Song Lyric Sunday: If Adolf Hitler Flew in Today

Jim Adams is the host for Song Lyric Sunday. This week’s theme is Punk Songs.

If we’re talking punk, there is only one band for me – The Clash and the one song that I will never grow tired of: (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais. Originally released as a single in June 1978, it made it to number 32 in the UK.

To be fair, White Man isn’t strictly punk with its hypnotic ska-reggae rhythm, but it has the punk ethos of focusing on a social and/or political issue. In this case, the watering down of reggae music, inequality, race relations and a clarion call to stop solving problems with violence. And all in under four minutes!

I must thank my two older brothers for my love of The Clash. Because when punk reared its snarling head in Britain in the mid-seventies, out went the progressives and glam rock and in came ripped clothes and safety pins. My mother was not amused. She was even less amused when I told her I want this song played at my funeral.

Midnight to six man
For the first time from Jamaica
Dillinger and Leroy Smart
Delroy Wilson, your cool operator

Ken Boothe for UK pop reggae
With backing bands sound systems
And if they’ve got anything to say
There’s many black ears here to listen

But it was Four Tops all night with encores from stage right
Charging from the bass knives to the treble
But onstage they ain’t got no roots rock rebel
Onstage they ain’t got no roots rock rebel

Dress back jump back, this is a bluebeat attack
‘Cause it won’t get you anywhere
Fooling with the guns
The British Army is waiting out there
An’ it weighs fifteen hundred tons

White youth, black youth
Better find another solution
Why not phone up Robin Hood
And ask him for some wealth distribution

Punk rockers in the UK
They won’t notice anyway
They’re all too busy fighting
For a good place under the lighting

The new groups are not concerned
With what there is to be learned
They got Burton suits, ha, you think it’s funny
Turning rebellion into money

All over people changing their votes
Along with their overcoats
If Adolf Hitler flew in today
They’d send a limousine anyway

I’m the all-night drug-prowling wolf
Who looks so sick in the sun
I’m the white man in the Palais
Just looking’ for fun

I’m only looking for fun
Oh, please mister, just leave me alone
I’m only looking for fun
Looking, looking, looking for fun

Songwriter(s): Joe Strummer & Mick Jones
© Universal Music Publishing Group


4 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: If Adolf Hitler Flew in Today

  1. This is a great and prophetic song. The line about punk rockers (anyone, really) not caring about anything because they’re more interested in getting a good place under the lighting and people changing their votes and sending Hitler a limousine; we see that kind of stuff on the new regularly. At least over here in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

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