The kingdom is ransacked
The jewels all taken back
And the chopper descends
They're hidden in the back
With a message written on a half-baked potato
The spool goes 'round
Sayin' I'm back here in this place
And I could cry
And there's smoke you could click on

What are we gonna do now?

Taking off his turban, they said, "is this man a Jew?"
'Cause they're working for the clampdown
They put up a poster saying: "We earn more than you
We're working for the clampdown
We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers"

The judge said, five to ten, but I say double that again
I'm not working for the clampdown
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown
Kick over the wall 'cause government's to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
Do you know that you can use it?

The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there's nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
The men at the factory are old and cunning
You don't owe nothing, boy, get runnin'
It's the best years of your life they want to steal

But you grow up and you calm down
And working for the clampdown
You start wearing blue and brown
You're working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It make you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
Make your first kill now

In these days of evil Presidentes
Working for the clampdown
But lately one or two has fully paid their due
For working for the clampdown
Ha! Get along! Get along! (working for the clampdown)
Ha! Get along! Get along! (working for the clampdown)

Yeah, I'm working hard in Harrisburg
Working hard in Petersburg
Working for the clampdown
Working for the clampdown
Ha! Get along! Get along!
Beggin' to be melted down

(Get along! Get along!)

Work, work, work
And I'll give away no secrets
Work, work, more work, more work
Work, work, work, work, work

Who's barmy now?

Lyrics submitted by aebassist

Clampdown Lyrics as written by Mick Jones Joe Strummer

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Clampdown song meanings
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  • +5
    General Comment
    I don't know if i am the only person that sees this, but the first few lines of the song have pretty strong references to nazis and Hitler's regime. "Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew?" "We will teach our twisted speech To the young believers We will train our blue-eyed men To be young believers " Adolf Hitler brainwashed the blue eyed/blonde haired German youth to be "young believers". CP
    CubanPunkon April 22, 2003   Link
  • +4
    General Comment
    you don't need to have been alive in the seventies to love the clash: 15 years old and they're possibly my favourite band!
    simonon3on April 16, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    I think this song's about people who lose their idealism as they get older, and try to conform.
    posterwithnonameon March 27, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    Here is the REAL definition of this song. Those Hitler-esque statements were only metaphorical...look deeper people. "Yeah" [Joe] Strummer begins, "this song and our overall message was to wake-up, pay attention to what really is going on around you, politically, socially all of it...before you know it you have become what you despise." The song is a pointed and stark account of work in Darwinian capitalist society. At its core, the song presents the contradictions that force us to believe that if only we work hard, don't complain, and don't rock the boat, we can get ahead. Step on whomever you wish, it doesn't matter, just look our for number one. The song expressed the anxieties of working-class youth who were wanted only for menial jobs, to be part of the state's repressive apparatus, or to join racist right-wing movements. The same song also advocates an alternative, a common Strummer theme, the need for working-class rebellion.… Go there for some insightful Clash what if I copied's 3 am and i'm too tired to flip thru my NME's. by the the crud who wrote this; "Kick over the wall 'cause government's to fall" - a reference to Berlin 1986?"...moron. London Calling was released in 1979. No wonder there are no posts for the Clash. No one knows anything about them. Sad.
    felixCostelloon October 13, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    Though there are certainly allusions being made to Marxist-leninist styles of mass oppression this song to me is about the indoctrination of youth into general systems of power... whether they be national governments or work and consume business cultures. So often we see those that wear suits and think of them as having some kind of extra legitimacy for their success but it's a self-depraving lie. There's nothing incredibly wrong with a business lifestyle but there's equally nothing wrong with a free spirited one, especially when you're younger. So live and enjoy things.
    TSandrewson July 27, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    i love this song... as a business major, it's something that i've always kept in my head... that i'll never turn into one of them... i absolutely love this line "No man born with a living soul Can be working for the clampdown"... and yet i've seen the effect money has on people who are generally good and the destruction it causes... don't be a corporate slave!
    nyrangerfan123on April 30, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    This song is quite clearly about oppression and revolution, obvious themes in Clash lyrics. The first verse refers to the Nazis, with lines like, "Is this man a Jew?" and "We will teach our blue-eyed men to be young believers." They also touched upon the situation of workers, how they're jobs can seem to be a type of tyranny as well. Certainly against the situation of the average factory worker. However, there is a call for revolution, although its not clear if they mean a peaceful type (as I imagine they do) or one achieved through violence. They general took stances against violence. However, the make refers to "evil presidentes" how have "fully paid their dues" which seems like a clear referrence to the success of the Sandinista rebellion, which displaced the government in Nicaragua through civil war in the year this album was released. They also later gave their name to the band's next album (that, obviously is "Sandinista!"). "The wall" in this song, may indeed refer to the Berlin Wall, as, although the Clash is generally socialist politically, they did seem to criticize the Soviet's (although more so the Americans) in "The Washington Bullets." However, this could be a metaphor, referring to any restraints on people's freedom.
    Razin1670on February 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    This song does have several references to the Nazi Government and thier ideals, such as the references to the Jews earning less than the "blue-eyed young believers". I also found the lyrics: "You start wearing blue and brown/working for the clampdown." could be used as references to Hitler's private armies, the SA and the SS, who's uniforms were blue and brown. This is one of my favorate songs by The Clash. Period.
    myfriendoakon May 24, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    rage against the machine did an absolutely terrible version of this song that i found on the net one time. yeah i wear blue for my clampdown job, im quitting soon though, it is true, you get treated badly working for big companies. oh and the strokes are shit alanna07.
    joeytheboyon March 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    the nearly indecipherable bit at the beginning of the song? deciphered! "The kingdom is ransacked, the jewels all taken back And the chopper descends They're hidden in the back, with a message on a half-baked tape With the spool going round, saying I'm back here in this place And I could cry And there's smoke you could click on" courtesy of Ade Marks (not me!)
    missilepenguinon May 25, 2007   Link

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