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Song of the Day for April 8: "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" by The Clash

The Clash 1983
Members of the British punk band the Clash are shown, 1983. From left; Joe Strummer; Mick Jones, Terry Chimes and Paul Simonon (AP Photo)

No band in the late nineteen seventies and early eighties was more influential than tThe Clash. The band, along with the Sex Pistols, defined punk rock.

The Clash’s self-titled first album was released in England on April 8, 1977. It rose to number 12 in the United Kingdom. It’s considered a punk rock classic. The album wasn’t released in the United States for almost two more years. The record company believed the songs weren’t radio friendly. Four of the original songs were missing when the album finally was released. Could the record executives have been wrong? The original English version was the best-selling import of all time.

The Clash formed in 1976. The group’s manager encouraged them to write about the issues of the day and how they affected them. Some of the titles from the first album: “White Riot,” “London’s Burning,” and “I’m So Bored of the USA.”

The Clash became more than a punk rock band, infusing reggae, hip hop and rockabilly into their music.

“Should I Stay Or Should I Go” is the band’s most popular single. It was released in 1982. It landed on the “Combat Rock” album. Mick Jones wrote the song. He said the song wasn’t about a girl or the possibility of him leaving the band. It was just a song. It was about nothing specific.

The song had a second life in 1991 when Levi’s used it for a commercial. The band rereleased it, and it went to number one in England.

It was ranked 228 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.