There’s been a lot of talk lately about the Clash and their

incisive, pointed lyrics. But as it often goes in rock ‘n ‘ roll;

when you break down their lyrics you often see that they

are slogans that make great anthems, they are not poetry

or Das Capital. And you know what? That’s cool with me.

Studying lyrics for deeper meaning is for chumps. My

favorite Clash song has long been “Complete Control,”

a song with incomprehensible lyrics. Imagine the letdown

when I finally looked up the lyrics a couple of years ago

and found out it was just Joe Strummer bitching about his

record company. In other words, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Workin’

For MCA” done by a less-tough, less-populist band. But the

relentless, riffing sound and Strummer’s call-to-arms voice

make “Complete Control” one of the all-time brilliant rockers.


I loved the Clash’s passion, their humor, and their willingness

to take a stand. And seeing Westway to the World knocked

me up the head and made me see how truly great of a live

band they were. So give me the whooooo-ooooh-hooohs of

“White Man in Hammersmith Palais”, the C-O-N control from

“Complete Control” and the ohhhhh-yeahhhhhs in their cover

of “Pressure Drop.” When I hear those, they truly were the

only band that mattered.