Listen

Album: Super Black Market Clash (1977)

Songfacts®:

  • One of The Clash's few instrumental tracks (another being their cover of Booker T. & the M.G.'s "Time Is Tight"), "Listen" was one of the first songs ever written by The Clash, and featured as the set opener at their first ever show in July 1976. Singer Joe Strummer tells a story in the Westway to the World documentary that bassist Paul Simonon was so nervous that he completely messed up the bass intro to the song, while Simonon himself admits, "I just wanted to jump around a bit!"
  • Oddly, this song seems only to have ever been played live once - at that first-ever show - but in April 1977 when The Clash required a B-side for an NME mail-order single (the A-side being "Capital Radio"), they chose to record this song for it. It doesn't appear that they took much care in recording - some parts of the recording are badly out of tune, with Strummer's guitar falling completely out of the mix at certain points, and the whole thing appears to be a throwaway to fill space on the single in lieu of not having any other songs going spare to record.
  • Two versions of the song exist: the one from the original NME single which features samples from a Tony Parsons interview with The Clash conducted on a Circle line tube train in central London, and a clean version with no samples which was eventually released on the rarities compilation Super Black Market Clash.

Comments: 1

  • Peter From Nz from Wellington New Zealand An underrated song from the only band that matters.
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