Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Clash - Bankrobber

Sunday, time for a classic!

"Bankrobber" is a song by THE CLASH. The song was not released on any of their studio albums, instead appearing on their compilation Super Black Market Clash. The single release included the B-side "Rockers Galore... UK Tour" (Mikey Dread)

Young Ian Brown and Pete Garner — later of THE STONE ROSES — were in attendance at the studio recording session of this single. The full account of this incident is in John Robb's Stone Roses and the Resurrection of British Pop.

THE CLASH filmed a low-budget video for the song, depicting members of the band recording the song in the studio, interspersed with CLASH roadies Baker and Johnny Green wearing bandanas over their faces, performing a bank heist in Lewisham. During the filming, Baker and Green were stopped and questioned by the police, who thought they were genuine.

The tune describes a boy whose father robs banks, but refuses to harm anybody in the process; he simply loves to live life as a criminal. Unfortunately many people took these lyrics literally, prompting sniffy critics to point out that Joe Strummer's dad was a foreign office diplomat and not actually a bankrobber. The lyrics aren't meant literally - instead they are a continuation of the themes of dead-end jobs and escaping oppression by 'the man' that run through so many CLASH songs, starting on the first album with "Career Opportunities."

The song was recorded in Pluto Studios in Manchester in early February 1980. It was the first time the band would work with Mikey Dread, a man they would collaborate with a lot over the next year (he would produce their 1980 triple-album Sandinista!). Another longtime CLASH collaborator, Mickey Gallagher, says that "Mikey got a great vibe going in the studio - he made rhythms by shaking a matchbox, or using a squeaky toy."

THE CLASH were an English punk rock band that formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk. Along with punk, their music incorporated elements of reggae, dub, funk, ska and rockabilly. For most of their recording career the Clash consisted of Joe Strummer (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Mick Jones (lead guitar, lead vocals), Paul Simonon (bass guitar, vocals) and Nicky "Topper" Headon (drums, percussion). Headon left the group in 1982, and internal friction led to Jones's departure the following year. The group continued with new members, but finally disbanded in early 1986.

Today's tune "Bankrobber" , Released on August 8, 1980

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