Should I Stay or Should I Go (3:09)

Cover of Combat Rock

From Combat Rock and 132 other releases

“Should I Stay or Should I Go” is a song by The Clash, from their album Combat Rock. It was written in 1981 and featured Mick Jones on lead vocals. It became the band’s only number-one single, a decade after it was originally released. In November 2004, it was ranked at 228 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The tune leans towards more of a retro punk rock sound than most of the other tracks on the album. Though many legends have arisen about what the song is about (one of which is Jones’ impending dismissal from the Clash in 1983), it is actually about a rocky personal relationship between Jones and former Meat Loaf backup singer Ellen Foley that would soon implode. The lyrics seem to reflect ups and downs concerning the relationship and the dilemma of sticking with or ending it.

The Spanish backing vocals are courtesy of Joe Strummer:

“ On the spur of the moment I said ‘I’m going to do the backing vocals in Spanish,’…We needed a translator so Eddie Garcia, the tape operator, called his mother in Brooklyn Heights and read her the lyrics over the phone and she translated them. But Eddie and his mum are Ecuadorian, so it’s Ecuadorian Spanish that me and Joe Ely are singing on the backing vocals. ”

—Joe Strummer, 1991


The single was reissued several times. In 1982, with a different cover as a double A-side with “Straight to Hell” and with “Cool Confusion” as its B-side. In 1983, with “First Night Back in London” on the side two, and in 1991, with “Rush” by Mick Jones’ group Big Audio Dynamite II as its B-side


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