Tune du Jour: “Guns of Brixton” – The Clash
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: The Bandits vs. Nouvelle Vague
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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"Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs." - Milton Friedbyrd

“Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs.” – Milton Friedbyrd


Guns of Brixton was released in 1979 on The Clash’s spectacular third album, London Calling. It was the first song recorded by The Clash that was written and composed by Paul Simonon.  It was also the band’s first song to feature Simonon as lead vocalist. The Guns of Brixton was initially not released as a single. A remastered version was subsequently released as a single in July 1990, which reached number 57 on the UK Singles Chart (better late then never I suppose).

Brilliant song! One of my favorites.


The Original

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The Clash:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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The Bandits vs. Nouvelle Vague
The Bandits:

The Bandits hold the distinction of being CMI’s Reigning Exultant Virtuosic Performer of “Guns of Brixton“. Additionally, The Bandits are recipients of CMI’s universally coveted title of Uni Victor Melodious Maximus in Adversarial Replication. Among the title’s myriad of rewards and benefits, perhaps most desirous is that it bestows upon the recipient the eminently yearned for privilege of having one’s name appear in print media in bold yellow.

The Banditstriumphal performance in CMI’s THE CLASH of Cover Tunes competition is detailed below:

10/31/2013 – “Guns of Brixton” (The Clash) – The Bandits (86%) expunge Honeydippers (14%)

Nouvelle Vague:

Nouvelle Vague means “new wave” in English and “bossa nova” in Portuguese. The band was the brainchild of producers Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux, the concept being to remake classic new wave singles with a Brazilian pop twist. To add an unusual edge to the project, Collin and Libaux recruited French and Brazilian vocalists who were unfamiliar with the original versions of songs. The resulting songs were generally very interesting and, at times, excellent interpretations of the original material.

And will you look at this?!!? Nouvelle Vague has no reason to be intimidated as they too are recipients of CMI’s universally coveted title of Uni Victor Melodious Maximus in Adversarial Replication.

Nouvelle Vague’s triumphal performance in CMI’s THE CLASH of Cover Tunes competition is detailed below:

12/2/2013 – “Making Plans for Nigel” (XTC) – Nouvelle Vague (100%) trounce Franzi (0%)

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?


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Votes can be cast up to seven days from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

  1. Cuspid says:

    Dubbs: The Nouvelle Vague video above if for Making Plans for Nigel, not Guns of Brixton. But I went out to YouTube and found it on my own. The Bandits do a great job, and in some respects I think it’s a better reggae song the way they do it rather than the Clash. Still, I love the Nouvelle Vague approach. I’ve heard several of their covers, and every one is great. I’m going with the bossa nova edition.

  2. Arnie Plotnick says:

    Yes, I too was surprised to find Nouvelle Vague doing XTC’s “Making Plans for Nigel” instead of Guns of Brixton. Unlike Cuspid (whose birthday is rapidly approaching), I didn’t have to find it on YouTube, as I have it already on my work computer. I am a big fan of Nouvelle Vague and have all of their albums, and am already quite familiar with their Guns of Brixton. These low key, downtempo versions of punk and new wave classics, with the sultry MazzyStar-like vocals, are superb, and I also give it to NV, although I do give kudos to The Bandits, who do an excellent version. (Nouvelle Vague do a hypnotic version of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, by the way.)

  3. Kerry Black says:

    I didn’t know who Nouvelle Vague was until they were recently featured on CMI. I like their sound. I agree the singer sounds like Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, which is a good thing.

  4. RDubbs says:

    This is a really difficult vote for me. I love The Bandits version. A lot of energy and verve. I’m not sure you can cover the song any better. Pretty much all of NV’s covers are good and some are great. Guns of Brixton is my personal favorite of their catalog. As others have written, it works. Creative, sultry and alluring. A really cool way to cover an ass-kicker of a song.

    What to do? I really don’t know. I really don’t know. What to do?

    NV, I guess …

  5. gurn blanston says:

    nouvelle vag sucks – they ruin every song they touch.

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