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
Length 3:41
Label CBS A2309
Producer(s) The Clash
The Clash singles chronology
"This Is Radio Clash"
"Know Your Rights"
"Should I Stay or Should I Go"

"This Is Radio Clash"
"Know Your Rights"
"Should I Stay or Should I Go"

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

The song begins with the words "This is a public service announcement...with guitars!" 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)".


"Know Your Rights"[edit]

"First Night Back in London"[edit]

  • Joe Strummer – vocals, guitar
  • Mick Jones – guitar, sound effects
  • Paul Simonon – bass guitar
  • Topper Headon – drums

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.


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


  1. ^ "Know Your Rights". Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Clash: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 June 2013.

External links[edit]