message in the lines "Are you taking over / Or are you taking orders? / Are you going backwards / Or are you going forwards?" The song was written after Joe Strummer and bassist Paul Simonon were involved in the riots at the Notting Hill Carnival of 1976
The Clash Tommy Gun Give 'Em Enough Rope 1978; 2nd studio album
The Clash Safe European Home Give 'Em Enough Rope 1978; 2nd studio album
The Clash Armagideon Time London Calling
The Clash I Fought the Law Story of the Clash, Volume 1 written by Sonny Curtis of the Crickets and popularized by a remake by the Bobby Fuller Four, which went on to become a top-ten hit for the band in 1966 and was also recorded by the Clash in 1979.
The Clash Janie Jones The Clash CBS 1977; Janie Jones, was a famous madam in London during the 1970s and had been a pop singer during the 1960s.
The Clash Clampdown London Calling CBS 1979; 3rd album; lyrics comment on people who forsake the idealism of youth and urges young people to fight the status quo.
The Clash Stay Free [edit] Give 'Em Enough Rope CBS 1978; 2nd studio album
The Clash Train in Vain London Calling CBS 1979; 3rd album; originally appeared as a hidden track at the end of the album because the track was added to the record at the last minute, when the sleeve was already in production. the meaning of the song's title is obscure as the title phrase cannot be found in the lyrics. Mick Jones, who wrote most of the song, offered this explanation: "The track was like a train rhythm, and there was, once again, that feeling of being lost." The song is a love song with an almost country-and-western lyric that echoes Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man"
The Clash Rudie Can't Fail London Calling CBS praises the rude boys of Jamaica in the 1960s who challenged their elders' status quo. The song is about a fun-loving young man who is criticized by his elders for not acting as a responsible adult, drinking beer before breakfast, and describe him as being "so crude and feckless", to which he responds "I know that my life make you nervous, but I tell you I can't live in service." The song's title derives from Desmond Dekker's 1967 song "007 (Shanty Town)", and is in homage to Ray Gange, who had portrayed a roadie who quits his job to follow The Clash around in the 1980 film Rude Boy.
The Clash Lost in the Supermarket London Calling CBS The song's lyrics describe someone struggling to deal with an increasingly commercialised world and rampant consumerism. The song opens with Strummer's autobiographical memories of his parents' home in suburban Warlingham, with a hedge "over which I never could see." With lines such as "I came in here for that special offer - guaranteed personality", the protagonist bemoans the depersonalisation of the world around him. The song speaks of numbers about suburban alienation and the feelings of disillusionment that come through youth in modern society. The supermarket in question was the International, located at 471-473 Kings Road, beneath the World's End Estate. 31 Whistler Walk was where Strummer lived at the time with his girlfriend Gaby Salter, her two younger brothers and her mother.
The Clash Know Your Rights Combat Rock CBS 1982; 5th studio album; 1st single from Combat Rock. "This is a public service announcement...with guitars!" The structure of the song revolves around the rights held by the poor and disenfranchised, in which the speaker of the song, presumably a villainous civil servant (whose identity is assumed in the song by vocalist Joe Strummer), names the three actual rights. At the end, the notion that more rights should be granted is rebuffed by the speaker. The three are: "The right not to be killed. Murder is a crime, unless it is done by a policeman, or an aristocrat". "The right to food money, providing of course, you don't mind a little investigation, humiliation, and, if you cross your fingers, rehabilitation". "The right to free speech (as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it)".
The Clash Overpowered By Funk Combat Rock CBS features rapping vocals by graffiti artist Futura 2000, who produced a sleeve for their "This Is Radio Clash" 7" single before. Poly Mandell plays keyboard on this track. White funk became prominent in London during the early 1980s with bands like The Jam, Spandau Ballet, and Haircut One Hundred. "Overpowered by Funk" was originally recorded at Ear Studios (also known as The People's Hall of Frestonia) in London in September 1981 by the four members of the band jointly with the rest of Combat Rock, using a mobile recording studio taken on loan from The Rolling Stones. Mike Maneval, who wrote for The Williamsport Sun-Gazette, considered the tune as "unadulterated funk", adding that it is "less neurotic and with more confidence than late Talking Heads and just shy of the funk pinnacle George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic."
The Clash Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Combat Rock CBS 1982; the band's only number-one single on the UK Singles Chart, a decade after it was originally released; Many rumours have arisen about the song's content, such as Jones' impending dismissal from the Clash or the rocky personal relationship between Jones and singer Ellen Foley, of Night Court
The Clash Straight to Hell Combat Rock CBS 1982; Like many songs by the Clash, the lyrics of "Straight to Hell" decry injustice. The first verse refers to the shutting down of steel mills in Northern England and unemployment spanning generations, it also considers the alienation of non English speaking immigrants in British society. The second verse concerns the abandonment of children in Vietnam who were fathered by American soldiers during the Vietnam War. The third verse contrasts the American Dream as seen through the eyes of an Amerasian child with a dystopian vision of American reality. The final verse broadly considers the life of immigrants throughout the world. The reference to "Amerasian Blues" describes the abandonment of children fathered by American soldiers stationed in Vietnam during the Vietnam War: an Amerasian child is portrayed as presenting an absent American father, "papa-san," with a photograph of his parents, pleading with his father to take him home to America. The child's plea is rejected. "-San" is a Japanese rather than Vietnamese honorific, but it was used by US troops in Vietnam who referred to Vietnamese men and women, especially older men and women, as "mama-san" or "papa-san". When Strummer sings of a "Volatile Molotov" thrown at Puerto Rican immigrants in Alphabet City as a message to encourage them to leave, he is referring to the arson that claimed buildings occupied by immigrant communities – notably Puerto Rican – before the area was subject to gentrification.