“Spanish Bombs” refers to two things. First, there is the Spanish Civil War. Joe Strummer is praising the anti-fascist struggle and remembering the martyrs.
It also refers to the bombing of tourist resorts by the Basque separatist E.T.A., which he compares to the I.R.A.
It’s quite a poppy song considering the subject. The chorus in particular is a particularly mangled, jaunty Spanish jingle which is meant to mean “I love you infinitely, I love you, oh my heart” but isn’t really proper Spanish. It does sound good.
The song itself is a catchy one, with a the guitar almost blending into the general wall of sound at times. It’s not complicated, but the vocals in particular have quite an interesting melody, almost happening in 2 parts.
The song is full of allusions to revolutionary history. It’s clear that Strummer was pretty well educated on the subject.
He also had a girlfriend from Andalusia (also a punk musician), which further explains the song.
“Spanish Bombs” was released in 1979 on the album London Calling.
I will generally try to keep politics out of this blog. It can be incendiary, alienating people needlessly when all I’m trying to do is promote my favourite music. However, it must be said, music and politics, as with all culture, can interact and overlap in various ways, to varying degrees. At its best, music can inspire people and bring them together.
Perhaps not many genres are more overtly political than punk rock, and The Clash were undoubtedly a politically aware band. “Rock The Casbah” is about an Arab dictator trying to ban rock music, with his people revolting and listening anyway.
“By order of the prophet
We ban that boogie sound”
The none-too-subtle video satirises countries like Saudi Arabia, and was inspired partly by the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, which resulted in very socially conservative values being imposed in Iran. I do think that any attempt to ban music is just very uncool. The band even perform in front of an oil well to hammer home their point.
The video seems to suggest that the Israel-Palestine conflict could be solved through a shared love of fast food and funky music, which at this point has got to be worth a try…
The song was released in 1982 as the third single from their album, Combat Rock. It was basically written just by their drummer, with the lyrics added by the singer. I can only say that, really, The Clash had a very talented set of musicians.
The bass part is very lively on this one, with a crazily catchy riff played on the guitar and piano. The chorus is very catchy as well, giving the whole thing a real riotous joy.