1. (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais (The Clash, 1978)
This isn’t just The Clash’s best song, it’s probably the best rock and roll song of all time.
It never even charted in the US. Because their are few songs that can immediately pump me up and get my mood moving faster than this one. It tells the story of reggae nights at a local club where songwriter Joe Strummer used to spend his time until he found the music had become too commercial and had lost its way—“If Adolf Hitler were here today, they’d send a limousine anyway”—he complained, because they “ain’t got no roots, rock, rebel.”
It’s also a dis record—rumor has it, the line, “They got Burton suits, think it’s funny, turning rebellion into money,” was written about the British band The Jam.
Cover versions: It’s pretty hard to improve on the original, so this faithful cover by the Have Nots should do the trick. At least you can understand the lyrics a lot better without Strummer’s snarling-in-an-accent.