"Complete Control" as written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon....
They said release 'Remote Control'
But we didn't want it on the label
They said, "Fly to Amsterdam"
The people laughed but the press went mad

Ooh ooh ooh someone's really smart
Ooh ooh ooh complete control, that's a laugh

On the last tour my mates couldn't get in
I'd open up the back door but they'd get run out again
At every hotel we was met by the Law
Come for the party - come to make sure!

Ooh ooh ooh have we done something wrong?
Ooh ooh ooh complete control, even over this song

They said we'd be artistically free
When we signed that bit of paper
They meant let's make a lotsa mon-ee
An' worry about it later

Ooh ooh ooh I'll never understand
Ooh ooh ooh complete control - lemme see your other hand!

All over the news spread fast
They're dirty, they're filthy
They ain't gonna last!

This is Joe Public speaking
I'm controlled in the body, controlled in the mind

Total
See-o-n control - that means you!


Lyrics submitted by aebassist

"Complete Control" as written by Mick Jones Joe Strummer

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Complete Control song meanings
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25 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentdo i have to do everything? no one wrote about this song. Well, anyway, it's a pretty important one b/c it was their reaction to CBS releasing "remote control" without their permission. "They said we'd be artistically free
    When we signed that bit of paper
    They meant let's make a lotsa mon-ee
    An' worry about it later
    queenjaneon September 28, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAll over the news spread fast
    They're dirty, they're filthy
    They ain't going to last!

    As predicted, with file sharing the record labels are losing their control over music. God bless Pirate Bay! And God bless The Clash, happy birthday Mick
    ThePhonographicon June 26, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is my favorite clash song. the best off their first album, in my opinion. great song talking about dealing with record labels and the control they have over the artists on the label.
    akira_256on October 28, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentafter the second verse, does Joe say "You're my guitar hero!"? If so why isnt it in the lyrics?
    benmuzzon May 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe most punk song ever written.
    plaincl0thesmanon March 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentdoesnt joe say
    "i dont trust you, so why do you trust me?" right before the last verse?
    newkickson January 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"On the last tour, my mates couldn't get in/I'd open up the back door, but they'd get run out again" Clash were always so good to their fans, I love how at gigs they used to open up the back door so fans without tickets could sneak in.
    iamrickenforton November 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentQueenjane is right.
    They were pissed off that CBS released "Remote Control" as a single when they didn't want to, so they released this as a reaction to the label's heavy-handed bullshit. So The Clash released a single they didn't like followed by this one, which ridiculed the decision to release the previous one.
    I don't know if this has anything to do with the decision not to release their album in the US till much later, but since it's on the first album, probably not.
    shadowwiththeeyeson November 22, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYep, this song is basically a big "F" you to their record company, great song though, one of the few bands that stayed true to the punk idealogy right there.
    JoE][BoXeRon November 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthaving forgotten the tune for the moment, i began simply reading this instead of singing it to myself. It's a pretty dry read, but once I remembered the melody, i realized again what a great songwriting team Strummer/Jones were. Read the verse:
    They said release 'Remote Control'
    But we didn't want it on the label
    They said, "Fly to Amsterdam"
    The people laughed but the press went mad

    then sing it to yourself. It's making gold out of stone. For some reason I credit Jones as more the melody man, and Strummer the lyricist, although I'm sure those roles switched often. It's quite frustrating to not know who had more of a hand in which song. Almost all of them are Strummer/Jones compositions, and it's more of a meshed collaboration than say Lennon/McCartney, where the writer=singer.

    American industry reaction to the album's release was so cautionary, they're really two very different records. I haven't heard the US release in awhile, but I'm pretty sure I prefer the UK version.
    Chinupon December 05, 2004   Link

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