Single by The Clash
from the album London Calling
B-side "The Guns of Brixton"
Released 14 December 1979
Format 7" single
Recorded August-September 1979, November 1979 at Wessex Studios
Genre Punk rock
Length 3:50
Label CBS ES 486
Writer(s) Joe Strummer and Mick Jones
Producer Guy Stevens
The Clash singles chronology
"London Calling"
"Train in Vain"

"Clampdown" is a single and a song by The Clash from their album London Calling. The song began as an instrumental track called "Working and Waiting".[1] It is sometimes called "Working for the Clampdown" which is the main lyric of the song, and also the title provided on the album's lyric sheet. Its lyrics comment on people who forsake the idealism of youth and urges young people to fight the status quo.[2]


Writing and recording

"Clampdown" was written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones.

The song's lyrics, written by Joe Strummer, refers to the failures of capitalist society.[3][4] The wearing of the "blue and brown" refers to the color of the uniforms that are mostly worn by workers. This idea goes along with lyrics that refer to "young believers" who are brought and bought into the capital system by those "working for the clampdown" who will "teach with twisted speech." Strummer wrote,

The men in the factory are old and cunning
You don't owe nothing, so boy get running!
It's the best years of your life they want to steal!
You grow up and you calm down and you're working for the clampdown.
You start wearing the blue and brown and you're working for the clampdown.
So you got someone to boss around. It makes you feel big now...

These lyrics are seen to refer to how one gets caught by the capital economic system and its ethos of work, debt, power, position and conformist lifestyle.[5] Strummer, who was a proud and loud socialist, also uses the song's closing refrain to highlight this mindset and potential trap and offers a warning not to give oneself over to "the clampdown". He does this by repeating as the song fades out the word "work" five times and "more work" twice. This reaffirms the idea that Strummer saw "the clampdown" as a threat to all who get caught up in the modern economic wage-hour system. Bass player and Clash co-founder Paul Simonon, in an interview with the LA Times, spoke about the opportunities available to him after he finished his education,

What was worse was that when it got time for us to start leaving school, they took us out on trips to give us an idea of what jobs were available. But they didn't try to introduce us to anything exciting or meaningful. They took us to the power station and the Navy yards. It was like saying, 'This is all you guys could ever do.' Some of the kids fell for it. When we got taken down to the Navy yards, we went on a ship and got cooked up dinner and it was all chips and beans. It was really great. So some of the kids joined up - because the food was better than they ate at home.

Paul Simonon , [6]

Strummer, like Simonon, spent time on the dole, but Strummer did not come from a lower-class family. In the same interview with the LA Times Strummer said,

You see, I'm not like Paul or the others, I had a chance to be a 'good, normal person' with a nice car and a house in the suburbs - the golden apple or whatever you call it. But I saw through it. I saw it was an empty life.

Joe Strummer , [6]

Strummer's father was a diplomat in the British Field Service, and Joe was sent away to boarding school where he detested "the thick rich people’s thick rich kids". Strummer said,

I only saw my father once a year (after being sent to boarding school,) he was a real disciplinarian, who was always giving me speeches about how he had pulled himself up by the sweat of his brow: a real guts and determination man. What he was really saying to me was, 'If you play by the rules, you can end up like me'. And I saw right away I didn't want to end up like him. Once I got out on my own, I realized I was right. I saw how the rules worked and I didn't like them.

Joe Strummer , [6]

Later verses suggest an alternative in revolution, a theme common throughout Joe Strummer's songwriting. This point of view also points to the lyric "You start wearing the blue and brown" as supporting their cause. The barely audible lyrics at the beginning of the song were deciphered by Clash fan Ade Marks, and first published in Q magazine's Clash special:

The kingdom is ransacked, the jewels all taken back
And the chopper descends
They're hidden in the back, with a message on a half-baked tape
With the spool going round, saying I'm back here in this place
And I could cry
And there's smoke you could click on
What are we going to do now?

Cover versions

"Clampdown" was later covered by Rage Against the Machine at their first live show in 1991, as well as their more recent show in Antwerp, Belgium on 2 June 2008. It was also was covered by Indigo Girls and can be heard on Rarities (2005) as well as the Clash tribute album Burning London: The Clash Tribute (1999). The song was also covered by The Strokes (at their Oxegen and T in the Park appearances in July 2004), Poster Children on their 2004 release, On the Offensive, and James Dean Bradfield (of the Manic Street Preachers) on his solo tour in October 2006. Another band that covered this song was Hot Water Music, on their B sides and rarities compilation album called "Till the Wheels Fall Off". The song was also covered by The National on the album "A Tribute to The Clash," and by Inward Eye, which they released through a video on their YouTube channel.

Popular reference

The song was also used in the US television show Malcolm in the Middle during an episode where Malcolm and some misfits organise an anti-prom called "Morp". It was also used in a episode of Futurama.


The following people contributed to "Clampdown":[7]

  • Joe Strummer – vocals, guitar
  • Mick Jones – vocals, guitar
  • Paul Simonon – bass guitar
  • Topper Headon – drums, percussion


Chart Peak
UK Singles Chart 16


  1. ^ Sweeting, Adam (October 2004). "Death or Glory". Uncut: 67. 
  2. ^ Guarisco, Donald A.. "Clampdown Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  3. ^ D'Ambrosio, Antonino (June 2003). "'Let fury have the hour': the passionate politics of Joe Strummer (Page 4)". Monthly Review. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2008-03-13. [dead link]
  4. ^ D'Ambrosio, Antonino (June 2003). "'Let fury have the hour': the passionate politics of Joe Strummer (Page 5)". Monthly Review. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2008-03-13. [dead link]
  5. ^ Dimery, Robert (1999). Collins Gem Classic Albums. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 0004724852. OCLC 43582584. 
    Related news articles:
  6. ^ a b c Hilburn, Robert (22 January 1984). "Clash make it goo". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA. London: Times-Mirror). ISSN 0458-3035. OCLC 3638237. "LONDON - The Clash is a rock band that lives up to its name." 
    Related news articles:
  7. ^ London Calling: 25th Anniversary Legacy Edition (CD liner notes). Epic Records. September 2004.


  • Gilbert, Pat (2005) [2004]. Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of The Clash (4th ed.). London: Aurum Press. pp. 233, 235, 238, 257, 260, 267. ISBN 1845131134. OCLC 61177239. 
  • Gray, Marcus (2005) [1995]. The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town (5th revised ed.). London: Helter Skelter. ISBN 1905139101. OCLC 60668626. 
  • Green, Johnny; Garry Barker (2003) [1997]. A Riot of Our Own: Night and Day with The Clash (3rd ed.). London: Orion. ISBN 0752858432. OCLC 52990890. 
  • Gruen, Bob; Chris Salewicz (2004) [2001]. The Clash (3rd ed.). London: Omnibus. ISBN 1903399343. OCLC 69241279. 
  • Needs, Kris (2005-01-25). Joe Strummer and the Legend of the Clash. London: Plexus. ISBN 085965348X. OCLC 53155325. 
  • Topping, Keith (2004) [2003]. The Complete Clash (2nd ed.). Richmond: Reynolds & Hearn. ISBN 1903111706. OCLC 63129186. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • clampdown — clamp‧down [ˈklæmpdaʊn] noun [countable usually singular] sudden action in order to stop something from happening or control it much more strictly: • The UK government is launching a clampdown on internet casino advertisements. * * * clampdown UK …   Financial and business terms

  • clampdown — n. sudden restriction on an activity. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • clampdown — ► NOUN informal ▪ a concerted attempt to suppress something …   English terms dictionary

  • clampdown — ☆ clampdown [klamp′doun΄ ] n. a clamping down; repression or suppression, as in censoring …   English World dictionary

  • clampdown — UK [ˈklæmpˌdaʊn] / US noun [countable, usually singular] Word forms clampdown : singular clampdown plural clampdowns a determined attempt by someone in authority to stop people doing something bad or illegal clampdown on: a clampdown on smoking …   English dictionary

  • clampdown — [[t]klæ̱mpdaʊn[/t]] clampdowns also clamp down N COUNT: oft N on n A clampdown is a sudden restriction on a particular activity by a government or other authority. [JOURNALISM] ...a clampdown on the employment of illegal immigrants... Ironically …   English dictionary

  • clampdown — n. a clampdown on * * * [ klæmpdaʊn] a clampdown on …   Combinatory dictionary

  • clampdown — clamp|down [ˈklæmpdaun] n [C usually singular] sudden firm action that is taken to reduce crime clampdown on ▪ a clampdown on drug dealers …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • clampdown — clamp|down [ klæmp,daun ] noun count usually singular a determined attempt by someone in authority to stop people from doing something bad or illegal: clampdown on: a clampdown on smoking …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • clampdown — noun Date: 1940 the act or action of making regulations and restrictions more stringent < a clampdown on charge accounts, bank loans, and other inflationary influences Time > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”