Now the king told the boogie men
You have to let that raga drop
The oil down the desert way
Has been shakin' to the top
The Sheik he drove his Cadillac
He went a' cruisin' down the ville
The muezzin was a' standing
On the radiator grille

[Chorus:]
The Shareef don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah
The Shareef don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah

By order of the prophet
We ban that boogie sound
Degenerate the faithful
With that craazy Casbah sound
But the Bedouin they brought out
The electric camel drum
The local guitar picker
Got his guitar picking thumb
As soon as the Shareef
Had cleared the square
They began to wail

[Chorus:]

Now over at the temple
Oh! They really pack 'em in
The in crowd say it's cool
To dig this chanting thing
But as the wind changed direction
The temple band took five
The crowd caught a wiff
Of that crazy Casbah jive

[Chorus:]

The king called up his jet fighters
He said you better earn your pay
Drop your bombs between the minarets
Down the Casbah way

As soon as the Shareef was
Chauffeured outta there
The jet pilots tuned to
The cockpit radio blare

As soon as the Shareef was
Outta their hair
The jet pilots wailed

[Chorus:]

He thinks it's not kosher
Fundamentally he can't take it.
You know he really hates it.



Lyrics submitted by Brock256

"Rock the Casbah" as written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Topper Headon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


Rock the Casbah song meanings
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106 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment:the casbah is a sector of Algerias capital Algiers that is largely avoided by most algerians and other outsiders for fear of their lives. So feared is the Casbah that police don't enter the region unless heavily armed. More than 20 police have been murdered in the Casbah since 1992.
    The Casbah has served as an impregnable warren against Ottoman invaders and French colonialists. It is now the hotbed of resistance against Algeria's military regime - an Islamic insurgency that has resulted in the death of more than 60,000 people in the last five years.
    The old Casbah was renowned for its tolerant atmosphere. Native Arabs rubbed shoulders with Jews, Spaniards, Portuguese and French. But that tolerance has disappeared and the sector remains isolated.



    WhatAnAnderson May 19, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:Hey this is what I found at allmusic.com:

    AMG EXPERT REVIEW: After enduring five years as a cult act in the U.S., the Clash finally broke through on the U.S. charts with a Top Ten hit in the form of "Rock the Casbah." The lyrics, penned by Joe Strummer, were inspired by a news report of Iranians being flogged for the crime of owning a disco album and create an amusing fantasy where a disco-hating sharif is defied by everyone from the citizens to his own air force as he tries to stamp out "that crazy Casbah sound." The music lives up to the playful style of the lyrics with a rollicking melody that contrasts simple verse melodies that bounce up and down in a dance-friendly style with a shoutalong chorus that uses stuttered notes to create a punchy rhythm. The Clash's recording began as a short demo by Topper Headon consisting of a funky bass/drums vamp with some ticklish piano riffs on top. The rest of the band looped and remixed to it to a proper song length and fleshed it out with funky yet fiery electric guitar riffs, more percussion and an array of electronic sound effects. The result was a song that was tough enough for rock fans but rhythmic enough to appeal to dance music lovers. A combination of live exposure via a tour with the Who and a video on the then-new MTV network helped "Rock the Casbah" shoot to number eight on the U.S. pop charts. It remains a favorite on classic rock radio today and is frequently played by sarcastic disc jockeys whenever there is a military situation in the Middle East (example: it got a lot of airplay during the Persian Gulf War). — Donald A. Guarisco
    punkemofanon August 19, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:If you don't like a specific song or lose respect for a band because they have become popular, then you are a fucking moron.

    As for selling out. I want you all to form a band and deny the 3 million dollar record deal; becuase I'm sure that you would so you would aviod "selling out".
    myfriendoakon May 24, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:It's a little ignorant to call The Clash sell outs, when it is widely known they were never entirely driven by money. Ticket and album/ cd etc prices were kept very reasonable even at the height of their popularity. They were insistant that their double and triple album sets be sold for the prices of normal albums [about a fiver, back then], which they had to eventually compromise for £5.99, but they forfeited all of their royalties. They refused to sacrifice their principles and thus were in debt to CBS Records until 1982, when they only just broke even. Not quite sell outs.
    Furthermore, they're not pop punk; I doubt it even existed back in the first wave of punk in the UK.. they were punk rock, and drew their influences from all over the musical spectrum, including reggae, rockabilly and in turn influencing hip hop, ska, britpop, alternative rock, punk pop, reggae etc.
    Ingidoon January 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:wow, Aebassist and WhatAnAnders... good interpretations! i did a lil searching on the internet about "the casbah" and the ban of western music in the middle east. i think it could go either way.... but i wouldve never guessed either of those things... good job you two!
    dizziness61on June 06, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:thats a little harsh disco blows dogs. Did you read anything about what was written above of the meaning of the song? Maybe it is about more than you thought.
    lyrastaron March 19, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Are we getting into the whole "sellout" debate again? I don't think Joe Strummer had "HIT" in mind when he wrote this, especially seeing as it was written about pertinent world affairs. The notion of selling out is shit. So what if a radio station picks up a song or two??? What I can't stand is bands dramatically changing their sound in order not to "sellout" and in the process creating and album that is virtually unlistenable
    Unky_Rulyon June 07, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:good charlotte and the clash shouldn't be used in the same sentence.
    pianic88on May 20, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Joe wrote the lyrics in a car, in about an hour. The king called the boogiemen you got to let that ragga drop... "the king" their manager, the "raga" is Combat Rock... way overdue in the studio (get the f-ing record out, boys). The rest is middle eastern nonsense about rock being outlawed, and arab/jew's being able to groove to the funky beats together.
    arfarfon June 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:The song was inspired by the banning of rock music in Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini. The song gives a fictitious account of the ban being defied by the population who proceed to "rock the casbah", causing the King to order jet fighters to bomb the revellers. The pilots ignore the orders, and instead play rock music on their cockpit radios.
    JeffKaos71on March 10, 2006   Link

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