Rock The Casbah Lyrics - The Clash

Review The Song (43)



Now the king told the boogie men
You have to let that raga drop
The oil down the desert way
Has been shakin' to the top
The sheik he drove his Cadillac
He went a' cruisin' down the ville
The muezzin was a' standing
On the radiator grille

[Chorus]
The sharif don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah
The sharif don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah

By order of the prophet
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We ban that boogie sound
Degenerate the faithful
With that crazy Casbah sound
But the Bedouin they brought out
The electric kettle drum
The local guitar picker
Got his guitar picking thumb
As soon as the sharif
Had cleared the square
They began to wail

[Chorus]

Now over at the temple
Oh! They really pack 'em in
The in crowd say it's cool
To dig this chanting thing
But as the wind changed direction
The temple band took five
The crowd caught a whiff
Of that crazy Casbah jive

[Chorus]

The king called up his jet fighters
He said you better earn your pay
Drop your bombs between the minarets
Down the Casbah way

As soon as the sharif was
Chauffeured outta there
The jet pilots tuned to
The cockpit radio blare

As soon as the sharif was
Outta their hair
The jet pilots wailed

[Chorus]

He thinks it's not kosher
Fundamentally he can't take it.
You know he really hates it.



Click here to submit the Corrections of Rock The Casbah Lyrics
Thanks to jonashea for submitting Rock The Casbah Lyrics.
you are intellectualising a great dance track | Reviewer: nasty goyam bitch | 3/19/14

great dance tune performed by one of the best punk bands ever... I love how the chorus sounds like "fuck the casbah fuck the casbah" & "as soon as the shariff was outa their hair they began to wail..." joe strummer is a force in his own right in that with minimal education &, as a working class lad, he is able to get to the heart of social issues...& why? Because "Julie's workin' for the drug squad..."

Fucked up | Reviewer: Johnny Rotten | 1/3/14

This song talks about opressed people having fun and playing music when the radicals leave them alone. It does not talk shit about muslims or jews or americans, so stop bragging about stupid shit and FUCK OFF. Me myself, travel a lot to muslim countries, and i see what radicalism does to people, turns them agressive snd rude to foreigners, which is, being realistic, very retarded, if you understand that tourism is the only way they can make money without their corrupt governments taking it from them. This doesn't mean there aren't polite and nice people in there, but if you keep on protecting radicals who blow up cities and beat women up, that's what you'll get, and now shut the fuck up all of you.

Alrighty then | Reviewer: Miranda | 12/9/13

I was innocently trying to educate myself when I read this page and the trash comments it contains. Knowing when and by whom the song was written are obvious starting points. Either way, reading through these comments make me wonder how many of the commenters were even able to open a web browser to see the page.

Oh & .... "Islamic chick".... You're English isn't actually that great. Americans don't all believe you guys live in the desert. We know you're not all Muslims. There's a reason we haven't blown you to absolute shit. There are Christians, innocents and material items of value there. Even if you, your fashion job, and your terroristic, egotistical culture don't matter - we actually do have common sense. Which seems to be one of the things your "men" you brag on so much don't have. Considering they jump into planes and run them into buildings full of innocent people. But since they're not your innocents, who cares; right ?

As any true punk rocker would say - fuck you guys. I'm out.

Wow moron | Reviewer: SaddamH | 2/25/13

ALTHOUGH IM VERY LATE TO BE ADDING THIS, I JUST HAD TO AGREE WITH HUSS ABOUT THE ASSHOLE WHO WROTE THE 'WOW REVIEW'-
'SHARIA DONT LIKE IT'? 'A CASBAHS A MOSQUE'?
YOUR A RETARDED BLOODY MORON. A DEAF ONE.

@ groupie | Reviewer: POd | 6/3/12

Please don't write when you're stoned. It makes you look like an idiot. Since when do drugs and alcohol SOLVE violence? They're more likely to CAUSE it. If you don't believe me, go find a guy with an AK, get him really, really drunk, insult him, and see what happens. If you survive, post the video on youtube. If not, don't expect any flowers from me. As for sex, the majority of crime in the U.S. stems from domestic violence. Do the math. If you ever graduated grade school that is.

@Richard | Reviewer: Ash | 3/25/12

I think it song was partly in response to Iran's law on music, but I don't think the song is completely based in Iran. The Casbah is in Algiers in Algeria.

@Anonymous: he cried when he found out it had been written on a bomb? Damn, I feel so sorry for him there. Makes me feel a little sad thinking about it.

Iran? Arab? | Reviewer: Richard | 5/16/11

Just to say: I don't know if the song is specifically about Iran or not, but if it is then it is perhaps unfortunate that it contains so many references to Arab culture. Iran is an Islamic country, but it is not Arab.

A great song, either way.

Blimey | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/3/10

Some people have got really worked up on here....anyways Rock the Casbah, as I see it, is an anti-war song, there's no wonder why Strummer cried when he found out it was written on a bomb...this song I think just highlights how delusional people are, all these religions mentioned in the song are present in the Middle East. These countries/people are at war or have been at war in the past 50-100 years or so, but all of them promote the same sort of ideology, that people should live together in peace, I think The Clash were defecting from their usual anti-establishment lyrics to an anti-war one or one that questions what exactly those people are fighting for, if anything I think Strummer was trying to raise questions about people's ethics and beliefs and whether they actually stand for them, they certainly didn't want people to quarrel over this song in the sort of way people have on here, and most of all I think Strummer regrets the fact that his song has in fact promoted people using violence

I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. - Voltaire | Reviewer: Amber | 4/29/10

This is regarding many of the previous posts.

Some terms used in the song, defined by Merriam-Webster:


Ville – suffix occurring in names of towns, from French, from Old French, from ville village: place, category, or quality of a specified nature

Muezzin – a Muslim crier who calls the hour of daily prayers

Sharif – a descendant of the prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima: one of noble ancestry or political preeminence in predominantly Islamic countries

Casbah – a North African castle or fortress, the native section of a North African city
Prophet – one who utters divinely inspired revelations; as the writer of one of the prophetic books of the Bible, one regarded by a group of followers as the final authoritative revealer of God's will: one gifted with more than ordinary spiritual and moral insight: an inspired poet: one who foretells future events: an effective or leading spokesman for a cause, doctrine, or group: a spiritual seer: disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth

Bedouin – a nomadic Arab of the Arabian, Syrian, or North African deserts

Kettle Drum – a percussion instrument that consists of a hollow brass, copper, or fiberglass hemisphere with a calfskin or plastic head whose tension can be changed to vary the pitch

Temple – a building for religious practice: either of two successive national sanctuaries in ancient Jerusalem: a building for Mormon sacred ordinances: : the house of worship of Reform and some Conservative Jewish congregations: a local lodge of any of various fraternal orders; also : the building housing it: a place devoted to a special purpose

Minarets – a tall slender tower of a mosque having one or more balconies from which the summons to prayer is cried by the muezzin

Wailed – to express sorrow audibly: to make a sound suggestive of a mournful cry: to express dissatisfaction plaintively

Kosher – sanctioned by Jewish law: ritually fit for use: selling or serving food ritually fit according to Jewish law: being proper, acceptable, or satisfactory

Fundamentally –serving as an original or generating source: serving as a basis supporting existence or determining essential structure or function: of or relating to essential structure, function, or facts: of or dealing with general principles rather than practical application: adhering to fundamentalism: of, relating to, or produced by the lowest component of a complex vibration: of central importance: belonging to one's innate or ingrained characteristics

This excerpt found in this interesting article from 1990:

"Rock the Casbah" by the Clash finally was first on the air. It seemed to fit with both the Middle East landscape - the tune abounds with references to sheiks, Bedouins and Cadillacs - and the role of nearly 200,000 U.S. troops underwritten by Saudi Arabia to confront Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein after he invaded neighboring Kuwait Aug. 2.

One verse goes:
The king called out his jetfighters
He said you better earn you pay
Drop your bombs between the minarets
Down the Casbah way.

'ROCK THE CASBAH' SIZZLES DESERT LIVE RADIO BROADCASTS ENTERTAIN TROOPS BORN IN THE U.S.A.

Albany Times Union

Staff and wire reports
Section: MAIN, Page: A10
Date: Wednesday, October 10, 1990

Albany native Rich Yanku kicked off the U.S. Armed Forces Radio's live broadcasts in Saudi Arabia Tuesday with an almost inevitable opening line: "Goooood Maaawrning, Saudi Arabia!"
Echoing comedian Robin Williams' intro in the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam," disc jockey Yanku broke in at 9:05 a.m. to bring the Heart of the Desert, FM-107, direct from an air base in the desert to U.S. troops looking for a touch of home. "I think everyone was expecting it. It would have been a letdown if I hadn't done it," said Yanku, 38, a 1970 graduate of the Milne School and 17- year Navy veteran now stationed at Virginia Beach, Va.

"I haven't spoken to Robin Williams but I'm sure if I had he'd say,' Sure, why not, go for it,'" said Yanku, a chief petty officer who immediately started getting requests when he announced the request line telephone number.

An average mobile home would dwarf the two trailers that make up the broadcast unit. They were dubbed Camp Schmooz by the four disc jockeys after the favorite question of the unit's director, Bronx native Lt. Arnie Pon.

"What are you guys schmoozing around for?" Pon asks constantly, using the Yiddish word for idle talk.

Picking the first song took a lot of schmoozing, much of it worthy of Adrian Kronauer, the character Williams portrayed in the film about Armed Forces Radio during the Vietnam War.
"Midnight at the Oasis" was rejected as too sugary.

Ray Steven's "Ahab the Arab" was also passed over and Hank Williams' "Don't Give Us a Reason" was dismissed for hinting at criticism of rather senior officials.

"We're probably always going to avoid playing that," acknowledged Air Force Staff Sgt. Harry Lockley, 25, of New Castle, Pa.

"Rock the Casbah" by the Clash finally was first on the air. It seemed to fit with both the Middle East landscape - the tune abounds with references to sheiks, Bedouins and Cadillacs - and the role of nearly 200,000 U.S. troops underwritten by Saudi Arabia to confront Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein after he invaded neighboring Kuwait Aug. 2.

One verse goes:
The king called out his jetfighters
He said you better earn you pay
Drop your bombs between the minarets
Down the Casbah way.

The radio station's format will be rock and roll, with some country, folk, rap and reggae music from its collection of 8,800 compact discs. There will also be a jazz hour on most nights. The station starts each hour with a news broadcast.

Classical music? None scheduled, and polka is also doubtful.

"There are a lot of young guys out here used to hearing hard-core rock and roll, hard-driving music," said Air Force Staff Sgt. John Haynes, 27, of Phoenix, Ariz., one of four disc jockeys. "I try to target the young guys."

The Saudi government has put some limits on what the station can broadcast. But no one in the unit would specify what was forbidden.

"It's basically just common sense" about what might offend Saudi sensibilities, said Lt. Col. David MacNamee, head of the Armed Forces Radio and Television Services in Saudi Arabia. A TV station is still under discussion.

The Muslim and tribal codes that determine public behavior in Saudi Arabia include bans on alcohol, and the mixing of men and women outside their homes.

Most U.S. soldiers out in the field have been prohibited from entering villages, and there has been cultural friction in places where the troops share facilities. Saudi troops are shocked by American men walking naked to the showers.

Part of the radio broadcasts include pep talks on the kingdom.

"Saudi Arabia's a land of mystery. Or is it?" said Yanku between songs during his first 30 minutes on the air. "If you take a little time to learn about it you'll make your stay more enjoyable."

Public service messages will include warnings about scorpions in the desert.

There's some question about how many soldiers will hear the 24-hour broadcasts because the number of transmitters is limited and few troops brought radios. Several thousand radios have been distributed and another 30,000 donated in the United States are expected to arrive soon.

Requests started rolling in within minutes of the live show.

The first soldier to call was a woman named Kim, dedicating Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." to her fellow troops.

Got a request? Dial 9663-899-1119, Ext. 7231.

http://albarchive.merlinone.net/mweb/wmsql.wm.request?oneimage&imageid=5547838

You Guys are idiots | Reviewer: Jess | 3/14/10

These reviews just show how FREAKIN IDIOTIC Amerians are.

This song was wrote WAY before any wars against terror. It's not criticisng any religions, it's just another big FUCK YOU to any sort of authority.

hey you fuckin idiot called groupie | Reviewer: zep. | 3/11/10

hey there you moron! i am a islamic chick that can speak in english? are u surprised that muslims could know such thing as internet or the clash?
good news u racist basterd we dont have people like yourself among us that screams and bombs everywhere and u know what your perfect country and fat ass american dream is a big nasty lie!
not the whole islamic world lives in the desert or in veils!
i am a fashion designer an' my momma is a opera singer? and u know what we didnt get killed or smthng! by da way google turkey u basterd! google m. kemal ataturk and c what your leaders couldnt and wouldnt do in a thousand years!
you and men like u only know how 2 kill and harm!
anddddd pls go fuck yourself!
ps. the hurt locker really sucks up in the air should have won that oscar but you know what only your men dies in wars right?

FUCK THE CASBAH | Reviewer: Groupie | 2/25/10

If anyone on the planet needs to listen to rock at full decibel, it's those goat-fucking Imams that forbid MUSIC! No wonder some of them blow stuff up -- NO rock NO sex NO drugs NO alcohol.The only females they hang with are their mothers, sisters, aunts or grandmothers. So they get boners & feel guilty & think, "I'll go fuck up the INFIDELS!"
Yeah...they all *desperately* need some sex, drugs, rock and roll but does any of them have the balls to rebel against such fucked up dogmatic douchebaggery?

Anon maybe you should know what you are talking about | Reviewer: Torf08 | 2/19/10

Strummer wasn't crying because the song was played during the Gulf War. He was crying because someone wrote "Rock the Casbah" on a bomb that was detonated during the Gulf War. He was also heard saying while crying "Hey, man, I never could think that a song of mine could be written as a death symbol on a fucking American bomb." Now that quote is from a friend of the band, and so may not be true. But you yourself need to lay off people, especially when you yourself do not have all the information.

Calm down dude | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/15/10

Ok mishal take a fuckin chill pill and RELAX man, people should be allowed to debate the meaning of a song that they like. And you yourself need to look up some info on this song because YOU are wrong in many ways. First off, this song isn't anti-american nor is it anti-islam, it's anti-opression dealing with the ban of rock music in the middle east. Second, none of the members found it "SO hilarious" that it was played by the Americans, as a matter of fact, Joe Strummer actually cried when he heard that this song was played during the Gulf War so nothin funny there. And third, while the Clash certainly started as a punk band and incorporated punk elements in their music throughout their career, this song is by no means a "Punk Song" its too poppy and electronic which is due to the fact that they were experimenting with other musical elements since London Calling.
So next time you want to cuss people out because you "THINK" that they're wrong and because you're such a bad ass, just take a deep breath, step back from the computer and go see a doctor cuz there seems to be a lot of shit coming from ur mouth.

YOU GUYS ARE ALL INSANELY STUPID. | Reviewer: Mishal | 8/29/09

This is a PUNK ROCK song. This is exactly why The Clash thought it was SO hilarious that the American military were using this song as positive propaganda for the military--IT'S COMPLETELY MAKING FUN OF THEM. The Clash were completely left-wing and completely against the bombing and the war, this is all freaking SATIRE.

Seriously, guys, get a fucking clue.

It's not against Islam, it's against the suppression of rock music in the middle east, but it's saying the people of the middle east will overcome the oppression and rock ;P


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