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Straight to Hell - The Clash

Straight to Hell

Combat Rock
punk punk rock 80s rock british


"Straight to Hell" is a song by The Clash, from their album Combat Rock. It was released as a double 'A' side single with "Should I Stay or Should I Go" on September 17, 1982 in 12" and 7" vinyl format (the 7" vinyl is a picture disc). Like those of many songs by the Clash, the lyrics of "Straight to Hell" decry injustice. The first verse refers to the shutting down of steel mills in Northern England and the alienation and racism suffered by immigrants despite their attempts to integrate into British society. The second verse concerns the abandonment of children in Vietnam who were fathered by American soldiers during the Vietnam War. The third verse contrasts the American Dream as seen through the eyes of an Amerasian child with a dystopian vision of American reality. The final verse considers the plight of immigrants throughout the world. Due to this difficult subject material, as well as the slow, aching beat, the song is one of the most downbeat tracks in the Clash's history. The reference to "Amerasian Blues" describes the abandonment of children fathered by American soldiers stationed in Vietnam during the Vietnam War: an Amerasian child is portrayed as presenting an absent American father, "papa-san," with a photograph of his parents, pleading with his father to take him home to America. The child's plea is rejected. "-san" being a Japanese rather than Vietnamese honorific that was used by US troops in Vietnam who referred to Vietnamese men and women especially older men and women and "mama-san" and "papa-san". When Strummer sings of a "Volatile Molotov" thrown at Puerto Rican immigrants in Alphabet City as a message to encourage them to leave, he is referring to the arson that claimed buildings occupied by immigrant communities – notably Puerto Rican – before the neighborhood was subject to gentrification. Hence, the ironic reference to "dead-head," the removal of dead flowers to encourage further blooming, at the end of the verse. The last line of the song, "King Solomon never lived 'round here," condenses at least three attributes associated with the biblical figure of King Solomon: his love of dance (thus referring back to the singing and dancing of immigrants throughout the song), his purported wisdom and justice, and finally the promise of a return from exile to a land or, as Strummer would suggest, a world of peace and prosperity. The song, whose full version lasted 7 minutes (which can be found on the Clash on Broadway box set or Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg (bootleg) - the double album that Combat Rock was going to be), had a lingering violin background that distinguished it from most other Clash songs. Covers and samples Straight to Hell was covered by Heather Nova and Moby for Burning London: The Clash Tribute, as well as by Hot Club de Paris, and Strummer's god-daughter Lily Allen. The music for the song has also been sampled by M.I.A. for "Paper Planes". Also, Jakob Dylan and Elvis Costello performed a cover of the song on Costello's show Spectacle: Elvis Costello With... Dylan and Costello talked about Joe Strummer on the show. Jakob is a big fan of Joe Strummer and The Clash. The song has been refashioned by Mick Jones, featuring Lily Allen, for the War Child - Heroes Vol.1, released in the UK on February 16, 2009, and in the U.S. on February 24, 2009 by Astralwerks. Allen's godfather was Joe Strummer. The song has also been covered by American Punk Rock band The Menzingers.


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 ...

Straight to Hell - The Clash

If you can play on the fiddle
How s about a British jig and reel?
Speaking King s English in quotation
As railhead towns feel the steel mills rust water froze
In the generation
Clear as winter ice
This is your paradise

There ain t no need for ya
Go straight to hell boys

Y wanna join in a chorus
Of the Amerasian blues?
When it s Christmas out in Ho Chi Minh City
Kiddie say papa papa papa papa-san take me home
See me got photo photo
Photograph of you
Mamma Mamma Mamma-san
Of you and Mamma Mamma Mamma-san
Lemme tell ya bout your blood bamboo kid.
It ain t Coca-Cola it s rice.

Straight to hell
Oh Papa-san
Please take me home
Oh Papa-san
Everybody they wanna go home
So Mamma-san says

You wanna play mind-crazed banjo
On the druggy-drag ragtime U.S.A.?
In Parkland International
Hah! Junkiedom U.S.A.
Where procaine proves the purest rock man groove
and rat poison
The volatile Molatov says-

PSSST...
HEY CHICO WE GOT A MESSAGE FOR YA...
VAMOS VAMOS MUCHACHO
FROM ALPHABET CITY ALL THE WAY A TO Z, DEAD, HEAD

Go straight to hell

Can you really cough it up loud and strong
The immigrants
They wanna sing all night long
It could be anywhere
Most likely could be any frontier
Any hemisphere
No man s land and there ain t no asylum here
King Solomon he never lived round here

Go straight to hell boys



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