THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Clash – “White Riot”.
One of the coolest things about The Clash is they put action to their words. Case in point: In 1976, at the Notting Hill Carnival, a group of Caribbean residents rioted over the oppression they felt from the police.
Well, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon were at the carnival and ended up right in the middle of the riot. From that experience, Strummer wrote “White Riot” about how white residents needed to take up a worthy cause, “such as the black residents in London had with racism.” He felt white residents complained about trivial things, but would still fall in line with authority and needed to do something about it.
The song’s raw, sloppy, and messy — everything a punk song about rioting should be. The guitars aren’t as clear and clean as they would later become, but, as their first single ever, it was quite an introduction to the angry kids from London.
The Only Lyric That Matters: “All the power’s in the hands/ Of people rich enough to buy it/ While we walk the street/ Too chicken to even try it”