Every week, Rich Terfry looks back in our Rear-view Mirror at a great song from the good ol’ days. This week, The Clash with "Should I Stay or Should I Go".
In 1982, tensions were high within the ranks of The Clash, one of the most influential rock bands of all-time. "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" is the soundtrack of the original lineup breaking up before our eyes.
As The Clash was recording the album Combat Rock, drummer Topper Headon was struggling with heroin addiction, which was affecting his health and his performance as a musician. Joe Strummer and Mick Jones were getting on each other's nerves. It's been said that the song "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" was the last straw.
The line "if you want me off your back" was originally "on your front or round the back". Whatever the reason for the change caused a huge fight between Strummer and Jones.
At about the two-minute mark of the song, Mick Jones can be heard yelling the word "split". According to legend, Joe Strummer snuck into the vocal booth and scared the daylights out of Jones. Jones angry reaction and demand that Strummer get lost was recorded as tape continued to roll.
In later years, Jones denied that the song was his warning shot leading up to his leaving the band, saying it was just a song about his girlfriend. But not long after the release of this song, tensions within the band reach their breaking point. Combat Rock was the last album the original lineup recorded together.
As an interesting side note, this was the band's only number one hit single, but it didn't happen until almost ten years after the split. The song was extremely popular with a whole new generation who heard it in a Levi's commercial in 1991. It went to number one in March of that year, knocking "Do The Bartman" by The Simpsons off the top position.
So here's the song that marks both the lowest and the highest point in the band's career. This is "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" by The Clash.
Listen to the entire audio version of Rear-View Mirror by hitting the 'Play' button to the left
Here are some other great editions of Rear-view Mirror:
Marvin Gaye "Sexual Healing"
Radiohead "Paranoid Android"
M.I.A. "Paper Planes"
The Animals "We Gotta Get Out of this Place"
Dusty Springfield "Son of a Preacher Man"
Screamin' Jay Hawkins "I Put A Spell On You"
Cheap Trick "Surrender"
Mott The Hoople "All the Young Dudes"
Beach Boys "Sloop John B"
Amy Winehouse "Rehab"
New York Dolls "Personality Crisis"
Modern Lovers "Roadrunner"
George Jones "He Stopped Loving Her Today"
Bruce Springsteen "Born in the USA"
The Beatles "With A Little Help From My Friends"
Rolling Stones 'Miss You'
The Coasters 'Run Red Run'
Elvis Costello, 'Alison'
James Brown, 'Hot (I Need to be loved loved loved)'
Inner Circle, 'Tenement Yard'
Ray Charles, 'I Don't Need No Doctor'
Curtis Mayfield, 'Freddy's Dead'
Gang Starr, 'Beyond Comprehension'
Bo Diddley, 'Bo Diddley'
Aretha Franklin, 'Rocksteady'
CCR, 'Have You Ever Seen the Rain'
Howlin' Wolf, 'Smokestack Lightning'
Bobby Womack, 'Across 110th Street'
Roy Orbison, 'In Dreams'
Foggy Hogtown Boys, 'Man of Constant Sorrow'
Pink Floyd, 'Wish You Were Here'
Neil Young, 'Cortez The Killer'
Bob Dylan, 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'
Little Eva, 'Loco-Motion'
Elvis Costello, 'Watching the Detectives'
Jimmy Cliff, 'The Harder They Come'
The Verve, 'Bittersweet Symphony'
Roberta Flack, 'Killing Me Softly with his Song'
R.E.M., 'Radio Free Europe'
Radiohead, 'No Surprises'
Led Zeppelin, 'Ramble On'
Glen Campbell, 'Wichita Lineman'
Rolling Stones, 'Beast of Burden'
John Cougar Mellencamp, 'Pink Houses'
on Jan 02, 2013