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.
The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" came top of a 2013 Spotify poll to find out which songs music fans most commonly hear people singing incorrectly. Many believe Annie Lennox is singing: "Sweet dreams are made of cheese, who am I to disagree?"
"Cleveland Rocks" was written by an Englishman. Ian Hunter wrote the song after touring America in the late '70s and finding that Cleveland was by far the most receptive city to his brand of Glam Rock.