THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Clash – “Washington Bullets”.
One of the deeper, more experimental cuts from side four of the already experimental Sandinista!, “Washington Bullets” is a musical history lesson on world violence in the ’60s and ’70s.
Everything from a story of a teenager being killed by drug dealers in Jamaica down the street from The Clash’s Kingston studio to the burning of pacifist Buddhist monks in China, Strummer raps out a litany of events all traced back to US mongrel backing.
He condemns the US most pointedly for Cuba in the ’60s, calling out JFK with “And in the Bay of Pigs in 1961/ Havana fought the playboy in the Cuban sun,” before knocking him down: “Those Washington bullets want Castro dead/ For Castro is the color that will earn you a spray of lead.”
Hardly a punk song, barely a rock song, and more akin to Strummer’s post-Clash Mescaleros work — and indeed some of the musicians on Sandinista! did join The Mescaleros later — it’s a crucial piece of not only The Clash’s discography but Strummer’s heart and soul.
The Only Lyric That Matters: “Those Washington bullets want Castro dead/ For Castro is the color/ That will earn you a spray of lead”.