Know Your Rights

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"Know Your Rights"
Single by The Clash
from the album Combat Rock
B-side "First Night Back in London"
Released 23 April 1982
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 1982
Genre Punk rock
Length 3:41
Label CBS A2309
Writer(s) Joe Strummer, Mick Jones
Producer(s) The Clash
The Clash singles chronology
"This Is Radio Clash"
(1981)
"Know Your Rights"
(1982)
"Should I Stay or Should I Go"
(1982)

"Know Your Rights" is a song by The Clash. It was released as a single prior to the release of the album, Combat Rock, on which it appears. The song was the first single from the album.

The song begins with the words "This is a public service announcement...with guitar!" The structure of the song revolves around the rights held by the poor and disenfranchised, in which the speaker of the song, presumably a villainous civil servant (whose identity is assumed in the song by vocalist Joe Strummer), names the three actual rights. At the end, the notion that more rights should be granted is rebuffed by the speaker.

The three are:

  1. "The right not to be killed. Murder is a crime, unless it is done by a policeman, or an aristocrat".
  2. "The right to food money, providing of course, you don't mind a little investigation, humiliation, and, if you cross your fingers, rehabilitation".
  3. "The right to free speech (as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it)".

Personnel[edit]

"Know Your Rights"[edit]

"First Night Back in London"[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Primal Scream covered the song as a b-side to their "Kowalski" single in 1997.

"Know Your Rights" has been performed live many times by Pearl Jam, most notably during their Riot Act Tour in 2003, and it also has been recorded on their live albums 7/11/03 – Mansfield, Massachusetts, 7/9/03 – New York, New York, 3/3/03 – Tokyo, Japan, and 9/30/12 - Missoula, Montana.[1]

The Frisk also recorded a version of the song on their EP Rank Restraint.

Charts[edit]

Chart Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[2] 43

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Know Your Rights". Pearljam.com. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Clash" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
Sources

External links[edit]