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10 Other Clash* Songs Bruce Springsteen Should Cover

Posted on 27 April 2014 by Caryn Rose (1)

You might think that I am lying if I tell you that I have had actual fantasies about Bruce playing “Clampdown” prior to it happening (it involved a guest appearance by Mick Jones [who, I have it on good authority, was at Hyde Park for the London Calling show] and not Tom Morello, but a girl CAN’T BE TOO PICKY). That said, I would like to present the other 10 Clash (or Joe Strummer) songs Mr. Springsteen (or his proxy in these matters, Mr. Morello) should consider playing. I tried to pick things that I thought the E Street Band could successfully play and would fit with the current show.

10. SOMEBODY GOT MURDERED: Before Joe Strummer left us, he was slated to do a “Storytellers” for VH1 and Bruce was going to appear as a guest. What song was he going to do? “Somebody Got Murdered”–which is more of a Mick song than a Joe song but I find it my duty to remind the world of this fact at least once a month. (HELLO THERE.) It’s got the same kinds of characters that Bruce has written about, who make choices they might not expect and then have to live with the consequences. There’s a version of this in Bruce’s head that I bet wouldn’t sound out of place on side 4 of The River.

9. BANK ROBBER: Put the lyrics against an acoustic guitar and this could go on Nebraska. Another character in a dead-end job, really. Bruce could sing the heck out of this. Put a twang on it, even.

8. STAY FREE: Yes yes yes another Mick song, but this tale of childhood friendship wouldn’t be out of place next to “Bobby Jean” (which I have a soft spot for). It’s a straight ahead rockin’ ballad with plenty of emotion, and lots of backing vocal potential.

7. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: “This is a public service announcement….with GUITAR!” There are so many possible segues, including “Seeds,” “Long Walk Home,” “Badlands,” “Promised Land”…the list goes on and on. Plus I think the syncopation would be easy to manage. It’s just loud and raucous but so was “Highway To Hell.”

6. DEATH OR GLORY: Another song of dead-end lives and bad choices by characters who seem doomed to repeat the past. But this is the verse:

‘n every gimmick hungry yob digging gold from rock ‘n’ roll
Grabs the mike to tell us he’ll die before he’s sold
But I believe in this-and it’s been tested by research
He who fucks nuns will later join the church

Not all that far from “nuns run bald through Vatican halls,” really. AND killer riffs to boot.

5. BRAND NEW CADILLAC: Not much I’m going to have to explain here. It’s Joe’s rockabilly fantasy in the middle of London Calling. Play this into Cadillac Ranch! Into Pink Cadillac! CADILLAC TRILOGY!!!!

4. COMPLETE CONTROL: A dude who had to take his manager to court just to have the right to record with who he wanted to is going to resonate with this story of the Clash fighting with their record label BIG TIME. Plus it’s loud and boisterous and has great guitar riffs (has one of the best opening riffs of all time) and is a total rock and roll shouter.

3. GARAGELAND: “We’re a garage band/ahh ahh ahh/we come from garage land” OH COME ON, what could be simpler?

2. BEFORE I GROW TOO OLD (SILVER AND GOLD): Cheating because this is from Joe’s last solo album, but Joe WROTE THIS SONG FOR JOHNNY CASH.

1. ARMS ALOFT IN ABERDEEN: Another one from Streetcore, this is a great rocker that tells a story of being on the road and playing in front of an audience. Pearl Jam have covered it too, for the same reasons that Bruce loves songs like “Travelin’ Band” and “Rockin’ All Over The World” (besides John Fogerty), and I’ve tried to lobby Brian Fallon for Gaslight Anthem to cover this too.

I could quite seriously justify at least another 20 songs and anyone who loves the Clash and Bruce would have their own list.

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One Response to “10 Other Clash* Songs Bruce Springsteen Should Cover”

  1. Dawn Branciforte says:

    Definitely Death or Glory…maybe 1)Spanish Bombs; 2)This is Radio Clash; 3)Police On My Back; 4)Hitsville UK; 5)Lost in the Supermarket….So many! Your list was great.