Clash – The Magnificent Seven

The bass intro to this song is worth the price of admission by itself. It still sounds alive and fresh 42 years later. When you namecheck Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Milhous Nixon, Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, and Rin Tin Tin…you are doing damn well.

Bassist Paul Simonon was busy starring in a film called Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains when the Clash started the album Sandinista! Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ bassist Norman Watt-Roy was there so we wrote the superb bassline.

There was a controversy after Sandinista! was released due to every song having the”The Clash” writing credit that failed to name outside writers like Norman Watt-Roy. This has been considered the first rap-style song to be written by a white rock band.  It was recorded in March 1980, six months before Blondie’s own attempt at the genre with “Rapture.” For me, I do think it has elements of course but it’s a cross between rock, rap, funk, and Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues. I also hear elements of the next album Combat Rock in this one.

The song peaked at 21 on the Billboard Dance Chart, #18 in Canada, and #34 in the UK.

The song was recorded in March 1980 at Electric Lady Studios in New York City. Sandinista! was released as a triple album in 1980. It peaked at #24 on the Billboard Album Charts, #3 in Canada, #3 in New Zealand, and #19 in the UK in 1980. They did get the title from the famous 1960 movie. 

Joe Strummer on the triple album: “I stand proud of it, warts and all. It’s a magnificent thing! I wouldn’t change it even if I could. And that’s after some soul-searching. Just from the fact that it was all thrown down in one go. It’s, like, outrageous. And that it was released like that, it’s doubly outrageous — triply outrageous.”

The Magnificent Seven

Ring, ring, it’s 7:00 A.M.
Move yourself to go again
Cold water in the face
Brings you back to this awful place

Knuckle merchants and your bankers too
Must get up and learn those rules
Weather man and the crazy chief
One says sun and one says sleet

A.M., the F.M. the P.M. too
Churnin’ out that boogaloo
Gets you up and it gets you out
But how long can you keep it up?

Gimme Honda, gimme Sony
So cheap and real phony
Hong Kong dollar, Indian cents
English pounds and Eskimo pence

You lot, what?
Don’t stop, give it all you got
You lot, what?
Don’t stop, yeah

You lot, what?
Don’t stop, give it all you got
You lot, what?
Don’t stop, yeah

Working for a rise, better my station
Take my baby to sophistication
Seen the ads, she thinks it’s nice
Better work hard, I seen the price

Never mind that it’s time for the bus
We got to work and you’re one of us
Clocks go slow in a place of work
Minutes drag and the hours jerk

Yeah, wave bye, bye (when can I tell ’em what I do?)
(In a second, maan, alright Chuck)

Wave bub-bub-bub-bye to the boss
It’s our profit, it’s his loss
But anyway the lunch bells ring
Take one hour, do your thang
Cheeesboiger

What do we have for entertainment?
Cops kickin’ gypsies on the pavement
Now the news has snapped to attention
Lunar landing of the dentist convention

Italian mobster shoots a lobster
Seafood restaurant gets out of hand
A car in the fridge, a fridge in the car
Like cowboys do in TV land

You lot, what?
Don’t stop, give it all you got
You lot, what?
Don’t stop, huh

You lot, what?
Don’t stop, give it all you got, yeah
You lot, what?
Don’t stop

So get back to work and sweat some more
The sun will sink and we’ll get out the door
It’s no good for man to work in cages
Hit the town, he drinks his wages

You’re frettin’, you’re sweatin’
But did you notice, you ain’t gettin’
You’re frettin’, you’re sweatin’
But did you notice, not gettin’ anywhere

Don’t you ever stop, a long enough to start
Take your car outta that gear
Don’t you ever stop, long enough to start
Get your car outta that gear

Karlo Marx and Frederick Engels
Came to the checkout at the 7-11
Marx was skint but he had sense
Engels lent him the necessary pence

What have we got? Yeah, ooh
What have we got? Yeah, ooh
What have we got? Magnificence
What have we got?

Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi
Went to the park to check on the game
But they was murdered by the other team
Who went on to win fifty-nil

You can be true, you can be false
You’ll be given the same reward
Socrates and Milhous Nixon
Both went the same way through the kitchen

Plato the Greek or Rin Tin Tin
Who’s more famous to the billion millions?
News flash, ‘Vacuum cleaner sucks up budgie’
Ooh, bye-bye, bub-bye

The magnificent seven
Magnificent
Magnificent seven

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

23 thoughts on “Clash – The Magnificent Seven”

  1. Great song. I had a friend in HS who was big into punk & I think this was his favorite Clash one. Though by then their music had evolved well past punk. Guess it does have some elements of rap to it, never thought of that, but it’s a complex piece of music.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really is complex…you had a song today that is related in “We Didn’t Start The Fire.”
      Funk and some other influences in there. I love that little bass riff.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! You really got me with this post!
    Firstly, I remember asking extra time for my lunchbreak at the Bank I worked at so I could get the bus into Glasgow city centre to buy the Sandanista! album (on cassette) on the day of release.

    But more importantly, I had no idea Norman Watt-Roy had anything to do with this. I was / a big fan of the band Glencoe, with whom he played before The Blockheads. In fact I recently posted about this band on both my loudhorizon.com and onceuponatimeinthe70s.com sites.

    Great knowledge – thanks Max!
    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ah, those good old years when the never-doubt-herself wise and bitc- benevolent sweet Maggie Thatcher was in charge. She sure did bring out the anger of those getting squeezed. As always, the anger comes out in music.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is one cool and groovy bassline – love it! While I’ve heard some music by The Clash, I don’t recall this particular tune. Since it’s pretty memorable, I probably had not heard it before. Based on what I’ve heard, I generally like The Clash.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Jeff the ones that I think are quality and are going to go over well…fails usually and the ones that are simple and I think no one would like…they like.
        I’m going to do another Sandinista! song soon….Hitsville UK.

        Like

  5. About the only album I’ve heard of The Clash was London Calling and then not much. This song must have roused the rabble well back in the day. Thinking of a triple LP of political incitement is pretty exciting. Favorite lines (as in good not good what happened): “Minutes drag and the hours jerk” “What do we have for entertainment?
    Cops kickin’ gypsies on the pavement” “It’s no good for man to work in cages” (aka cubicles) “Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi
    Went to the park to check on the game
    But they was murdered by the other team
    Who went on to win fifty-nil”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lisa for doing that! I’m sorry I dragged you here but I thought you might like it….I love the lyrics but I also like that funk bass riff.

      Liked by 1 person

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