"(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 CommentThe first part was written by Joe Strummer after he went to a reggae concert featurin "Dillinger, Leroy Smart, Delroy Wilson..." He expected the concert to be really political, but it sounded like commercial pop, so he was upset. Then the song goes on to talk about wealth distribution in the UK, and mentions Hitler, referring to the rise of facism in England. Basically, this song is talking about alot of the problems in England at that time. (In Strummers opinion). This was also one of Strummers favourite songs by the Clash, and was played at his funeral.
    eludzenskion May 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBoHo: Your version doesn't make sense. How do newsgroups turn success into money.

    The way it's written now is so PERFECT because he's criticising the punk scene when it's only been alive for about 2-3 years.

    And oddly enough, it makes even more sense today! Which is why, when 311 covered it (while I have mixed feelings about that cover) they can simply change it to "Punk rockers in LA" instead of "Punk rockers in the UK".

    I actually work that section into a performance piece I do, and simply change it to "Punk rockers in this modern day" and it still works. Okay, so I change a few other things too, but it would still work with just that slight change.
    truthbealiaron June 07, 2006   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 Commentfavourite song of all time! just above desolation row and waterloo sunset, digs at the jam, english society in general, young ignorant bands(like sham 69?), people selling out, which joe never did, he kept it real, throuout hiswhole life, a true hardworker, even cut the crap is...er, forgiveable...kinda, i first heard the clash about 2 weeks before he died, and already understood fully why my mum was distraught
    hoitsmithon September 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of my favs, its incredible! The reggae instrumentals rock while it has some nice guitar accion, but for me the best of it are the lyrics, talking about the superficial and comercial bands of the late 70's. Its utterly true and the sound is really good. The next station is Hammersmith, change here for the hammersmith & City lines, please mind the gap between the train and the station. Mind the gap, mind the gap, mind the gap, mind The Clash!
    Drum_Headon January 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe 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


    one of my favorite lines in a song
    ever
    Jake_Lon July 17, 2007   Link

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