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"Clash City Rockers"
Single by The Clash
from the album The Clash (US ver.)
B-side "Jail Guitar Doors"
Released 17 February 1978
Format 7" single
Recorded October-November 1977
Genre Punk rock
Length 3:55
Label CBS CBS 5834
Writer(s) Joe Strummer and Mick Jones
Producer Mickey Foote
The Clash singles chronology
"Complete Control"
(1977)
"Clash City Rockers"
(1978)
"(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais"
(1978)

"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. Following an argument at the end of the band's Get Out of Control Tour Paul Simonon and Mick Jones were not on speaking terms, leaving Joe Strummer as a middle-man, relaying instructions and insults from one to the other. 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:

"The Gary Glitter lyric? yeah that was before the internet [grins]"

The main riff is very reminiscent to The Who's debut single, I Can't Explain's main riff, and sounds like it has been expanded by The Clash. This riff was reworked by the band again for Guns On The Roof on their second album Give Em Enough Rope.[citation needed]

Charts

Chart Peak
position
Date
UK Singles Chart 35

References

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