A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 164: Let Fury Have the Hour

the-clash

“Kick over the wall/ Cause governments to fall/ How could you refuse it?/ Let fury have the hour/ Anger can be power/ You know that you can use it”

It is the Clash’s “rage against the machine”, simply put, and may be one of their greatest songs. I heard it on the radio as I was driving around a couple of days ago. If you know me at all, you know the Clash is pretty much the soundtrack that runs in my brain 24/7. When a station actually plays something beyond the usual three or four Clash tracks on rotation I sit up and take notice. “Clampdown” is full of wonderful Joe Strummer lyrical moments like “In these days of evil presidentes/ Working for the clampdown/ Lately one or two has fully paid their dues/ Working for the clampdown”. It is a song at the soul of punk in so many ways.

The live performance of this song is maybe the best example of the power of this band when they were called “The Only Band that Matters”, before typical rock band pettiness crept in and blew the group apart. This isn’t awesome because of the stellar musicianship. This is awesome because of the power, conviction, energy and, yes, fury that can be communicated by four guys with the Drive.  Here is that video. If you don’t understand the lyrics, as Joe once said, “Don’t worry. You’re not alone.” However, I have printed them below just to be helpful. You’re welcome.

HA! Gitalong! Gitalong!!

What are we gonna do now?

Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew?
‘Cause they’re working for the clampdown
They put up a poster saying we earn more than you!
When we’re working for the clampdown
We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers

The judge said five to ten-but I say double that again
I’m not working for the clampdown
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown
Kick over the wall ’cause government’s to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D’you know that you can use it?

The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there’s nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
The men at the factory are old and cunning
You don’t owe nothing, so boy get runnin’
It’s the best years of your life they want to steal

You grow up and you calm down
You’re working for the clampdown
You start wearing the blue and brown
You’re working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It makes you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
Make your first kill now

In these days of evil Presidentes
Working for the clampdown
But lately one or two has fully paid their due
For working for the clampdown
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong! (working for the clampdown)
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong! (working for the clampdown)

Yeah I’m working in Harrisburg
Working hard in Petersburg (working for the clampdown, working for the clampdown)
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong!
Beggin’ to be melted down

And I’ll give away no secrets

Written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group