1980 | Rock
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“It's up to you not to heed the call-up, I don't want to die! -- It's up to you not to hear the call-up, I don't want to kill!”
- This was the first single released for Sandinista!
- This song was recorded in the iconic Electric Lady Studios in New York City.
- "It's 55 minutes past 11..." is a reference to the Minutes to Midnight Doomsday Clock, established and maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago. It denotes how close the world is estimated to be to a global disaster. Midnight being "Doomsday."
THE HOT TAKES
Because I apparently grew up in some kind of cultural vacuum, I actually never really listened to The Clash until this project. More great stuff! Resisting the summons to go to war for people that clearly don't have your best interests at heart is music to my ears, anyway. From what I've read, Strummer is a Marxist. But whether he objects to this kind of thing because because of one political philosophy or another, it matters not; this is something we have would have in common. There's an element here of not wanting to lose out on life, too. It's presented as a rose, (a girl) and that's a great way to illustrate the missed opportunities from going to war. Not only are those years you can't spend dating, getting married, having kids, and so forth...but they are also years that change people. You will not come home as the same man.
The Clash is maybe the most commercially successful legitimate punk band ever and probably my favorite of the genre, and this song does not disappoint in giving an anti-authoritarian, anti-military message. As much as I sympathize with soldiers who have been through terrible things, and I realized they were tricked, I’m done softening the blow of their own actions for them. I know many soldiers regret what they’ve done, and the best thing they can do as well as anyone else, is to encourage the next generation not to sign up at all and to resist any forced military enslavement. The State is not going to stop as long as there are those who are willing to sacrifice themselves. I try to instill a disdain for military service to the political elite in my children and encourage all to do the same. When they are endangered and in need of defending themselves, they’ll know. It’s up to each one of us individually not to heed the call, and to teach others not to as well.
I mean calling the clash legitimate punk might be a stretch depending on what part of their career we're observing. I mean what is the nature of punk anyway? Is it a nebulous term like prog? But I digress.Let's toss this song on the glorious pile of music insisting that we refuse to show up for the inevitable call to our own destruction that the state will make. This particular one looks at the choice and examines what a young man or now young woman will forgo to go be canon fodder. Punk or not I'll support any music that tries to influence young persons not to sign up for death at the hands of other victims of state violence to further the bottom line of some company that has "American Interests" in another part of the world. Why have we not had a good song about that term yet?