28/10/16 – The Clash – White Riot – 1977

Song Of The Day

the-clash-white-riot-single-cover-1977The Clash released White Riot as the first single from their debut album in 1977. The song was a call to arms for the impoverished white population, suggesting that the black communities were more likely to riot against injustice than the white communities and that the white communities might be “Too chicken to even try it”. The song was written after the 1976 Notting Hill riot in which Joe Strummer and bassist Paul Simonon were present. Around the turn of the century I lived in a flat in Ladbroke Grove and I myself witnessed some battles with the police into the night. It was pretty scary, all day the masses of people would struggle to move through the swarm below until night fell and the colourful parades were over, at that point the atmosphere could easily change into darkness.

The establishment were still adjusting to the tidal wave of Punk as it turned the music industry on its head. The government came under constant attack as the issues of the poorer parts of society were raised and performed at lightning speed by disillusioned youth and an energetic new generation. White Riot’s energy and message made it a Punk classic reaching No.38 in the UK chart despite little airplay. The Clash went on to become Punk heroes, a legend that still thrives to this day.

Note the missing Terry Chimes from the photo who left and rejoined the band three times, (Chimes was credited as Tory Crimes on the first album). He was eventually replaced by Topper Headon who he later replaced in The Clash’s final years as Headon fell into drug addiction. Chimes is now a chiropractor in Essex. Topper Headon went on to make a solo record and appears occasionally, suffering from back pain it seems to have limited his ability to return to drumming, although therapy has shown improvement in the condition. After being fired from the band that he started, Mick Jones, second singer/lead guitarist formed Big Audio Dynamite and more recently Carbon/Silicon. Bassist Paul Simonon formed Havana 3AM and later The Good The Bad & The Queen with Blur singer Damon Albarn. Joe Strummer, the band’s main lyricist and singer formed The Mescaleros and for a time sang with The Pogues, he died suddenly of a heart attack on December 22nd, 2002 aged 50.

White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own
White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own

Black man gotta lotta problems
But they don’t mind throwing a brick
White people go to school
Where they teach you how to be thick

An’ everybody’s doing
Just what they’re told to
And nobody wants
To go to jail

White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own
White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own

All the power’s in the hands
Of people rich enough to buy it
While we walk the street
Too chicken to even try it

And everybody’s doing
Just what they’re told to
And nobody wants
To go to jail

White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own
White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own

Hey, you, standing in line
Are we gonna sign an agreement?

White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own
White riot, I want to riot
White riot, a riot of my own

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Clash

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Riot

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