"Car Jamming" as written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon....
Tonight they're closing up the world
N'sweeping smoke from cigarettes
And what is that
Funky multi-national anthem rocking from a thousand
King Kong cassette decks
And then a shyboy from Missouri
Boots blown off in a sixties war
Riding aluminium crutches
Now he knows the welfare kindness
Agent Orange color-blindness
As we works from door to door
The violence in the carpets
The arrow of his wife (in a car jam)
Drives the slum-bum dweller
To grind his hunting knife (in a car jam)
In homesteads of cigar box
The radios hive like bees
The body in the icebox
Has no date for freeze (in a car jam)

(In a car jam)

Selling is what selling sells
But only saints on the seven avenues
Can sell the seven hells
Fanning the drug afflicted leperizing sword
Once inisde, the executive
He never leaves his home
Now, gorillas drag their victims
Hyenas try to sue (in a car jam)
Snakes find grass in concrete
There is no city zoo (in a car jam)
By ventilation units
Where towers meet the streets (in a car jam)
The ragged stand in bags soaking heat up through their feet (in the car jam

This was the only kindness, and it was accidental too

(In a car jam)

(In a car jam)

Now shaking single-engined planes trafficking stereos from Cuba
Buzzed the holy zealot mass and drowned out Missa Luba
And drowned out Missa Luba
And drowned out Missa Luba
And drowned out Missa Luba
I thought I saw Lauren Bacall, I thought I saw Lauren Bacall (in a car jam)

Hey fellas, hey fellas
Lauren Bacall (in a car jam)
In a car jam
Yeah, I don't believe it
In a car jam
Ah, yeah, positively-absolutely

(In a car jam)
(In a car jam)
(In a car jam)
(In a car jam)
(In a car jam)
(In a car jam)


Lyrics submitted by aebassist

"Car Jamming" as written by Mick Jones Joe Strummer

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Car Jamming song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentI think this song would be about being let down by the world. I don't know...
    spork542on August 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOK I don't know what I was high on when I wrote that. Anyways, I have no idea what the hell this song means. Anyone know? All I know is that it's a great song.
    spork542on September 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it has something to do with a solider who was crippled in Vietnam:
    Then a shyboy from Missouri
    Boots blown off in a '60s war
    Riding aluminium crutches
    Now he knows the welfare kindness n'
    Agent Orange color blindness
    Joe viewed inner city America as an urban Vietnam. However this sond does seem to jump around a bit I mean the bit about Gorillas WTF. Anyway thats me hopefully deciphering some of this song.
    Cpt-Sensibleon November 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentInteresting, that makes sense. I can't tell what the rest of the song is supposed to mean. WTF is a very valid description.
    spork542on November 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfeels a little like what he was talking about in the Magnificent Seven - the drudgery of the rat race and buying into the system of moneymaking. With the added bit about the Vietnam vet there's the question of "this is all we're fighting for?"

    Definitely among the stranger lyrics Joe ever wrote, he was heavily influenced by Ginsburg and the Beat poets while working on Combat Rock
    chowfun18on November 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhere the heck does Lauren Bacall come into it? I don't remember her doing too much acting in the 70's... is it a reference to her earlier work?

    Anyway, great catchy song but great crazy lyrics.
    BubbaHoTepon March 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis seems to be similiar to Straight to Hell, with verses being about different topics, connected by the chorus and, here, the car jam scenario.

    the gorilla-drag-their-victims must be about Italian mobsters (who sometimes shoot lobsters), never heard a brute referred to as 'gorilla'? and hyenas try to sue, Joe uses animal metaphors for unwanted fiends of the inner city social sphere, i'd say.
    Heinrichon June 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTypical clash song exploring more than one single idea

    Verse 1 a retospective on the Vietmam War and the common every day life that vetrans returned to.

    Verse 2 a side swipe at American commercialism - every things for sale and america can sell it "saints on the seven avenues" = american banks "can sell the seven hells" - reference to dantes vision of hell. This is the crime the criminals are the bully boys (Gorillas) bankers (hyenas) lawyers (snakes). These people don't care for the poor and any kindness is accidental.

    Strummer then trips out into druggie-dom USA comparing it to religion with Laren Bacall cast as the high priestess.
    stoner_77on August 23, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSounds like a very stream-of-consciousness approach to lyric writing...most of Combat Rock was written this way.

    I see this song as Joe Strummer using a car jam (being stuck in a traffic jam) in NYC as a vehicle to observe society circa 1981. Imagine him sitting in the car, paused at a light, looking around the avenues and connecting some dots of modern day problems of American culture. And, yes, he seems kinda high too. These lyrics fall in line with the Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) worldview of a man-on-the-edge perspective-of-society...a la Red Angel Dragnet and Straight To Hell.

    As Stoner_77 says above, Verse 1 reflects on the Vietnam War vets trying to adjust to "normal" life, yet is the urban jungle any different than the Vietnamese jungle? Verse 2 expounds on this notion of "society as a jungle" (un)equating the 'haves with the have-nots' with animals, bankers, homeless, etc. Exhaust heat coming from bankers' buildings to warm the homeless - indeed an "accidental kindness".

    The 3rd verse, to me, seems like Joe began another stanza trying to incorporate themese religion, masses, culture worship, third world black markets, etc. In the spirit of a cool, edgy, drugged-out vibe (which Car Jamming really is musically) he shouts out from the back seat "Hey fellas, I thought I saw Lauren Bacall!" A look-a-like walking down the street? The other band members respond in disbelief, and the song sorta ends in a laugh.




    zumghallion October 17, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCombat Rock was written as a tribute to Beat poetry, nothing on it more so than Car Jamming. Basically, they got stuck in a traffic jam in New York City and started writing beat poetry, in a jam session. This song is the result. They even went so far as to get Allen Ginsberg, the most famous beat poet of all, to add some vocals later in the album. I feel somewhat soiled after hearing Ginsberg growl the Heart Katra at the end of Ghetto Defendant. As far as the meaning of the lyrics of Car Jamming, it is about inequality and injustice in the everyday life they saw around them while stuck in the car.
    jeligulaon June 23, 2015   Link

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