London Calling – The Clash

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You listened to the song “London Calling” by The Clash countless times, including in TV commercials and all sorts of situations seemingly unrelated to the punk scene of the seventies in the UK. The tunes of The Clash are often so lively and melodic that they have been used in the most unexpected events, like the US military bombarding Irak in the nineties.

I always wondered what were the exact words of the lyrics of “London Calling”: A nuclear era, but I have no fear. Most lyrics on the Internet read “A nuclear error, but I have no fear“. It does sound like that when you listen to the song. It is been suggested that the writer Joe Strummer, was referring to the Three Mile Island nuclear accident.

The context of the line seems to be consistent with that interpretation:

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared – and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard,you boys and girls
London calling, now don’t look to us
Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain’t got no swing
‘Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

CHORUS
The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
Cause London is drowning and I, live by the river

London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, you can go at it alone
London calling to the zombies of death
Quit holding out – and draw another breath
London calling – and I don’t wanna shout
But while we were talking I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain’t got no high
Except for that one with the yellowy eyes

CHORUS x2
The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in
Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear era, but I have no fear
Cause London is drowning and I, I live by the river

Now get this
London calling, yes, I was there, too
An’ you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
And after all this, won’t you give me a smile?
London Calling

I never felt so much alike, like-a, like-a…

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