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Rock the Casbah - The Clash

Rock the Casbah

Combat Rock
punk 80s rock punk rock classic rock


According to the Rock The Casbah Songfacts, Clash Drummer Topper Headon wrote the music and the original lyrics. Vocalist Joe Strummer then decided to take Headon's lyrics in a different direction, to tell the story of an Arab ruler (the Shereef) who hates music, but is defied by the citizens . According to former Clash co-manager Kosmo Vinyl, Headon's original words were a filthy ode to his girlfriend. Vinyl recalled to Rolling Stone: "He had really pornographic lyrics for it if I remember correctly. Very, very pornographic lyrics." Strummer's inspiration for re-working the song came from the Clash's other manager, Bernie Rhodes, who asked the band, "Does everything have to be as long as a raga?" after a particularly long take of the track "Sean Flynn." Strummer told Rolling Stone shortly before he died in 2002: "I got back to the hotel that night and wrote on a typewriter, 'The King told the boogie men You gotta get that raga drop.' I looked at it and for some reason I started to think about what someone had told me earlier, that you get lashed for owning a disco album in Iran."


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 ...

Rock the Casbah - The Clash

Now the king told the boogie men
You have to let that raga drop
The oil down the desert way
Has been shakin to the top
The sheik he drove his Cadillac
He went a cruisin down the ville
The muezzin was a standing
On the radiator grille

CHORUS
The shareef don t like it
Rockin the Casbah
Rock the Casbah
The shareef don t like it
Rockin the Casbah
Rock the Casbah

By order of the prophet
We ban that boogie sound
Degenerate the faithful
With that crazy Casbah sound
But the Bedouin they brought out
The electric camel drum
The local guitar picker
Got his guitar picking thumb
As soon as the shareef
Had cleared the square
They began to wail

CHORUS

Now over at the temple
Oh! They really pack em in
The in-crowd say it s cool
To dig this chanting thing
But as the wind changed direction
And the temple band took five
The crowd caught a wiff
Of that crazy Casbah jive

CHORUS

The king called up his jet fighters
He said you better earn your pay
Drop your bombs between the minarets
Down the Casbah way

As soon as the shareef was
Chauffeured outta there
The jet pilots tuned to
The cockpit radio blare

As soon as the shareef was
Outta their hair
The jet pilots wailed

CHORUS

He thinks it s not kosher
Fundamentally he can t take it.
You know he really hates it.



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