Clampdown - The Clash
ClampdownLondon Calling punk punk rock rock british classic rock
"Clampdown" is a single and a song by The Clash from their album London Calling. The song began as an instrumental track called "Working and Waiting". It is sometimes called "Working for the Clampdown" which is the main lyric of the song, and also the title provided on the album's lyric sheet. Its lyrics comment on people who forsake the idealism of youth and urges young people to fight the status quo. Writing and recording "Clampdown" was written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones. The song's lyrics, written by Joe Strummer, refers to the failures of capitalist society. The wearing of the "blue and brown" refers to the color of the uniforms that are mostly worn by workers. This idea goes along with lyrics that refer to "young believers" who are brought and bought into the capital system by those "working for the clampdown" who will "teach with twisted speech." Strummer wrote, The men in the factory are old and cunning You don't owe nothing, so boy get running! It's the best years of your life they want to steal! You grow up and you calm down and you're working for the clampdown. You start wearing the blue and brown and you're working for the clampdown. So you got someone to boss around. It makes you feel big now... These lyrics are seen to refer to how one gets caught by the capital economic system and its ethos of work, debt, power, position and conformist lifestyle. Strummer, who was a proud and loud socialist, also uses the song's closing refrain to highlight this mindset and potential trap and offers a warning not to give oneself over to "the clampdown". He does this by repeating as the song fades out the word "work" five times and "more work" twice. This reaffirms the idea that Strummer saw "the clampdown" as a threat to all who get caught up in the modern economic wage-hour system. Bass player and Clash co-founder Paul Simonon, in an interview with the LA Times, spoke about the opportunities available to him after he finished his education, “ What was worse was that when it got time for us to start leaving school, they took us out on trips to give us an idea of what jobs were available. But they didn't try to introduce us to anything exciting or meaningful. They took us to the power station and the Navy yards. It was like saying, 'This is all you guys could ever do.' Some of the kids fell for it. When we got taken down to the Navy yards, we went on a ship and got cooked up dinner and it was all chips and beans. It was really great. So some of the kids joined up - because the food was better than they ate at home.” —Paul Simonon , Strummer, like Simonon, spent time on the dole, but Strummer did not come from a lower-class family. In the same interview with the LA Times Strummer said, “ You see, I'm not like Paul or the others, I had a chance to be a 'good, normal person' with a nice car and a house in the suburbs - the golden apple or whatever you call it. But I saw through it. I saw it was an empty life.” —Joe Strummer , Strummer's father was a diplomat in the British Field Service, and Joe was sent away to boarding school where he detested "the thick rich people’s thick rich kids". Strummer said, “ I only saw my father once a year (after being sent to boarding school,) he was a real disciplinarian, who was always giving me speeches about how he had pulled himself up by the sweat of his brow: a real guts and determination man. What he was really saying to me was, 'If you play by the rules, you can end up like me'. And I saw right away I didn't want to end up like him. Once I got out on my own, I realized I was right. I saw how the rules worked and I didn't like them. ” —Joe Strummer , Later verses suggest an alternative in revolution, a theme common throughout Joe Strummer's songwriting. This point of view also points to the lyric "You start wearing the blue and brown" as supporting their cause. The barely audible lyrics at the beginning of the song were deciphered by Clash fan Ade Marks, and first published in Q magazine's Clash special: The kingdom is ransacked, the jewels all taken back And the chopper descends They're hidden in the back, with a message on a half-baked tape With the spool going round, saying I'm back here in this place And I could cry And there's smoke you could click on What are we going to do now? Cover versions "Clampdown" was later covered by Rage Against the Machine at their first live show in 1991, as well as their more recent show in Antwerp, Belgium on 2 June 2008. It was also was covered by Indigo Girls and can be heard on Rarities (2005) as well as the Clash tribute album Burning London: The Clash Tribute (1999). The song was also covered by The Strokes (at their Oxegen and T in the Park appearances in July 2004), Poster Children on their 2004 release, On the Offensive, and James Dean Bradfield (of the Manic Street Preachers) on his solo tour in October 2006. Another band that covered this song was Hot Water Music, on their B sides and rarities compilation album called "Till the Wheels Fall Off". The song was also covered by The National on the album "A Tribute to The Clash," and by Inward Eye, which they released through a video on their YouTube channel. Released 14 December 1979 Format 7" single Recorded August-September 1979, November 1979 at Wessex Studios Genre Punk rock Length 3:50 Label CBS ES 486 Writer(s) Joe Strummer and Mick Jones Producer Guy Stevens
The Clash were a punk rock band from London, England, United Kingdom, active from 1976 to 1985. One of the most successful and iconic bands from the first wave of punk in the 70s, they incorporated rock and roll, reggae, rockabilly, and eventually many other music styles into their repertoire. They were legendary for their uncommonly intense stage performances. From their earliest days as a band, The Clash stood apart from their peers with their musicianship as well as their lyrics Show more ...
Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew?
Cause they re working for the clampdown
They put up a poster saying we earn more than you!
When we re working for the clampdown
We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers
The judge said five to ten-but I say double that again
I m not working for the clampdown
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown
Kick over the wall cause government s to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D you know that you can use it?
The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there s nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
The men at the factory are old and cunning
You don t owe nothing, so boy get runnin
It s the best years of your life they want to steal
You grow up and you calm down
You re working for the clampdown
You start wearing the blue and brown
You re working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It makes you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
You made your first kill now
In these days of evil presidentes
Working for the clampdown
But lately one or two has fully paid their due
For working for the clampdown
But ha! Gitalong! Gitalong!
And I ve given away no secrets
Who s barmy now?