Should I Stay or Should I Go

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"Should I Stay or Should I Go"
Single by The Clash
from the album Combat Rock
  • "Inoculated City" (1982)
  • "Rush" (1991)
Released 10 June 1982
Genre Punk rock
Length 3:06
Label Epic 14-03006
  • Topper Headon
  • Mick Jones
  • Paul Simonon
  • Joe Strummer
Producer(s) The Clash
The Clash singles chronology
"Know Your Rights"
"Should I Stay or Should I Go"
"Rock the Casbah"
The Clash reissued singles chronology
"Return to Brixton"
"Should I Stay or Should I Go" (rerelease)
"Rock the Casbah" (rerelease)

"Should I Stay or Should I Go" is a song by the English punk rock band the Clash, from their album Combat Rock. It was written in 1981 and featured Mick Jones on lead vocals. It became the band's only number-one single on the UK Singles Chart, a decade after it was originally released.[1] In November 2004, it was ranked at 228 on Rolling Stone "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.[2] In 2009 it was ranked 42nd on VH1's program 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs.[3]

Many rumours have arisen about the song's content, such as Jones' impending dismissal from the Clash or the rocky personal relationship between Jones and singer Ellen Foley,[4] but Jones himself says:

It wasn't about anybody specific and it wasn't pre-empting my leaving The Clash. It was just a good rockin' song, our attempt at writing a classic... When we were just playing, that was the kind of thing we used to like to play. - Mick Jones, 1991[5]

The Spanish backing vocals were sung by Joe Strummer and Joe Ely:

On the spur of the moment I said 'I'm going to do the backing vocals in Spanish,' ... We needed a translator so Eddie Garcia, the tape operator, called his mother in Brooklyn Heights and read her the lyrics over the phone and she translated them. But Eddie and his mum are Ecuadorian, so it's Ecuadorian Spanish that me and Joe Ely are singing on the backing vocals. - Joe Strummer, 1991[6]


The single was reissued several times. It was first reissued in 1982, with a different cover as a double A-side with "Straight to Hell" and with "Cool Confusion" as its B-side. It was reissued again in 1983, with "First Night Back in London" on the side two, and then for a third time in 1991, with "Rush" by Mick Jones' group Big Audio Dynamite II as a double A-side, with a remix of "Rush" as its B-side (see the table below).[7]

Live recording of the song was released as a part of an album Live at Shea Stadium, which featured a concert on 13 October 1982 in New York. The song's music video[8] from that performance was included in DVD The Clash Live: Revolution Rock. Both disks were released on 6 October 2008.[9]

Year B-side Format Label Country Note
1982 CBS logo etched into vinyl 45 rpm 7" vinyl Epic ENR-03571 USA One Sided Single - Epic's Get the Hit - Special Low Price
1982 "Cool Confusion" 45 rpm 12" vinyl Epic 07 5P-223 JP
1982 "Straight to Hell" (Edit) 45 rpm 12" vinyl CBS CBS A13 2646 UK
1982 "Straight to Hell" (Edit) 45 rpm 7" vinyl CBS CBS AII 2646 UK Picture disc
1982 "Inoculated City" 45 rpm 7" vinyl Epic 14-03006 USA 10 June 1982
1982 "First Night Back in London" 45 rpm 7" vinyl Epic 34-03061 USA Released on 20 July 1982
1982 "Straight to Hell" 45 rpm 7" vinyl CBS CBS A 2646 UK Released on 17 September 1982
1983 "Cool Confusion" 45 rpm 7" vinyl Epic 34-03547 USA Released on 27 January 1983
  1. "Rush (Dance Mix)" (Big Audio Dynamite II)
  2. "Protex Blue" (The Clash)
45 rpm 12" vinyl CBS / Sony UK A-side
  1. "Should I Stay or Should I Go" (The Clash)
  2. "Rush" (Big Audio Dynamite II)


"Should I Stay or Should I Go"[edit]

"Inoculated City"[edit]


Chart succession[edit]

Preceded by
"Do the Bartman" by The Simpsons
UK number-one single
9 March 1991 – 16 March 1991 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Stonk" by Hale and Pace

In popular culture[edit]

The song is featured in the trailers for You, Me and Dupree and Rugrats Go Wild, where it was featured on its soundtrack. The live version of the song was also featured in the opening credits for the film 28 Days. The song's opening guitar riff was used in One Direction's 2012 hit single, "Live While We're Young", which caused controversy. The song is also featured prominently in Far Cry 4. This song is also featured in the Best Buy Edition of Just Dance 2 and on the series of 2015 commercials from Choice Hotels.


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 524–5. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (1-500) at the Wayback Machine (archived 25 October 2006). Rolling Stone. 29 December 2004. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  3. ^ "100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs". 1 January 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009. 
  4. ^ "The Uncut Crap - Over 56 Things You Never Knew About The Clash". NME (London) 3. 16 March 1991. ISSN 0028-6362. OCLC 4213418. 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' was written by Mick about American singer Ellen Foley, who sang the backing vocals on Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell LP. 
  5. ^ Clash on Broadway Box Set liner notes (Media notes). Sony Music Entertainment Inc. 
  6. ^ Moser, Margaret (22 May 2000). "Music: Lubbock Calling (Austin Chronicle. 05-22-00)". The Austin Chronicle (Weekly Wire). Retrieved 22 November 2007. I ran into them accidentally in New York when they were cutting 'Should I Stay or Should I Go' and Strummer said, 'Hey, help me with my Spanish.' So me and Strummer and the Puerto Rican engineer sat down and translated the lyrics into the weirdest Spanish ever. Then we sang it all. When you listen to 'Should I Stay or Should I Go,' there's a place in the song where Mick says, 'Split.' Me and Strummer had been yelling out the Spanish background lyrics and we had snuck up behind him as he was recording. We were behind a curtain, jumped out at him in the middle of singing, and scared the shit out of him. He looks over and gives us the dirtiest look and says, 'Split!' They kept that in the final version. 
  7. ^ "Albums by The Clash". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 31 December 2007. 
  8. ^ The Clash's official music video for 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' on YouTube
  9. ^ "New Live Clash Album And DVD". 8 June 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  10. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6196." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  12. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Should I Stay or Should I Go". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Archive Chart: 1982-10-23" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  14. ^ a b "The Clash – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  15. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending MARCH 26, 1983 at the Wayback Machine (archived 13 September 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  16. ^ " – The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  17. ^ " – The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  18. ^ "Radio2 Top 30 : 27 april 1991" (in Dutch). Top 30. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  19. ^ a b c " – The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  20. ^ " – The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Clash - Should I Stay Or Should I Go search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  22. ^ " – The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  23. ^ " – The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  24. ^ " – The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go". VG-lista. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  25. ^ "SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO – The Clash" (in Polish). LP3. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  26. ^ " – The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  27. ^ " – The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  28. ^ "Archive Chart: 1991-03-09" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 July 2013.