"Burnin' Streets" as written by and Martin Slattery Joe Strummer....
The sirens' risin'
There's a distant blues dance on a crowded street
The temperature's a-risin'
Soon you're gonna be runnin' down

Those burnin' streets, come on
The century that's hardly on its feet
And the late news breaks early
Does the sun rise from the west or from the east?
An' it takes every day to be survivin' in the city

London is burnin'; don't tell the Queen
Somebody tried to speak garage and they burnt down Bethnal Green
Piccadilly's yearning, like a reggae beat
Soon you're gonna be runnin' down

Those burnin' streets, come on
And you're waitin' for your flag to be unfurled
And the late news breaks early
So how should life be lived around the world?
(If London is burnin')

An' it takes every day to be survivin' in the city
Ready to face that dawn with no pity, come on!
Yeah, ah-come on (London is burnin')
Yeah, ah-come on (London is burnin')

(Soon you're gonna be run down)
(Soon you're gonna be run down)
Those burnin' streets, come on!
Does the universal cop have a beat?
And the late news breaks early
Did you ever buy that bar on Lucky Street?

An' it takes every day to be survivin' in the city
Ready to face that dawn with no pity, come on!
Yeah, ah-come on (London is burnin')
Yeah, ah-come on (London is burnin')

Too many guns in this damn town
At the supermarket, you gotta duck down
Baby flak jackets on the merry-go-round
(London is burnin')
There's too many guns in this damn town
(London is burnin')
Baby flak jackets on the merry-go-round
(London is burnin')
Too many guns in this damn town
(London is burnin')
Baby flak jackets on the merry-go-round
(London is burnin')


Lyrics submitted by azkm

Burnin' Streets song meanings
Add your thoughts

3 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentNo comments? This is one of my favorites off Streetcore for sure, good vibe & beat. Sounds to be one of the more 'finished' tracks from the album, which sadly as we know was not wholly completely due to Strummer's untimely death. We miss ya, Joe!
    BakeCarrotson July 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe more I listen to this song, the more it moves me. Streetcore is an amazing album and this, imo, may be the best song on it, which is saying a lot.
    cheeks22on December 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot sure when anybody will read this But I’ll have a go.
    This has always been one of my favorites from Streetcore, which is definitely some of Joe’s finest work. In the Mescalero years his lyrics show this wise and almost father-like attitude toward his listener. I think Joe saw how crazy the world was becoming and knew we had to get ready.

    “London is burnin’, don’t tell the Queen”, seems like a casual self-quote - an inside joke between himself and his fans. Now that he’s older the lyrics change meaning to an idea of, “Yes, it’s still burning, and it’s only getting worse because no one’s trying to put it out.”

    No one seems to know the right lyrics for the next line. I don’t believe “speak garage” means anything, so although it sounds correct I wanna find the real lyric. Right now I read the line, “Somebody tried to speak out and then they burned down Bethnal Green”

    I’ve read before that the 9/11 attacks really affected Joe and I think you can sense it here. Ramshackle Day Parade talks about the event, but Burnin’ Streets is about how culture, politics, and the whole world was changing at the time. I can’t even imagine what he’d have to say about 2018.
    God bless Joe Strummer.
    StayFree95on February 23, 2018   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain