"The Guns of Brixton" as written by and Paul Simonon....
When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

When the law break in
How you gonna go?
Shot down on the pavement
Or waiting on death row

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh, the guns of Brixton

The money feels good
And your life you like it well
But surely your time will come
As in heaven, as in hell

You see, he feels like Ivan
Born under the Brixton sun
His game is called survivin'
At the end of the harder they come

You know it means no mercy
They caught him with a gun
No need for the Black Maria
Goodbye to the Brixton sun

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
But oh-the guns of Brixton

When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

You can crush us
You can bruise us
Yes, even shoot us
But oh-the guns of Brixton

Shot down on the pavement
Waiting in death row
His game is called survivin'
As in heaven as in hell

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh, the guns of Brixton
Oh, the guns of Brixton
Oh, the guns of Brixton
Oh, the guns of Brixton


Lyrics submitted by aebassist

"The Guns of Brixton" as written by Paul Simonon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Guns of Brixton song meanings
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46 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentThe Brixton riots in South London actually predates Guns of Brixton. From what I've read about this song, books and all, it captured the frustrations of the people of Brixton. Their anger at police brutality and oppression and the associated economic position that many black migrants into London at the time found themselves in. As has already been mentioned there are a lot of plays on words with the Ivan lyric!

    Great band, vive le clash!
    Proflyactiveon April 07, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentCorrect me if I’m wrong someone, but isn’t this song about yardie gangsters? For any non-Brits reading this, yardies are ruthless Jamaican gangsters, so called because they have a reputation for shooting people on their own doorsteps i.e. in the ‘yard’ of their homes. Most yardie gangs operate in or near Brixton in south London.
    kinginkon June 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthere they're saying we have to make a choice between letting oppression go on "With your hands on your head" or confronting it "on the trigger of your gun".
    schlieffenon May 23, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNouvelle Vague (Whoever she is) did a brilliant, soft lounge-type cover of this song, great stuff. Personally one of my favorites, and yes this song has a great bassline.
    JoE][BoXeRon January 26, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPaul Siminon grew up in Brixton (part of the reason why The Clash were so influenced by reggae was their closeness to the black community). Anyway the place was full of gun violence and police oppression. It says when the police come for you, you can either give up and arrested, where you'll likely end up in death row, or you could confront the police where you'll likely end up being shot down, either way you can shortly die.

    About personal connections with it, I live pretty close to the Philadelphia suburbs so any time the local news is on you're bound to be hit with stories about shootings and crime and awol cops; they just go down the list of unsafe neighborhoods where this is always happening. So this song always reminds me of that.
    Balleron August 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song kicks ass. Simonon wrote it as a tune up and the others added in their own chords. Then Simonon said he had penned some words and tried to get Joe to sing them but he tried to get Paul to sing it, when he refused claiming he couldn't sing the band refused to play it unless he sang it and I'm pleased they did he does it perfectly. The Brixton riots were I'm pretty sure race riots just the blacks Vs cops which seemed pretty common back then.
    Cpt-Sensibleon August 22, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is so badass its ridiculous. Favorite Clash song easily
    SLMitchellon September 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI don't think this is the straight anthem of resistance as it is generally seen. It is a double message. The main story is about the futility of the gangster life, which will end in violence one way or another. The Ivan character lives well on his criminal acts but the reckoning will come. In the end his only choice will be death or jail. There is no good option when an armed police team is at the door.

    The chorus strikes a note of fighting the power. Maybe the connection is that just as the criminal will eventually meet his fate, the forces of oppression must eventually confront the rebellion they incite. Everyone gets the violence they deserve.
    bcaulfon December 22, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentno one commented yet? losers :P

    song = quality.
    Kayla610on September 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is one of The Clash's best.
    UnderTheBridge123on April 27, 2003   Link

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