THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Clash – “Julie’s Been Working For The Drug Squad” – Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ, 3/8/1980.
Honky-tonk piano is not something you expect to hear from a frantic punk band like The Clash, especially on an album that includes “English Civil War”, but the playful “Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad” defies the band’s conventions.
Blue Öyster Cult keyboardist and guitarist Allen Lanier sadly went uncredited for his piano work here, but it’s worth noting how on point he is alongside bassist Paul Simonon — something you just wouldn’t find in the punk scene at the time.
It could be an Elvis Costello B-side from My Aim Is True; that’s how unlikely it sounds from the group.
Based on “Operation Julie”, a drug sting in England to shut down major LSD pushers, The Clash thought the image of undercover cops running around high on LSD during this infiltration was hilarious, and, given the piano and bouncing bass, the song’s just waiting for an unfinished Benny Hill short.
The Only Lyric That Matters: “And it’s 10 years for you/ 19 for you/ And you can get out in 25/ That is if you’re still alive”