“(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais,” from Live: From Here To Eternity (1999). The original studio recording is on the US version of The Clash (1979). According to Wikipedia, “It was originally released as a 7-inch single, with the b-side ‘The Prisoner’, on 17 June 1978 through CBS Records.”
Aside from being a solid reggae tune (in keeping with my theory that the Clash were the best punk band ever precisely because they were so much more than a punk band), it’s loaded with incredible lyrics that perfectly described the end-times-y feel of the late 1970s … and, of course, seem eerily to describe our current clusterfuck – er, malaise – to a tee:
Better find another solution
Why not phone up Robin Hood
And ask him for some wealth distribution
Punk rockers in the UK
They won’t notice anyway
They’re all too busy fighting
For a good place under the lighting
The new groups are not concerned
With what there is to be learned
They got Burton suits, ha you think it’s funny
Turning rebellion into money
All over people changing their votes
Along with their overcoats
If Adolf Hitler flew in today
They’d send a limousine anyway
I’m not saying that last verse reminded me of the recent CPAC conference, and I’m not saying it didn’t remind me of the recent CPAC conference.
But I digress. The song resonated then and it resonates now: The sense that the world’s gone mad, everybody kind of knows the world’s gone mad, but nobody is really all that interested in doing anything about it.
Hey, nothing like starting your weekend with a cold shot of hopelessness and despair. At least it’s got a good beat.
In any event, here’s Joe Strummer with the Mescaleros performing “(White Man) In The Hammersmith Palais” live in Germany (oh, irony!) in 1999:
If we’re all in this handbasket anyway, at least the Clash outfitted us with a great soundtrack for the trip to hell. So …
Turn. It. Up.
[Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles]