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The Clash Songs - The Guns Of Brixton Lyrics

The Guns Of Brixton Lyrics By The Clash Songs Album: London Calling Year: 1979 When they kick at your front door How you gonna come? With your hands on yo

The Clash - The Guns Of Brixton
The Clash - The Guns Of Brixton


The Clash - The Guns Of Brixton Lyrics and Youtube Music Videos

Album: London Calling
Released: 1979

The Guns Of Brixton Lyrics


When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

When the law break in
How you gonna go?
Shot down on the pavement
Or waiting on death row

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh, The Guns Of Brixton

The money feels good
And your life you like it well
But surely your time will come
As in heaven, as in hell

You see, he feels like Ivan
Born under the Brixton sun
His game is called survivin'
At the end of the harder they come

You know it means no mercy
They caught him with a gun
No need for the Black Maria
Goodbye to the Brixton sun

You can crush us
You can bruise us
Yes, even shoot us
But oh-the guns of Brixton

When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

You can crush us
You can bruise us
Yes, even shoot us
But oh-the guns of Brixton

Shot down on the pavement
Waiting in death row
His game is called survivin'
As in heaven as in hell

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh, the guns of Brixton

Writer/s: SIMONON, PAUL
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

The Guns Of Brixton
  • This song was written by bass player Paul Simonon, but only because he was envious of the royalties main songwriters Joe Strummer and Mick Jones were getting. He decided to get in on the songwriting himself, and this became one of the Clash's best known songs and a staple of their live set until their demise in the mid-'80s. Simonon takes lead vocal duties on the song, which is about gangsters in his home town Brixton, which is in South London.

    Interestingly, he was reticent about singing lead vocals initially, but Strummer noted that "they're your lyrics, you sing them" and the rest of the band agreed. Simonon notes: "The vocal mike was right up against the glass panel of the control room and sitting two feet behind the glass was some American CBS bloke. That's probably why the vocals came out the way they did."
  • Brixton was the site of race riots in 1981 and again in 1985. This song captures the alienation many citizens of Brixton felt leading up to the riots.

    The central plot has Ivan, the anti-hero character from the popular film The Harder They Come (the soundtrack of which contained many of The Clash's favorite Reggae songs, including the title track) in urban South London ("You see, he feels like Ivan, born under the Brixton sun, his game is called survivin', at the end of the harder they come") and on the wrong side of the law ("When the law break in, how you gonna go? Shot down on the pavement, or waiting on death row").
  • In 1990 the bassline to "The Guns of Brixton" was sampled in the Beats International (AKA Norman Cook, AKA Fatboy Slim) hit single "Dub Be Good To Me," and became a UK hit single, meaning Simonon received a credit of the royalties for his bassline. Interviewed by Scott Rowley on October 1999 for Bassist magazine, Simonon said that he "was surprised that it became number one, that was quite shocking. And the fact that it was my performance that they had lifted. The smart thing would've been to copy it and change it slightly, but they just lifted it straight off. So, really, I have done Top of the Pops! I met up with Norman [Cook] and we came to an arrangement which was much needed at the time. But I thought it was a really good idea and it was quite reassuring for that to happen to my first song."
  • This song was not released as a single when the London Calling album first came out, however in 1990 with the re-release of London Calling on CD, a remixed version entitled "Return to Brixton," which included the original "Guns of Brixton" mix on the B-side, was released and reached #57 on the UK charts in July 1990. Interestingly, a typo on the sleeve notes of the CD release meant Paul Simonon's name was misspelled as Paul Simon; although a very successful recording artist in his own right, the actual Paul Simon (half of Simon and Garfunkel) had nothing to do with the writing of "The Guns of Brixton"!
  • The song was always a popular live fixture, and Simonon's moment of glory onstage as he took lead vocals. He would swap instruments with Joe Strummer, who would play bass whilst Simonon played some rhythm guitar and sang (or usually bellowed) his vocals with great gusto. An example of this is the live version of the song which appears on the From Here To Eternity live compilation CD, taken from one of their many New York shows in June 1981. The song was first played live by the band at a September 1979 show in Chicago and at almost every show after that.

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