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The Clash Gates Of The West Lyrics

Last updated: 08/01/2013 07:08:53 AM

I would love to be the lucky one on chill avenue
Who could keep your heart warm when ice has turned it blue
But with the beggin' sleeping losers as they turn in for the night
I'm looking back for home and I can see the lights

I should be jumpin' shoutin' that I made it all this way
From Camden town station to 44th and 8th
Not many make it this far and many say we're great
But just like them we walk on an' we can't escape our fate
Can't you hear the sighing
Eastside Jimmy and Southside Sue
Both say they needed something new

So I'm standing at the gates of the west
I burn money at the lights of the sign
The city casts a shadow of the perfect crime
I'm standing at the gates of the east
I take my pulse and the pulse of my friend
The city casts a shadow, will I see you again?

The immigrants an' remnants of all the glory years
Are clustered around the bar again for another round of beers
Little Richard's in the kitchen playing spoons and plates
He's telling the waitress he's great

Ah say i know somewhere back'n'forth in time
Out on the dustbowls, deep in the roulette mine
Or in a ghetto cellar only yesterday
There's a move into the future for the USA.

I hear them crying
Eastside Jimmy and Southside Sue
Both said they needed something new

Standing at the gates of the west
In the shadow again
I'm standing at the gates of the west
In the shadow again

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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 | 12/29/08

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 | 11/16/05

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 ! ! !