Joe Strummer Wept

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
*Update* I realize I wrote this whole post without once addressing what is going in the middle east. This song was about an uprising of people listening to Rock and Roll against the wishes of Sharif. In that context, what is happening might of given Joe a ray of hope. He always enjoyed a good revolution.

Every song is open for interpretation. Some songs are pretty obvious, some are not. In either case, you should understand the songwriter or bands roots, personalities and in some cases politics.

It is said that when Joe Strummer heard that, 'the phrase "Rock the Casbah" was written on an American bomb that was to be detonated on Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War', he wept. In 2006 the conservative magazine, The National Review, listed Rock The Casbah as number twenty on their list of The 50 greatest conservative rock songs1, I was pretty perturbed. Just because the song says "Drop the bombs between the minarets" it is not a pro-war song. Just like Born in the U.S.A. is not a song bragging about how great it is to be an American.

The Clash where extremely leftist in their political views. In fact, they were of that dreaded ilk... SOSHULISTS. I know, the right is making a concerted effort to appropriate history for themselves. Painting FDR's New Deal as the reason the depression continued and only the Great War bailed us out. That Americans were happy when FDR died. That our Founding Fathers were all Christians, who, really wanted church, preferably Christian, as part of the government.

You guys can keep pushing those tropes and I'll keep pushing back, but, dammit, leave The Clash alone! Let's make a deal. You guys can have Hank Junior and we will keep The Clash.

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Rock The Casbah Live 1999

Rock The Casbah - The Original Video

1.) That whole list is pretty stupid. Janie's Got A Gun is about "How the right to bear arms can protect women from sexual predators"? Really? Let's arm all the girls so they don't get sexually abused, but if they get pregnant? No abortions. They should of shot first.


  1. This article, specifically that list you linked, made me quite sad. Thanks for opening my afternoon by reminding me how insane half our country is, dad!

    But seriously, good article.


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