"English Civil War (Johnny Comes Marching Home)" as written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon....
When Johnny comes
Marching home again
He's coming by bus or underground
A woman's eye will shed a tear
To see his face so beaten in fear
An' it was just around the corner in the English civil war

It was still at the stage of clubs and fists
When that well-known face got beaten to bits
Your face was blue in the light of the screen
As we watched the speech of an animal scream
The new party army was marching right over our heads

Alright

There you are, ha ha, I told you so
Says everybody that we know
But who hid a radio under the stairs
An' who got caught out on their unawares?
When that new party army came marching right up the stairs

When johnny comes marching home again
Nobody understands it can happen again
The sun is shining an' the kids are shouting loud
But you gotta know it's shining through a crack in the cloud
And the shadows keep falling when Johnny comes marching home


Lyrics submitted by aebassist, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"English Civil War" as written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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English Civil War (Johnny Comes Marching Home) song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentJoe Strummer said the song was about his fears of the rise of the far right in England, as at the time the Clash were popular, the National Front were becoming worryingly strong... I always interpreted the "nobody understands it could happen again" bit as referring to the rise of a right-wing dictatorship in European countries (eg Nazi Germany) - and the refrence to hiding radios under the stairs and the "new party army" seem to back this up. Great song though, the tune is perfect and creates an air of an ominous militant build-up.
    Indiemonkeyon March 06, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about the street fights taking place around the rise of the national front in britain.
    Morbadumon March 27, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthurah! hurah!
    sabresfanwp7on November 26, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think ,it was about civil unrest in the time between the Thatcherist government and the people of the United Kingdom. For example, the closing of the mines.
    Plastic_boyon June 20, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe New Party were a pro-nazi facist party set up in the 1930s in England. The members and supporters of the party (the New Party Army) would raid communist meetings, bash non-white people and jewish people in the street. So i'm pretty sure that The New Party Army is that New Party. Could be about the large amount of skinhead, facist nuts that were invading punk gigs at the time, I don't know. But the New Party thing ties in with what Indiemonkey was saying.
    choosebroon July 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentChoosebro and Indiemonkey have it right: Strummer is referring to the resurgent skinhead/fascist/National Front fascist movement in England and linking it to the "New Party" in the 30s that became increasingly sympathetic to Hitler.
    playadel2001on November 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPlayed to a very similar tune of a childrens song about Ants. I'm not quite sure exactly what it's about, my best guess is Johnny returning home from a concert beaten badly in the mosh-pit.
    punkintendedon June 21, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't have a clue. But this tune was a traditional tune, arranged by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones with these words. I thought this song was about getting beaten up on the streets for being different (at a guess)... with the 'new party army' being one crowd, and Johnny being an outsider.
    colabottleon July 06, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about street gangs in london still at the stage of clubs and fists!!
    aceospades91on April 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti always thought it was about the situation in ireland. that fits all the puzzle pieces, with "english civil war"
    "the new party army" johnny being a soldier, and stuff.
    punkrawkrebelon January 25, 2005   Link

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