Clash City Rockers (3:47)

Cover of The Clash

From The Clash and 53 other releases

“Clash City Rockers” is a song and single by The Clash. First released in February 1978 with the b-side “Jail Guitar Doors” a re-worked version of a song from Joe Strummer’s pub rock days. It was later included as the opening track of the belated US version of the band’s eponymous debut album.

The song was first played live in at Mont De Marsan (Landes - France), in August 1977 and recorded the same year in the band’s October and November sessions in CBS studios. The song was edited in December by producer Mickey Foote (Joe Strummer’s old sound-man from the 101’ers and producer of The Clash and “White Riot”) after manager Bernie Rhodes decided it sounded ‘a bit flat’ rendering the song one semitone higher in pitch. Strummer and Jones were in Jamaica at the time. With the exception of the 2000 re-issue of the US version of The Clash, the original mix of the song has been used on every re-release since.

The Clash’s first overt attempt as self-mythology, “Clash City Rockers” is, by and large, a song about positivity and moving forward, and revisits themes common in Clash songs of the era, specifically dead-end employment and having a purpose in life. The middle part of the song is based on an old nursery rhyme, “Oranges and Lemons”, and namechecks David Bowie, Gary Glitter and Prince Far-I; the irony of the line “when I am fitter say the bells of Gary Glitter” following his scandal was not lost on Mick Jones, who joked about it in December 2003 of Uncut magazine:

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An' I wanna move the town to the clash city rockers
You need a little jump of electrical shockers
You better leave town if you only wanna knock us
Nothing stands the pressure of the clash city rockers

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics

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