"The Card Cheat" as written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon....
There's a solitary man crying, hold me
It's only because he's a-lonely
If the keeper of time runs slowly
He won't be alive for long!

If he only had time to tell of all of the things he planned
With a card up his sleeve, what would he achieve?
It means nothing!

To the opium den and the barroom gin
In the Belmont chair playing violins
The gambler's face cracks into a grin
As he lays down the king of spades

But the dealer just stares
There's something wrong here, he thinks
The gambler is seized and forced to his knees
And shot dead

He only wanted more time
Away from the darkest door
But his luck it gave in
As the dawn light crept in
And he lay on the floor

From the Hundred Year War to the Crimea
With a lance and a musket and a Roman spear
To all of the men who have stood with no fear
In the service of the King

Before you met your fate be sure you
Did not forsake your lover
May not be around anymore

There's a solitary man crying, hold me
It's only because he's a-lonely
If the keeper of time runs slowly
He won't be alive for long!


Lyrics submitted by aebassist

"The Card Cheat" as written by Mick Jones Joe Strummer

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Card Cheat song meanings
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27 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentthe song is kinda cheesy, especially the royal horn section.
    But i still love it, even though it's a bit far-fetched. Paralleling gambling with a Monarchy? Okay, i get it - people look for things to enslave themselves.
    I especially like the verse:
    If he only had time to tell of all of the things he planned
    With a card up his sleeve, what would he achieve?
    It means nothing!

    Such a common Strummer theme - people doing things that they think will help them, when they're really doing a disservice to themselves. So, he ties in the lesson:
    Before you met your fate be sure you
    Did not forsake your lover
    May not be around anymore

    ...be thankful for what you have. Cheating at cards may get you fast cash, but you'll learn nothing about yourself. If you love what you have, you'll never even think about get-rich-quick schemes.
    *climbs off soapbox*
    Chinupon December 02, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDitto...was always my favourite track save for the title track intro.
    Bratton November 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a standout track, not a throw away.
    sailingallaloneon December 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is one of my favorites from London Calling. And I believe it is a Mick tune. I've always loved the line "from the Hundred Years War to the Crimea, with the lance, and the musket, and the Roman Spear". I think this refers to people being the same and doing the same things (making the same mistakes) no matter what time they lived in.
    cardcheaton May 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think sgt. pepper is half right, what it is imo is a man who decides to cheat in a big game of cards to win money. but when the dealer discovers his cheating, he is shot dead. What Jones and Strummer then do is extrapolate that to all those lost their lives in wars which were, in their opinion, pointless.
    Skelet0ron May 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song, I don't know how it could be called a throwaway. It's my favourite off the album !
    Boobooatomicon May 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's an allegory to the fall of the British Empire
    nsutliffon May 12, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti will comment! ha. i love the part where he's all. ahem.
    '...your loverrrrrr, may not be arrrrouuundndddd, anymore!' haha. thank you, thank you.
    LiquifiedCaton June 25, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyou call this a throwaway track? this is definitely one of my favorites from the album.
    IhavegoodTasteon February 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdefinately not a throwaway. no one agrees there lol. but i agree with what you say about the songs meaning.
    joAKAmegalomaniacon July 12, 2007   Link

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