THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Clash- “Ivan Meets G.I. Joe”.
Topper Headon is a key part of The Clash’s history. His drumming skills were never just relegated to the basic one-two sloppy punk drumbeats that flooded the genre earlier on. With “Ivan Meets G.I. Joe”, Headon not only rolls all over the kit to lay down a fantastic disco beat, but offers a surprising, rare lead vocal performance.
Surrounded by swirling keyboards, Headon tells a story of Ivan and G.I. Joe meeting at Studio 54 for a dance-off of sorts. The dancers pull out all the tricks, but the crowd gets bored and goes over to watch China instead. Admittedly, the asinine Cold War allegory isn’t the strongest lyrically (more of a side-splitting farce, if anything), but musically, it’s another jam off Sandinista! that a.) gets us through some of the album’s more obscure minutes and b.) still could slaughter a number of new wave/post-punk gems on the dance floor. It’s Headon’s little moment that could — and did.
The Only Lyric That Matters: “He wiped the Earth clean as a plate/ What does it take to make a Ruskie break?/ But the crowd are bored and off they go/ Over the road to watch China blow!”