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Bankrobber

Bankrobber

"Bankrobber" is a song, and a single by The Clash. The song was not released on any of their studio albums, instead appearing on their compilation Black Market Clash. Upon its 1980 release as a single it peaked at #12 on the UK Singles Chart.

The song haphazardly chronicles the life of the narrator's father, the bankrobber of the song's title (who "never hurt nobody"), concentrating on the theme of the drudgery of many working class jobs.

Young Ian Brown and Pete Garner - later of The Stone Roses - were in attendance at the studio recording session of this single.

The Clash filmed a low-budget video for the song, depicting members of the band recording the song in the studio, interspersed with Clash roadies Baker and Johnny Green wearing bandanas over their faces, performing a bank heist in Lewisham. During the filming, Baker and Green were stopped and questioned by the police, who thought they were the real thing.

Track listing

Side one

  1. "Bankrobber"

Side two

  1. "Rockers Galore... UK Tour" (Mikey Dread)

Robber Dub

"Robber Dub" is the dub version of "Bankrobber". It was to be included in the 12" single for "Bankrobber", but the label ended up refusing to release the single. The song can be found on their 1980 compilation album Black Market Clash, combined with "Bankrobber" as a 6:16 track, and on the 1994 compilation album Super Black Market Clash, as a 4:42 stand alone track.

Rockers Galore...UK Tour

"Rockers Galore...UK Tour" is a reworking of "Bankrobber" with Mikey Dread singing new lyrics about touring with the Clash. It is not "Robber Dub" which lacks the Dread vocal and lyrics. "Rockers Galore" is also featured on their 2006 compilation album Singles Box.

Rocknrolla

Bankrobber is an important track in Guy Ritchie's 2008 film, Rocknrolla, it is sung alternatively by the older 'Johnny Quid' in his dingy flat, and by the younger 'John Cole' in the company of his cruel step-father, the London mob boss Lenny Cole. The song is poignant in that it illustrates perfectly the antagonistic relationship between Quid and Cole, Quid having stolen an important item from Cole in order to have Cole violently punished in the same manner that Quid was violently punished by Cole for singing to the song on the radio, loudly.

Cover versions

The Norwegian hardcore band So Much Hate appears with a live version of the song on the It's Your Choice live comp. 2x10".

Audioweb recorded a rock/reggae cover in 1997 which reached number 19 in the UK charts.

Chumbawamba recorded a folk-style cover version of the song for their 2005 album, A Singsong and a Scrap.

Hawksley Workman recorded a version, which was available on a free CD in the UK magazine UNCUT in 2003. The CD was entitled "White Riot Vol. 1 - A Tribute To The Clash".

OPM recorded a cover for the In The OPMDen Ep.

Charts

Chart Peak
position
Date
UK Singles Chart 12
Irish Singles Chart 14 Sep 1980

Notes

References

  • Gilbert, Pat (2005). Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of The Clash. 4th edition, London: Aurum Press.
  • Gray, Marcus (2005). The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town. 5th revised edition, London: Helter Skelter.
  • Green, Johnny; Garry Barker (2003). A Riot of Our Own: Night and Day with The Clash. 3rd edition, London: Orion.
  • Gruen, Bob; Chris Salewicz (2004). The Clash. 3rd edition, London: Omnibus.
  • Needs, Kris Joe Strummer and the Legend of the Clash. London: Plexus.
  • Topping, Keith (2004). The Complete Clash. 2nd edition, Richmond: Reynolds & Hearn.

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