Spanish Bombs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Spanish Bombs"
Song by The Clash
from the album London Calling
Released14 December 1979
RecordedAugust–September 1979, November 1979 at Wessex Studios
GenrePop rock
Songwriter(s)Joe Strummer, Mick Jones
Producer(s)Guy Stevens

"Spanish Bombs" is a song by English punk rock band the Clash, with principal vocals by Joe Strummer and additional vocals by Mick Jones. It was written by Strummer and recorded for the band's 1979 album London Calling.

The song also appears on the Clash compilation albums The Story of the Clash, Volume 1 (1988) and Clash on Broadway (1991). Allmusic's Donald A. Guarisco said that the song's "combination of thoughtful lyrics and an energetic performance" made it a "highlight of London Calling".[1]


Strummer wrote the song during the recording sessions for London Calling. He developed the idea for the song while travelling home from Wessex studios in London and listening to a radio news report of ETA terror bombings of tourist hotels on the Costa Brava. It reminded him of the ongoing Provisional Irish Republican Army campaign in the United Kingdom.[2]

Music and lyrics[edit]

According to Continente Multicultural magazine, "Spanish Bombs" is a pop rock song.[3] AllMusic's Donald A. Guarisco described it as a "rousing rocker" with a combination of power chords, quickly-strummed acoustic riffs, and "simple but catchy verses and chorus".[4]

"Spanish Bombs" compares the modern day tourist experience of Spain with the circumstances of the Spanish Civil War,[2] and contrasts the "trenches full of poets" to the planeloads of British tourists visiting the country's beaches in the post-Franco era.[5] Praising the heroism of the civil war republicans,[6] the song alludes to the death of anti-fascist poet Federico García Lorca.[7] Adrien Begrand of PopMatters remarked that Strummer's references to bomb attacks by Basque separatists in the late 1970s "echoes" Lorca and the Spanish Civil War, citing the line "Spanish bombs rock the province / I'm hearing music from another time".[8]

The song utilizes what Adam Mazmanian of The Washington Times calls "pidgin Spanish".[5] According to the liner notes accompanying the original 1979 UK vinyl release of London Calling, the song included the lyric "Yo t'quierro y finito, yo te querda, oh ma côrazon" (sic).[9] According to The A.V. Club, the lyric is in fact, "Yo te quiera [sic] infinito, yo te quiera [sic], oh mi corazón" which they translate as "I want you forever, I want you, oh my heart".[10] However, according to a comment by Strummer himself in the liner notes for the 25th Anniversary Edition of London Calling, the lyric is "Clash Spannish [sic]", and "means 'I love you and goodbye! I want you but _ oh my aching heart!' induced by those grapes of wrath.[sic]"[11] The song also makes reference to Andalusia, the Spanish region where Strummer's ex-girlfriend Palmolive was born.[2]

London Calling, remarked author Michael Chabon, is "what we'd now call 'classic rock'. Songs like 'Spanish Bombs' had me wondering what the song was about, how it related to the Spanish Civil War and why was Joe singing about it?"[12]



  1. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "Spanish Bombs Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 February 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Gray, Marcus (2004). The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town (2nd ed.). Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 315. ISBN 1617749176. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  3. ^ Nascimento, Débora (October 2009). "The Clash: Clássico do rock politizado chega (atual) aos 30 anos". Continente multicultural (in Portuguese). No. 106. p. 83.
  4. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "Spanish Bombs – The Clash". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b Mazmanian, Adam (29 December 2009). "Listening Station: Clash of cultures". Washington Times. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  6. ^ Dimery, Robert (1999). Collins Gem Classic Albums. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 0-00-472485-2. OCLC 43582584. ..."Spanish Bombs" praises the heroism of republicans in the Spanish Civil War.
  7. ^ D'Ambrosio, Antonio, ed. (2012). Let Fury Have the Hour: Joe Strummer, Punk, and the Movement That Shook the Word (2nd ed.). Nation Books. p. 277. ISBN 1568587201.
  8. ^ Begrand, Adrien (8 October 2004). "The Clash: London Calling: 25th Anniversary Legacy Edition". PopMatters. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  9. ^ London Calling (Loose leaf lyric sheet). The Clash. London: CBS Inc./Riva Music Ltd/Nineden Ltd. 1979. CBS CLASH 3.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ Heller, Jason; et al. (23 November 2009). "Ça plane pour wha?: 19 foreign phrases we wouldn't know without pop songs". The A.V. Club. Chicago. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Daly, Joe (May 2015). "Michael Chabon's 10 life-changing pieces of vinyl". Classic Rock #209. p. unnumbered.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]