The Clash: “Guns of Brixton”

Posted: February 21, 2018 in THE CLASH of Cover Tunes
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Tune du Jour: “Guns of Brixton” – The Clash
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Dropkick Murphys vs. Nouvelle Vague vs. Rancho Deluxe
Broc 3 - Cover Me Impressed

Everybody’s Dressin’ Funny … Cover Me Impressed!



“Friend, there’s a reason they don’t call it ‘working’, it’s called PLAYING! … It’s a life-giving, joyful, sweat-drenched, muscle-aching, voice-blowing, mind-clearing, exhausting, soul-invigorating cathartic pleasure and privilege every night.”

  Bruce Springsteen



The Original

The Clash:


THE CLASH of Cover Tunes


Dropkick Murphys vs. Nouvelle Vague vs. Rancho Deluxe
Dropkick Murphys:

Nouvelle Vague:

Rancho Deluxe:

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. It is your solemn responsibility to decide which cover song prevails. In other words … Which Side Are You On?!!? 


  1. Cuspid says:

    Cool song. I like all 3 covers too. They’re all very different. Each has its merits. So the one you like best depends on what kind of mood you’re in. I guess I’ll go with Dropkick Murphies because it kinda reminded me of how Still Little Fingers would have covered this song if it had been one of their early b-sides.

  2. RDubbs says:

    As Cuspid noted, all three covers have their merits. I love the way the DM’s version starts with the sounds of broken glass and their tempo is excellent; but I’m just not crazy about their vocals on this one. I like NV a lot. Their utterly unique style works superbly with most every new wave and punk song they cover. However, a song like Guns of Brixton cries out for angst and rancor, something NV’s version just does not provide. RD (nice initials, I must say!) kicks out a great version of this song. Perhaps the rockabilly mentality is a bit off for a song of this nature, yet still, they earned my much coveted vote.

  3. Arnold Plotnick says:

    Good song, no doubt. I did not like the Dropkick Murphy’s version. Their vocals were just horrible. Their lead singer just kept switching keys, singing totally off tune, effectively murdering the song. Granted, Paul Simenon’s vocals on the song are also nothing spectacular, but still…

    Not too crazy about Rancho Deluxe’s version, either. Not sure why. I just don’t.

    I have a few of Nouvelle Vague’s CDs, and I like ’em. They’re very straightforward. She takes cool songs, and sings them in a vacant, sultry voice over minimalist arrangements. It’s great, if you like that sorta thing. And I do. NV gets my vote.

  4. Kerry Black says:

    This is a rare Clash song written and sung by bassist Paul Simonon. That’s also him pictured in the iconic cover photo of “London Calling”. As far as I know, he’s not related to Paul Simon.

    In ’82 I ventured to Montego Bay for a three day music festival that featured The Clash. I was psyched to discover they were staying at the same hotel (but I never saw Strummer). It was cool to see Simonon seated at the next table for poolside lunch, or to call for the elevator and have him bounding out.

    Years later they came out with a CD “single” (“Return To Brixton”) that featured nothing but four different mixes of this song. Coincidentally, just last night I was at Allmusic and read a review which I’ll quote in its entirety:

    “Three boring and pointless remixes of “The Guns of Brixton” are presented here alongside the original. While the disc panders to Mick Jones’ penchant for hip-hop-styled remixing, it does little for the listener.”

    Oh well, I confess I only bought it because the cover features a close-up street map of Brixton, and it brings back fond memories since I spent seven months working and living upstairs at a pub a couple hundred yards from Brixton tube station.

  5. Pete Black says:

    I had The Murphys over an enjoyable Nouvelle Vague cover. I have two NV albums and generally like their interpretations. This is a great song which I have neglected for a while so it sounded fresh. There are so many great songs on this album. I was talking to Dean in the summer of 2016 and he mentioned in a perplexed tone that many people list London Calling among their favorite all time albums. I said yes. He said , “No, I mean top ten!” I said I think it’s that good. I had a party about 8 years ago and had London Calling playing at some point when two fiends of mine, one a big music fan but 17 years younger than I am and another only about 25 at the time but a musician and big music fan both didn’t know it.

  6. bornunderabadsign says:

    I liked them all but liked Nouvelle Vague the best!

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