A mix of Pete Doherty's personal experiences and reports of police brutality at the London May Day Riots of 2000 formed the basis for this song. The poetic mix of love and war captured the thrill of fighting for a cause. The Libertines frontman said: "I felt like there were so many things wrong, and I didn't know where to channel it. For that moment I was with people who believed the same thing."
The song was produced by Mick Jones of The Clash. The punk band's debut single, "White Riot," was inspired by the Notting Hill riots in west London on August 30, 1976.
In September 2006, NME listed this at #2 (behind "Last Nite" by The Strokes) on its list of the 50 Greatest Tracks of the Decade.