THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Clash – “Guns Of Brixton”.
What a first track: Paul Simonon’s big break at the mic came early with the dark, vitriolic “The Guns of Brixton”.
Simonon wrote it based on the clashes between gangs and police in, you guessed it, Brixton, and condemns the gangsters and insists their life won’t end well. “When they kick at your front door/ How you gonna come/ With your hands on your head/ Or on the trigger of your gun?” Simonon asks ominously, a dark English cloud that blankets the entire song — from Strummer and Jones’ guitar screeches to Simonon’s low, angry vocals.
There are stories that an executive from the record label came in while they were recording vocals, and Simonon gave him a laser stare the entire time to keep his anger up while recording. Let’s say it worked.
The Only Lyric That Matters: “You can crush us/ You can bruise us/ But you’ll have to answer to/ Oh, the guns of Brixton”.