|Song by The Clash|
|from the album The Clash|
|Released||8 April 1977|
|Recorded||27 February 1977, London|
The song was penned by Joe Strummer as a response to music journalist Charles Shaar Murray, who, after a gig in 1976, wrote a review saying that they were "the kind of garage band who should be returned to the garage immediately". It also served as a declaration to their fans – and their new record company, with which they had signed a contract for £100,000 on 25 January 1977, – that they would still remain the same as they were before the signing.
Writing and recording
27-second sample from The Clash's "Garageland".
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- The Clash are the kind of garage band who should be returned to the garage immediately, preferably with the engine running, which would undoubtedly be more of a loss to their friends and families than to either rock or roll.
- Followed by:
- Their guitarist on the extreme left, allegedly known as Joe Strummer, has good moves but he and the band are a little shaky on ground that involves starting, stopping and changing chords at approximately the same time.
The Clash reacted immediately by writing the song "Garageland", whose opening verses are: "Back in the garage with my bullshit detector / Carbon monoxide making sure it's effective", followed by the chorus: "We're a garage band / We come from garageland", and concluding with "Back in the garage".
Another theme in the song is about the band signing to CBS Records on 25 January 1977 for £100,000. The music press and fans criticized The Clash for having "sold out" to the establishment. Mark Perry, founder of the leading London punk periodical, Sniffin' Glue, let loose with what he would later call his "big quote": "Punk died the day The Clash signed to CBS." This was evidenced in the verses: "Meanwhile things are hotting up in the West End alright / Contracts in the offices and groups in the night / My bumming slumming friends have all got new boots / And someone just asked me if the group would wear suits", and, after the chorus, with the following lines: "I don't want to hear about what the rich are doing / I don't want to go to where the rich are going / They think they're so clever, they think they're so right / But the truth is only known by gutter snipes".
"Garageland", as well as the majority of the band's debut studio album, was conceived on the 18th floor of a council high rise on London's Harrow Road, in a flat that was rented by Jones' grandmother, who frequently went to see the band rehearsing. The song was recorded at CBS Whitfield Street Studio No. 3 on 27 February 1977. The tapes for the entire album were delivered to CBS at the start of March and the recording was released in the United Kingdom through CBS Records on 8 April 1977. The album was engineered by CBS staff engineer Simon Humphrey and produced by Clash live soundman Mickey Foote.
- Joe Strummer – lead vocal, lead guitar
- Mick Jones – backing vocal, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, harmonica
- Paul Simonon – backing vocal, bass guitar
- Terry Chimes – drums
The song made its live debut on 10–11 March 1977, on the first and second night of an early gig at The Coliseum in Harlesden, London, where the band was supported by Subway Sect, Buzzcocks, and The Slits. From that moment to 1985, the song has become a stable part of the setlists of their future tours and concerts, and has graced stages all over the world. Among the most important venues, concert halls and arenas there were:
- De Montfort Hall in Leicester (1977),
- the Lyceum Theatre, London (1978),
- the Agora in Cleveland (1979),
- the New York Palladium (1979),
- the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey (1980),
- the Orpheum Theatre in Boston (1980),
- the Hammersmith Palais in London (1980),
- the Théâtre Mogador in Paris (1981),
- the Brixton Academy in London (1982 & 1985),
- the Saint Paul Civic Center Arena in St Paul, Minnesota (1982),
- the Johanneshovs Isstadion in Stockholm (1984),
- the Éspace Ballard in Paris (1984),
- the Orange arena at the Roskilde Festival of 1985 in Denmark.
"Garageland" was first featured as the last track of the band's debut album as well as in its 1979 U.S. release. It also is featured in many unofficial and semi-official bootlegs such as the 1992 release of U.S.A. 1979. It was featured in the 1980 film release Rude Boy, where it was performed live at Rehearsal Rehearsals, but the audio was re-recorded at Wessex Studios, and on The Punk Rock Movie, directed and filmed by Don Letts mainly at The Roxy club in Super 8 in the autumn of 1977 during The Clash's White Riot tour, and published in DVD format in 1992. "Garageland" is also featured on some live and compilation albums, most notably on Clash on Broadway and The Essential Clash, both released in 2003, Rarities released in 2003, and Pearl Harbour '79 released in 1979 in Japan and in 2004 worldwide.
"Garageland" is also featured on tribute albums such as City Rockers: A Tribute To The Clash, released on 6 July 1999 by various artists throughout Chord Records where the song was performed by The Sick. White Riot: A Tribute To The Clash (Vol. Two) released in 2003 by various artists and performed by Billy Bragg with Wiggy, The Neurotics, and Attila & The Stockbroker, Charlie Does Surf: A Tribute To The Clash released in 2004 by various artists where the song was performed by The Glasgow Tiki Shakers with Bill McGlynnon guitar, Joyce Seko on bass, and Bruce Graham on drums, and Revolution Rock: Joe Strummer Memorial Night At Klubi, Tampere Finland released on December 2006 by various artists throughout LampLite Ltd. and performed by The Control with ex-Hanoi Rocks' Stefan Piesnack and Tumppi Varonen on vocals.
"Garageland" has been performed by a number of bands, including :
- Welsh band The Oppressed (Oi!)
- English band The Housemartins (indie pop)
- British band Chumbawamba (punk rock, world, folk). Chumbawamba guitarist Boff Whalley ('Boffo') also performs an ironic solo version of the song on the Crass Records released Bullshit Detector 2 compilation album (released 1982)
- New York band Urban Blight (ska, reggae, new jack swing)
- Californian band Manic Hispanic (punk rock, chicano rock)
- Finnish musician Pelle Miljoona (punk rock)
- Italian band Gang (in Italian) (acoustic version)
- Italian band Linea (in Italian)
- Gray 2005, p. 216.
- Coon 1977.
- Salewicz 2006, p. 162.
- Murray 2003.
- Westway 2001.
- Needs 2004.
- Screen on the Green.
- Gray 2005, p. 217.
- Gray 2005, p. 218.
- NME 1991.
- Mojo Classic, p. 32.
- Harlesden Roxy 1977.
- Knowles 2003, p. 89.
- Knowles 2003, p. 90.
- Knowles 2003, pp. 90–91.
- Knowles 2003, p. 91.
- Knowles 2003, p. 94.
- Knowles 2003, pp. 96–97, 100.
- Knowles 2003, p. 97.
- Knowles 2003, p. 98.
- Knowles 2003, p. 99.
- Knowles 2003, p. 101.
- U.S.A. 1979 1992.
- Rude Boy 1980.
- Punk Rock Movie 1977.
- Clash on Broadway 1991.
- Essential Clash 2004.
- Rarities 2003.
- Pearl Harbour 2004.
- As stated in Garageland.
- Garageland Magazine.
- Coon, Caroline (1977). 1988: The New Wave Punk Rock Explosion. London: Hawthorn. ISBN 0-8015-6129-9. OCLC 79262599. Retrieved 2011-09-19.
- Knowles, Chris (December 2003). Clash City Showdown. U.S.: Pagefree Publishing. ISBN 1-58961-138-1.
- Gray, Marcus (2005) . The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town (5th revised ed.). London: Helter Skelter. ISBN 1-905139-10-1. OCLC 60668626.
- Salewicz, Chris (2006). Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer. New York: Macmillan. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-571-21178-4. OCLC 76794852. (Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer (pages 162 and 182) on Google Books)
- Journals and magazines
- "The Clash". Mojo. London, UK: Bauer (Mojo Classic).
- Murray, Charles Shaar (2003-04-05). "Joe is dead, but the Clash are immortal". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
I described them as the kind of garage band who should be speedily returned to their garage, preferably with the engine running
- "The Uncut Crap – Over 56 Things You Never Knew About The Clash". NME. London, UK. 3. 16 March 1991. ISSN 0028-6362. OCLC 4213418.
- Films and documentaries
- Letts Don; Rick Elgood, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon, Terry Chimes, The Clash (2001). The Clash: Westway to the World (DVD). New York: Sony Music Entertainment; Dorismo; Uptown Films. ISBN 0-7389-0082-6. OCLC 49798077.
- Letts Don; The Clash, Sex Pistols, Wayne County & the Electric Chairs, Generation X, Slaughter and the Dogs, The Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Eater, Subway Sect, X-Ray Spex, Alternative TV, Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers (1991) . The Punk Rock Movie (DVD). Berlin, Germany: Studio !K7.
- Hazan, Jack; David Mingay, Ray Gange, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicky Headon, Buzzy Enterprises, Epic Music Video (2006-08-01). Rude Boy (DVD). New York: Epic Music Video. ISBN 0-7389-0587-9. OCLC 70850190.
- The Clash (LP). The Clash. UK: CBS/Epic. 1977.
- Clash on Broadway (3×CD box set). The Clash. United States: Epic/Legacy. 1991.
- The Essential Clash (2×CD+DVD box set). The Clash. Australia, Europe, U.S.: Columbia/Epic/Legacy. 1991.
- U.S.A. 1979 (CD). The Clash. Italy: Post Script. 1992.
- Rarities (LP). The Clash. Darkside. 2003.
- Pearl Harbour '79 (CD). The Clash. Sony. 2004 .
- "The Clash Harlesd(e)n Roxy 10 March 1977". BlackMarketClash.com. Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- "Garageland". Transition Gallery. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- Needs, Kris (November 2004). "How I met The Clash". trakMARX.com. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- "Screen on the Green – Islington". BlackMarketClash.com. Archived from the original on 11 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-20.