The Clash

Spanish Bombs

Composed by Joe Strummer / Mick Jones

Song Review by

London Calling was widely praised for successfully broadening the Clash’s musical boundaries but it is important to note that it also found the group broadening their lyrical concerns from a local to a global level. A great example of this growth is "Spanish Bombs," a rousing rocker with a Spanish-themed political bent. The rich, visual lyrics of this song divide their time between strong images like "bullet holes in the cemetery walls" and passages that pay tribute to the revolutionaries of Spain’s past ("The hillsides ring with ‘free the people/Or can I hear the echo from the days of ‘39?"). The music behind this complex scenario pursues a straightforward with simple but catchy verses and chorus that hypnotically ebb and flow from peak to valley and back again. The result is simple enough to allow the lyrics to take center stage but melodically strong enough to stick in the memory. The Clash’s recording applies maximum energy to the song, layering a combination of languid power chords and quickly-strummed acoustic riffs over a throbbing rhythm section anchored by Paul Simonon’s percolating bassline. Mick Jones and Joe Strummer top it off with rousing unison vocals that provide a perfect finishing touch for this bracing rocker. This combination of thoughtful lyrics and an energetic performance made "Spanish Bombs" a highlight of London Calling and it remains a favorite with Clash fans today.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
London Calling 1979 Sony Music
Story of the Clash, Vol. 1 1988 Epic/Legacy 3:19
Clash on Broadway 1991 Epic / Epic/Legacy / Legacy 3:18
The Clash/London Calling/Combat Rock [2000] 2000 Sony Music Distribution
Combat Rock/London Calling 2007 Columbia 3:18
Live at Shea Stadium 2008 Legacy / Epic/Legacy 3:18
Great British Albums 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:18
The Complete Studio Albums 2013 Sony Music 3:18
Box Set Music on Vinyl 3:19
blue highlight denotes editor's pick