"Four Horsemen" as written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon....
Well they were given the grapes that go ripe in the sun
That loosen the screws at the back of the tongue
But they told no one where they had begun
Four horsemen

They were given all the foods of vanity
And all the instant promises of immortality
But they bit the dust screamin' insanity!
Four horsemen

One was over the edge, one was over the cliff
One was lickin' 'em dry with a bloody great spliff
When they picked up the hiker he didn't want the lift
From the horsemen

But you!
You're not searching, are you now?
You're not looking anyhow
You're never gonna ride that lonely mile
Or put yourself up on trial
Oh, you told me how your life was so bad
An' I agree that it does seem sad
But that's the price that you gotta pay
If you're lazing all around all day
Four horsemen coming right through
Four horsemen and they're pissing by you
They make you look like you're wearing a truss
Four horsemen and it's gonna be us

Well they gave us everything for bending the mind
And we cleaned out their pockets and we drank 'em blind
It's a long way to the finish so don't get left behind
By those horsemen

And they gave us the grapes that went ripe in the sun
That loosen the screws at the back of the tongue
But we still told nothing 'bout what was to come
Four horsemen


Lyrics submitted by aebassist

"Four Horsemen" as written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Four Horsemen song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +3
    My OpinionThe outro lyrics run differently, and are not as metaphoric. I listened to the fragment umpteen times just now and looked through the internets, and I came up with this:
    "We play all your rock and roll
    We know your rockin' soul
    We reach the parts other combos cannot reach!
    We reach the beaches/beachheads other armies cannot reach!
    We've reached the top of the mountain they cannot reach!"
    (That's sing365.com for you.)
    Anyway, I think it's plain to see the song references Westerns, as Clash songs did several times, and as usual, the reference is antisystemic. And it is about The Clash as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - the system tried to buy them, but they didn't sell out, and they reached the heights while making lazy people realize there's a war to be won.
    I also think the "grapes that loosen the screws at the back of the tongue" was the wine that the CEOs served them to learn what their next project, "London Calling" was to be like (and about). And, as is well known, they signed a deal for a single album with a set price, and made a double album while the CEOs' hands were tied.
    zdzison October 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is really good, love the lyrics one of my favorites.

    The outro is not listed but i think its something like

    "
    We played all your rock n roll
    We know your rock n roll
    We read the book of the conquerors, it cannot be
    We read the speeches of the kuran, it cannot be
    We read the book of the conquerors

    We played your rock n roll
    We know your know rock roll (x2)"
    sloeeon May 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is awesome!

    I would guess that the 4 horseman refers to the biblical notion that 4 horsemen: white, red, black, pale, which forebode the apocalypse, or in a personal sense, perhaps death.

    I am not too sure about the lyrics, they seem to have a flavor of acting in a meaningful way before those horseman get you-don't sit around bitching about how unjust or bad life is if you don't try to do anything about it. Drugs and holding yourself up to your own (perhaps lofty) standards-put yourself on trial are featured as well.
    floating_eyeon June 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it means that although the four horsemen died they still had more fun than the people who lie back and play it safe because they did what they wanted and lived their lives, although i dont quite understand why they say four horsemen, it must have some kind of meaning
    nevermindthebollockson January 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think the four horsemen represents death and the song is about death and they are talking about themselves or people they know and nobody likes them and there on drugs or have a bad life that's why the song has we and others and there getting old and going to die
    josevargas1995on November 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis is about one of the Clash's biggest influences: the Sex Pistols, and how they destroyed themselves. The "four horsemen" are Jonny Rotten, Steve Jones, Sid Vicious and Paul Cook.
    willc93on December 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about the Clash guys themselves....

    One was over the edge, one was over the cliff
    One was lickin' em dry with a bloody great spliff
    When they picked up the hiker he didn't want the lift
    From the horsemen

    The spliff guy is obviously Mick Jones, the Hiker who didnt want the lift was Terry Chimes the original drummer.

    They are just singing about the themselves...... "Four hosemen and it's gonna be us"

    punkstabbintimeon February 07, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt took me a while to realize this song's brilliance, but now for me its one of the highlights of London Calling. I'm glad Sloee added the outro lyrics, because for me the Four Horsemen of the title are in fact the Four Horsemen of Rock and Roll. Definately. The Clash, the Pistols, Elvis, the stones--in general just any rockers, past, present, and future who changed the game by the way they rocked.
    bahoevelon December 01, 2010   Link

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