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The Clash - Rock the Casbah - Lyrics Meaning

Rock the Casbah was released on the 1982 album, "Combat Rock"

The Clash manager, Bernie Rhodes had just got done hearing the band record a song that was unusually long. He asked them if everything had to be as long as a raga, which is a part of the framework of classical Indian music. That is where strummer got the first line of "Rock the Casbah". The king being Rhodes, and then boogie men, the band.

There is reference to the sheik and a muezzin, which is Turkish for the person who leads prayers in a mosque. The chorus, "shareef don't like it" refers to the Ayatollah Khomeini, who banned rock music because it was a bad influence on people. The banning of music is not unheard of in the middle east.

In the second verse, the music is banned but the Bedouin, an Arab ethnic group, began playing rock and roll as soon as the shareef was out of sight.

In the third verse, the chanters at the temple heard the "crazy casbah jive" The shareef orders jet fighters to shoot anyone playing music. At that point, the jet fighters rebel against him and escort him out, and then begin rocking out themselves.

Meanings of other songs by The Clash:
White Riot