Washington Bullets

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About Washington Bullets

"Washington Bullets" is a song from The Clash's 1980 album Sandinista!. A politically charged song, it is a simplified version of imperialist history from the 1959 Cuban Revolution to the Nicaraguan Sandinistas of the 1980s, with mention of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Dalai Lama, and Víctor Jara, referencing his death at the hands of the Chilean military dictatorship in the stadium that now bears his name. Although a criticism of the foreign policy of the United States, the song's final stanza also delivers a criticism of Communist states by making reference to the treatment of pacifist Buddhist monks in the People's Republic of China during the Cultural Revolution and the Soviet Union's Invasion of Afghanistan. The song's title is often thought to have been a pun on the name of the American capital city's National Basketball Association franchise, the Washington Bullets (which later went on to change its name to the Washington Wizards), but frontman Joe Strummer denied any knowledge of the basketball team previous to the song's release. The song is one of The Clash's more experimental, in the reggae style, with a marimba and lyrics that are almost spoken rather than sung. Though the marimba is the most prominent instrument, electric guitar riffs are still audible. The marimba part is an altered version of the melody from "Turkey in the Straw". 


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Oh! Mama, Mama look there!
Your children are playing in that street again
Don't you know what happened down there?
A youth of fourteen got shot down there
The Kokane guns of Jamdown Town
The killing clowns, the blood money men
Are shooting those Washington bullets again

As every cell in Chile will tell
The cries of the tortured men
Remember Allende, and the days before,
Before the army came
Please remember Victor Jara,
In the Santiago Stadium,
Es verdad - those Washington Bullets again

And in the Bay of Pigs in 1961,
Havana fought the playboy in the Cuban sun,
For Castro is a color,
Is a redder than red,
Those Washington bullets want Castro dead
For Castro is the color...
...That will earn you a spray of lead

For the very first time ever,
When they had a revolution in Nicaragua,
There was no interference from America
Human rights in America

Well the people fought the leader,
And up he flew...
With no Washington bullets what else could he do?

'N' if you can find a Afghan rebel
That the Moscow bullets missed
Ask him what he thinks of voting Communist...
...Ask the Dalai Lama in the hills of Tibet,
How many monks did the Chinese get?
In a war-torn swamp stop any mercenary,
'N' check the British bullets in his armory

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The Clash

The Clash were an English punk rock band that formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk. Along with punk, their music incorporated elements of reggae, ska, dub, funk, rap, dance, and rockabilly. For most of their recording career, the Clash consisted of Joe Strummer (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Mick Jones (lead guitar, vocals), Paul Simonon (bass guitar, vocals) and Nicky "Topper" Headon (drums, percussion). Headon left the group in 1982, and internal friction led to Jones's departure the following year. The group continued with new members, but finally disbanded in early 1986. more »

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"Washington Bullets Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 29 Jan. 2020. <https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/3346807/The+Clash>.

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Washington Bullets

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