"(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais" as written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon....
Midnight to six man
For the first time from Jamaica
Dillinger and Leroy Smart
Delroy Wilson, your cool operator

Ken Boothe for UK pop reggae
With backing bands sound systems
And if they've got anything to say
There's many black ears here to listen

But it was Four Tops all night with encores from stage right
Charging from the bass knives to the treble
But onstage they ain't got no roots rock rebel
Onstage they ain't got no roots rock rebel

Dress back jump back, this is a bluebeat attack
'Cause it won't get you anywhere
Fooling with the guns
The British Army is waiting out there
An' it weighs fifteen hundred tons

White youth, black youth
Better find another solution
Why not phone up Robin Hood
And ask him for some wealth distribution

Punk rockers in the UK
They won't notice anyway
They're all too busy fighting
For a good place under the lighting

The new groups are not concerned
With what there is to be learned
They got Burton suits, ha, you think it's funny
Turning rebellion into money

All over people changing their votes
Along with their overcoats
If Adolf Hitler flew in today
They'd send a limousine anyway

I'm the all night drug-prowling wolf
Who looks so sick in the sun
I'm the white man in the Palais
Just lookin' for fun

I'm only
Looking for fun

I'm only
Looking for fun


Lyrics submitted by aebassist

"(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais" as written by Mick Jones Joe Strummer

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais song meanings
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57 Comments

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  • +12
    General CommentSo Joe Strummer is in the Palais with the black kids to see some reggae, and he hopes it'll be like black punk, radical and political, really really good. But it turns out to be just pop music and the groups are more bothered about getting a good spot than actually saying anything. Which he thinks is a shame, because lots of black people who would be receptive to a political message and there, and the opportunity to radicalise them is lost, a chance to change the world has not been seized. Rather than rebellion, it's rebellion packaged for capitalist means, which ironically is pretty much the definition of mass market rock and roll. The song ends with Strummer, ironically, stating that he's just looking for fun, when actually he's been looking for an awful lot more. He attacks apolitical bands, conservatives, fascists and racists. What more can you want in four minutes of music?
    ntwjoneson January 08, 2006   Link
  • +6
    General CommentBrilliant, brilliant song. The Clash are just having a moan at everyone who isn't as sincere as they are - the sell-out ex-punks, stupid violence junkies, idealistic socialists, Conservative voters and of course people who aren't *really* into reggae.
    Rich_Mon May 27, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song was about them going along to see some reggae bands at Hammersmith and being dissappointed by their apparant selling out.
    Fat Tedon October 18, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentphenomenal, fucking phenomenal
    Fred39on March 05, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentntwjones is right, this is in no way about petty bickering (ironically it is, but there is an edge against it: it is not the message in itself).
    JASGripenon September 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe first part is the disappointment felt by Joe after being exited at the prospect of seeing the artists mentioned live and then being let down by their total lack of soul.
    The NEW GROUPS are the JAM and it refers to a quote from Paul Weller in 1979 where he said "If there was a general election tomorrow I would vote tory" and at the same time the JAM sing of rebellion to line Mr Weller's pockets. Remember the Style Council!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Conkerson September 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentrocks and the clash are the best punk band to grace the planet!!!!
    Die_Soon_Hopefullyon July 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentabsolutely great song...

    xxxxx
    rahtwinkleon August 24, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBroke up the 101'ers because of the sex pistols. somehow i forgot to put in the that little part.
    Morbadumon April 20, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, the Clash had a pretty good relationship with the 'Pistols.
    shadowwiththeeyeson September 17, 2004   Link

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