Tommy Gun (song)

"Tommy Gun" is a song by the British punk rock band The Clash, released as the first single from their second album Give 'Em Enough Rope (1978).

"Tommy Gun"
The Clash - Tommy Gun.jpg
Single by The Clash
from the album Give 'Em Enough Rope
B-side"1-2 Crush on You"
Released24 November 1978
Format7-inch vinyl
GenrePunk rock
LabelCBS S CBS 6788
Songwriter(s)Joe Strummer and Mick Jones
Producer(s)Sandy Pearlman
The Clash singles chronology
"(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais"
"Tommy Gun"
"English Civil War"

Joe Strummer said that he got the idea for the song when he was thinking about terrorists, and how they probably enjoy reading about their killings as much as movie stars like seeing their films reviewed.[1] While Topper Headon mimics the sound of gangster movie shootings with quick snare hits and the guitars are full of distortion and feedback, Strummer's sarcastic lyrics (I'm cutting out your picture from page one/I'm gonna get a jacket just like yours/And give my false support to your cause/Whatever you want, you're gonna get it!) condemn rather than condone violence: at the end of the song he sings, If death comes so cheap/Then the same goes for life!

In the liner notes of the Singles Box, Carl Barat (former frontman of Dirty Pretty Things and The Libertines), says that "Tommy Gun" was important for music at the time because it let people know what was going on in the world—it talked about real issues. He says,

It's ["Tommy Gun"] a product of the volatile climate of the late seventies - all those references to terrorist organizations like Baader-Meinhof and The Red Brigades. It's like a punk rock adaptation of The Beatles' "Revolution".[2]


"Tommy Gun"Edit

"1-2 Crush on You"Edit

  • Mick Jones - lead guitar, lead and backing vocals
  • Joe Strummer - rhythm guitar, backing and lead (outro) vocals, piano
  • Paul Simonon - bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Topper Headon - drums
  • Gary Barnacle - saxophone


Chart Peak
UK Singles Chart[3] 19 December 1978


  • Gilbert, Pat (2005) [2004]. Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of The Clash (4th ed.). London: Aurum Press. ISBN 1-84513-113-4. OCLC 61177239.
  • Gray, Marcus (2005) [1995]. The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town (5th revised ed.). London: Helter Skelter. ISBN 1-905139-10-1. OCLC 60668626.
  • Green, Johnny; Garry Barker (2003) [1997]. A Riot of Our Own: Night and Day with The Clash (3rd ed.). London: Orion. ISBN 0-7528-5843-2. OCLC 52990890.
  • Gruen, Bob; Chris Salewicz (2004) [2001]. The Clash (3rd ed.). London: Omnibus. ISBN 1-903399-34-3. OCLC 69241279.
  • Needs, Kris (25 January 2005). Joe Strummer and the Legend of the Clash. London: Plexus. ISBN 0-85965-348-X. OCLC 53155325.
  • Topping, Keith (2004) [2003]. The Complete Clash (2nd ed.). Richmond: Reynolds & Hearn. ISBN 1-903111-70-6. OCLC 63129186.


  1. ^ Sullivan, Denise. "Tommy Gun Song Review" (DLL). allmusic. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  2. ^ Singles Box, p. 14
  3. ^ "Artist: The Clash". Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 23 July 2019.