Smash It Up

Album: Machine Gun Etiquette (1979)
Charted: 35
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • The second single to be released from The Damned's Machine Gun Etiquette album, this was banned from BBC Radio 1's playlist because of its perceived anarchic lyrics. However the song still managed to become a minor hit in the winter of 1979 and subsequently the band's unofficial anthem.
  • The song is in a two-part form: an instrumental segueing into an energetic pop-punk song that criticized hippie culture. Guitarist Captain Sensible originally conceived the tune as one half of a four part suite and although the first two sections appeared on the Machine Gun Etiquette album, the last couple didn't surface until the release of 2004's Smash It Up: 25th Anniversary Edition EP.
  • On the Machine Gun Etiquette album the two sections are listed separately as "Smash It Up (Part 1)" and "Smash It Up (Part 2)."
  • The instrumental first part served as a tribute to the late T Rex frontman Marc Bolan, with whom The Damned toured in 1977. Captain Sensible recalled to Uncut magazine May 2014: "I was in a deck chair in my parents garden catching up on some sleep. When I was awoken by my mum saying, 'Your mate, what's his name, Roley, Boley? He's died in a car crash.' I hope she didn't mean Marc Bolan."

    "I locked myself in my room and picked up the guitar," he continued. "The sad Part 1 of 'Smash it Up' pretty much wrote itself, and is a tribute to Marc. While other old-guard rockers like (Phil) Collins and (Keith) Richards loathed punk, he actually really dug it."
  • The irony of the title only hit Captain Sensible years after he wrote the song. He told Uncut: "Part 1 is the calm before the storm. It creates a dreamy, vibe that would be shattered by Part 2's mania. Bolan died in a car crash and Part 1 is written for him. Part 2 wasn't, but with a title like 'Smash it Up' it seems incredible that it wasn't intended to be about his car crash. I only realized this a few years ago. It was subliminal songwriting."
  • The Offspring covered the song in 1995 for the soundtrack to the film Batman Forever. Their version was released as a single peaking at #16 on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up MusiciansSong Writing

Eddie (played by Johnny Depp in the video) found fame fleeting, but Chuck Berry's made-up musician fared better.

TV Theme SongsFact or Fiction

Was a Beatles song a TV theme? And who came up with those Fresh Prince and Sopranos songs?

Verdine White of Earth, Wind & FireSongwriter Interviews

The longtime bassist of Earth, Wind & Fire discusses how his band came to do a holiday album, and offers insight into some of the greatest dance/soul tunes of all-time.

Art Alexakis of EverclearSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer of Everclear, Art is also their primary songwriter.

Boy BandsFact or Fiction

From NKOTB to 1D, how well do you know your boy bands?

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredSong Writing

Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.