spiritual allegory | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/1/13
it's also a fairly obvious spiritual allegory, the east and the west, the sun rises and sets, birth to death, and standing in the shadow alone. they were transforming from being a garage band, as they put it in another song about the same thing, to being rock stars with obligations to a record company and fans.
Searching for the Soul of America | Reviewer: Dave
I think Jones is saying he wanted to create music that tapped into the heart and soul of America in the way that early rock and roll did - people like Little Richard, Elvis, Chuck Berry, etc. Those guys were legends that changed the world by tapping into some fundamental burning passion and meaning within the hearts of Americans (and more broadly the world since America is a land of immigrants, i.e. the great "melting pot") and gave it a voice and a means of expression. However, when the Clash wrote the song it was time for something new to be the next great wave of music but, Mick Jones (who I assume wrote it) thinks the Clash can't quite get there because while they have some understanding of American music and culture, they still are outsiders with one foot in "the East" (in this case Europe or the rest of the world) who can't fully understand America and write something so powerful that it will help bring America forward in the way that Rock and Roll did. To do that the Clash would have to have been raised in America and absorbed from birth the collective experience of America, its history and its rich diversity created by all the immigrants who came here over the years and shaped it into what it became. The Clash can get close but not all the way there. This reminds me of U2's Rattle and Hum which to me was U2's attempt to plumb the soul of America and write about it in all its greatness and flaws. Contrary to the theme of Gates of the West, I think Rattle and Hum shows that sometimes outsiders have the perspective to understand things better than the "insiders" (i.e. artists that grew up in the US). And of course, it's the mixing of cultures and traditions (both within and between countries) that has created the greatest music, as evidenced by bands like the Beatles and the Stones, who took American Rockabilly and Blues and added their British perspective to it, with unparalleled results that speak for themselves.
Gates of The West | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/8/06
This Song was written by Mick and Joe in America while recording Give 'Em Enough Rope. The tune is the same as the unreleased song Ooh Baby Ooh (Its Not Over), but the lyrics are Different. Is is about celebrating making it all the way to america, but also has a note of regret in leaving the familiar punk scene of London. This song is Sung by Mick Jones
IS JOE SINGING ABOUT THIS . . . ? | Reviewer: JENKS
In this song, is Joe singing about,
standing at the gates of the west ... the USA,
being absolutley ready, to make it absolutely big time,
yet somehow ... he's standing in the shadows again,
he can see it isn't going to happen,
is it a kind of lament ?
However, I love the mood of this song ! ! !