The Clash

Death or Glory

Song Review by

About halfway through the Clash's masterful London Calling album comes this glorious slab of cathartic rock & roll. The song's theme and central message is sounded with the first couplet: "Every cheap hood strikes a bargain with the world/And ends up making payments on a sofa or a girl." "Death or Glory" proceeds to tweak the previous generation of rock stars that had sworn to die before they got old. With "Death or Glory," Joe Strummer and Mick Jones proclaim their comfort with the idea of coming to terms with the world and turn the song into the first-ever punk paean to maturity. What makes it work, though, isn't the message as much as the medium; this song features the best and most satisfying chord progression and melody the Clash ever came up with. In its place at the center of the ambitious and highly variegated London Calling, it had the effect of a palate-cleansing sorbet in the middle of a multi-course dinner.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
London Calling 1979 Legacy / Epic 3:55
Clash on Broadway 1991 Epic / Legacy 3:57
The Clash/London Calling/Combat Rock [2000] 2000 Epic / Sony Music Distribution 3:55
Great British Albums 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:55
Sound System 2013 Sony Legacy / Sony Music 3:54