Jail Guitar Doors

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"Jail Guitar Doors"
Song by The Clash
from the album The Clash (U.S. edition)
ReleasedJuly 1979 (1979-07)
RecordedOctober & November 1977
GenrePunk rock
The Clash (U.S. edition) track listing

"Jail Guitar Doors" is a song by the Clash, recorded during October and November 1977 and released on 17 February 1978 as the B-side of their fourth single "Clash City Rockers". The song is featured on the U.S. release of their debut album, and on their 2006 compilations album the Singles Box.

It began life as "Lonely Mother's Son" by Joe Strummer's former band The 101ers, sharing the same chorus, which begins, "Clang clang go the jail guitar doors."

"Jail Guitar Doors" was covered by the former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, who recorded a version on his debut solo album, Pawnshop Guitars, with the contribution of the members of Guns N' Roses, Pixies vocalist Frank Black, guitarist Ryan Roxie and bassist Duff McKagan.[1]

The song opens with the lines "Let me tell you 'bout Wayne and his deals of cocaine", which is a reference to the MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer.[2] In the second verse line, "And I'll tell you 'bout Pete, didn't want no fame" refers to Peter Green. The third verse line, "And then there's Keith, waiting for trial" refers to Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards. Kramer later performed "Jail Guitar Doors" in concert.[3]

Jail Guitar Doors initiative[edit]

Jail Guitar Doors is an independent initiative set up by Billy Bragg with the aim of providing musical equipment for the use of inmates serving time in prisons and funding individual projects such as recording sessions in UK prisons and for former inmates throughout the United Kingdom. It takes its name from the b-side of the Clash's 1978 single "Clash City Rockers". Jail Guitar Doors, USA is an independent initiative set up by Wayne Kramer, Billy Bragg and Margaret Saadi Kramer in the United States in 2009.[4] Jail Guitar Doors aims to provide musical instruments to inmates across the United States, assists in coordinating volunteer teaching programs, and organizes prison outreach programs. JGD advances new solutions to diminish prison violence and works toward policy reform.[5][6][7][8][9] Wayne Kramer and Jail Guitar Doors USA volunteers visited their 100th prison on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017.[10]


  1. ^ "FrankBlack.Net Discopedia - Jail Guitar Doors" (ASP). FrankBlack.Net. Retrieved 30 December 2007. McKagan appears behind the skins to round out a power trio of Clarke and ex-Pixie Frank Black on a cover of The Clash's "Jail Guitar Doors." The rest of G N'R also pops up on PAWNSHOP GUITARS:
  2. ^ abramson (3 May 2007). "sound of the suburbs: Jail Guitar Doors". sound of the suburbs. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  3. ^ Video on YouTube
  4. ^ "Wayne Kramer on Jail Guitar Doors: 'We have no shortage of prisons'". Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  5. ^ Bragg, Billy. "Jail Guitar Doors". jailguitardoos.org.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  6. ^ Topping, Alexandra (7 July 2007). "Rock stars urge prisoners to escape through music". The Guardian. Manchester: Guardian Newspapers. ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 8082962. Retrieved 30 December 2007. Bragg and ex-Clash member offer inmates guitars and a chance to change their lives
  7. ^ "BBC - Berkshire - Entertainment - Something to Bragg about" (SHTML). BBC Berkshire Website. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  8. ^ "BBC - Berkshire - Local bands - Jail Guitar Doors Campaign" (SHTML). BBC Berkshire Website. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 31 December 2007.
  9. ^ "Jail Guitar Doors, Reading – Last.fm". Last.fm. 16 June 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
  10. ^ "Wayne Kramer and Jail Guitar Doors Charity Bring Music to 100th Prison – California Rocker". Retrieved 3 November 2019.


External links[edit]