The Magnificent Seven (song)
|"The Magnificent Seven"|
|Single by The Clash|
|from the album Sandinista!|
|B-side||"The Magnificent Dance"|
|Released||10 April 1981 (U.K.)|
|Recorded||April 1980 at Electric Lady Studios, New York|
|The Clash singles chronology|
"The Magnificent Seven" is a song by the English punk rock band the Clash. Released in 1981, it was the third single from the Clash's fourth album, Sandinista!. It reached number 34 on the UK Singles Chart.
The song was inspired by old school hip hop acts from New York City, like the Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. Rap was still a new and emerging music genre at the time, and the band, especially Mick Jones, was very impressed with it, so much so that Jones took to carrying a boombox around and got the nickname "Whack Attack".
"The Magnificent Seven" was recorded in April 1980 at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, built around a funky bass loop played by Norman Watt-Roy of the Blockheads. Joe Strummer wrote the words on the spot, a technique that was also used to create Sandinista!'s other rap track, "Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice)". The song represents the first attempt by a rock band to write and perform original rap music, and one of the earliest examples of hip hop records with political and social content. It is the first major white rap record, predating the recording of Blondie's "Rapture" by six months. Strummer said of the group's encounter with hip hop:
When we came to the U.S., Mick stumbled upon a music shop in Brooklyn that carried the music of Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, the Sugar Hill Gang...these groups were radically changing music and they changed everything for us.
Though it failed to chart in America, the song was a hit on underground and college radio. Music critic Jeff Chang wrote that in New York City, the song "had become an unlikely hit on the Black radio station, WBLS." Also popular were various dance remixes, including the official B-side ("The Magnificent Dance") and original DJ remixes. WBLS' "Dirty Harry" remix appears on various Clash bootlegs, including Clash on Broadway Disc 4: The Outtakes.
The single was reissued in 1981 with "Stop the World" as its B-side and with different sleeve art.
The Magnificent Dance
"The Magnificent Dance", released on 12 April 1981 by CBS in 12-inch single format, is the dance remix of "The Magnificent Seven". The maxi single was released in the UK featuring an edited version of "The Magnificent Seven" on side A, and in the U.S., where it was backed with the extended version of "The Cool Out". It is credited to "Pepe Unidos", a pseudonym for Strummer, Paul Simonon and manager Bernie Rhodes. "Pepe Unidos" also produced "The Cool Out", a remix of "The Call Up". This dance version "definitely capitalized on the funky groove of the original, adding in some very cool drumming."
In 2015, Pitchfork Media included the song on its "Early 80's Disco" playlist, saying "if they were bored with the USA in 1977, four years on, they were also bored with both punk and rock. Instead, they became infatuated with NYC street culture, from early hip-hop to post-disco. This dubbed-out disco remix of the lead track off of Sandinista! was a club hit and the record Larry Levan would use to fine tune the sound system at the Paradise Garage."
- Joe Strummer – lead and backing vocals, electric piano
- Mick Jones – lead guitars, backing vocals, sound effects
- Topper Headon – drums, backing vocals
- Norman Watt-Roy – bass guitar
|1981||UK Singles Chart||34|
|1981||Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||18|
|1981||Dutch Single Chart||21|
|1982||US Billboard Club Play Singles||21|
- Popoff 2018, p. 200.
- Aaron, Charles (11 February 2014). "Rap-Rock: From 'Punk Rock Rap' to Mook Nation". Spin. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
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- D’Ambrosio 2003.
- Chang 2005, p. 154
- "The Clash - Super Black Market Clash". Punknews.org. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
- Andy Beta (7 August 2015). "Early '80s Disco". Pitchfork. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- "2 Many DJs: The Magnificent Romeo - Basement Jaxx vs The Clash". Retrieved 27 November 2010.
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- "The Official Charts Company - The Clash - The Magnificent Seven". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
- "Ultratop.be – The Clash – The Magnificent Seven" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
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- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974–2003. Record Research. p. 59.
- Popoff, Martin (2018). The Clash: All the Albums, All the Songs. Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-76036-426-0.
- Chang, Jeff (2005). Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. New York: Picador. ISBN 0-312-42579-1. OCLC 62860625.
- Gilbert, Pat (2005) . Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of The Clash (4th ed.). London: Aurum Press. ISBN 1-84513-113-4. OCLC 61177239.
- 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.
- Green, Johnny; Garry Barker (2003) . A Riot of Our Own: Night and Day with The Clash (3rd ed.). London: Orion. ISBN 0-7528-5843-2. OCLC 52990890.
- Gruen, Bob; Chris Salewicz (2004) . The Clash (3rd ed.). London: Omnibus. ISBN 1-903399-34-3. OCLC 69241279.
- Needs, Kris (25 January 2005). Joe Strummer and the Legend of the Clash. London: Plexus. ISBN 0-85965-348-X. OCLC 53155325.
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- Journals and magazines
- D’Ambrosio, Antonino (June 2003). "'Let Fury Have the Hour': The Passionate Politics of Joe Strummer". Monthly Review. New York, N.Y: Monthly Review Foundation. 55 (2). ISSN 0027-0520. OCLC 1758661. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
- Gibson, Nigel (January 2018). "The Clash's 1981 punk rock take on the cycle of consumption and work". The Conversation. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
- "The Clash discography". TheClash.com. Retrieved 16 November 2010.