Gates of the West

Album: The Cost of Living (1979)

Songfacts®:

  • The music and basic tune to this song was based upon "Ooh Baby, Ooh (It's Not Over)," an early Mick Jones composition that he wrote before The Clash formed in 1976. Their first attempt at recording it was during the Give 'Em Enough Rope sessions at Basing Street Studios in May 1978, under the working title of "Rusted Chrome." The song came together in sessions in New York in September 1978 and finally completed at Wessex with engineer Bill Price (who went on to help produce the Clash albums London Calling and Sandinista!).
  • Clear influences on "Gates of the West" include "Time Is Tight" by Booker T and the MGs, of which the opening bass riff is very reminiscent (The Clash covered the song for the Black Market Clash rarities LP), and Bruce Springsteen's 1970s output.

    The lyric, "I should be jumpin' and shoutin' that I made it all this way, from Camden Town station to Fortieth and Eighth" is a deliberate nod to Mott the Hoople's "All The Way From Memphis," which includes the line "From the Liverpool Docks to the Hollywood Bowl."
  • This was included on The Cost of Living EP, and was a fan favorite. The Clash never played it live, however, which prompted one fan at a September 1979 concert at the New York Palladium to shout out a request for it. Singer Joe Strummer answered by admitting they couldn't play the song live because "it's a bit complicated!"

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