"Guns on the Roof" as written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon....
I swear by Almighty God
To tell the whole truth
And nothing but the truth

Guns guns
They torture all the women and children
Then they've put the men to the gun
'cause across the human frontier
Freedom's always on the run

Guns guns a-shaking in terror
Guns guns killing in error
Guns guns guilty hands
Guns guns shatter the lands

A system built by the sweat of the many
Creates assassins to kill off the few
Take any place and call it a court house
This is a place where no judge can stand

Sue the lawyers and burn all the papers
Unlock the key of the legal papers
A jury of a billion faces
Shouted out condemned out of hand

Guns guns, and nobody's kidding
Guns guns, or foolin' around
Guns guns, the violence is singing
Guns guns, a silence the sound

'N I like to be in Africa
A-beatin' on the final drum
'N I like to be in U.S.S.R.
Makin' sure these things will come
'N I like to be in U.S.A.
Pretending that the wars are done
'N I like to be in Europa
Saying goodbye to everyone

Guns guns there's guns on the roof
Guns guns they're made to shoot

Lyrics submitted by aebassist, edited by Mellow_Harsher, rb3868

"Guns on the Roof" as written by Mick Jones Joe Strummer

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Guns on the Roof song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThe song is about global terrorism, war and corruption, it was partly inspired by an incident that resulted in the Metropolitan Police's armed anti-terrorist squad raiding The Clash's Camden Market base. Paul Simonon and Topper Headon were arrested and charged with criminal damage (and later and fined £750) for shooting racing pigeons with an air-gun from the roof of their rehearsal building.
    Johnny M.on October 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read somewhere this song was written about (or at least inspired by) the time when Paul Simonon and Joe Strummer got arrested for shooting pigeons on a roof. The first bit (spoken: "I swear by Almighty God...") probably resembles their trial... the rest I believe is criticising the system that got them in that situation.

    Put your opinions down, they're probably more coherent than mine!
    colabottleon July 06, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit is about the time they got arrested for shooting the pigeons, only it was Paul Simonon and Topper Headon
    queenjaneon September 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, I've heard, that's a myth.
    sidewalk91on December 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits unlock the keys of the legal rapers nor papers
    Punker_Kenon January 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt did take place during the time of the pigeons killing. During that time was the recording of Give em enough rope ~78ish

    Watch the movie Rude Boy they kinda talk about it and mention it.
    sloeeon August 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs it me or does this song seem like a rip-off (be it intentional or not) of Clash City Rockers?
    TastethePavementon August 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe intro riff at the begining was lifted directly from The Who's 'Can't Explain' - a major influence on The Clash (especially Strummer) and many other punk bands.
    Deathsdoor99on February 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTastethePavement:
    i think joe said in a couple of interviews that this song and clash city rockers both ripped off the riff from cant explain. i guess they really liked it.
    tricksinesson May 21, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPaul and Topper were detained in jail, and Bernie Rhodes, the then-manger refused to bail them out - I think Micks girlfriend ended up paying bail for Paul and Topper, but the other two were left in for a while longer. It is thought that this is one of the flash-points that led to the sacking of Bernie Rhodes
    LauraJoon January 07, 2009   Link

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