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Mick Jones and Joe Strummer wrote this about their record company's heavy-handed management. It chronicles how The Clash signed a contract and immediately lost control of their music.
The Clash were upset that CBS made them release a song called "Remote Control" as a single, and came up with this as retaliation. So in the UK in 1977, The Clash released a single they didn't like followed by another one (this) that ridiculed the decision to release the previous one. From that point on, The Clash went to great measures to get control of how their music was distributed.
This was the band's first album, but their record company would not release it in the US. This was yet another decision The Clash disagreed with.
The anti-establishment statements The Clash made on this song gave them a lot of credibility with their fans. As punk was ending, many bands were either fading away or changing their style, which was seen as selling out. The Clash managed to stay true to their values and gained a great deal of respect by doing so.
In the US, this album sold about 100,000 copies as an import, making it the biggest-selling import album of the '70s.
Mick Jones wrote most of the song. Joe Strummer ad libbed the "You're my guitar hero" bit.
This was not included in the original UK release of The Clash in 1977. When the album was released in the US in 1979, this was one of five songs added.
The Clash recorded this with Jamaican producer Lee "Scratch" Perry.
Mike Watt - "History Lesson, Pt. 2"
Mike Watt of the Minutemen tells the story of the song that became an Indie Rock touchstone. It's also the story of what Mike calls "The Movement."
The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.
Dino Cazares of Fear Factory
The guitarist/songwriter explains how he came up with his signature sound, and deconstructs some classic Fear Factory songs.