June 17, 2011

"He's In Love With Janie Jones"

He's in love with rock 'n' roll.
He's in love with gettin' stoned.
He's in love with Janie Jones.

There may be no better verse in rock and roll than that one above sung by Joe Strummer on the Clash's 1977 eponymous debut album. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll—the popular music's mission statement and mythos—is whittled down here to just three simplistic lines. As Nick Hornby put it in High Fidelity, it's one of the "five best side one track ones of all time" (though on my US version, it's the first track on the second side).

Strummer and Mick Jones wrote the song about English singer Marion Mitchell, who went by the stage name Janie Jones and achieved notoriety by donning topless dresses, playing a role in bribing BBC Radio 1 disc jockeys with sexual favors, and singing the kitschy Halloween single "Witches Brew." While Jones's novelty music won't impress many these days, the song that she inspired The Clash to write and record sounds as fiery, raw, and immediate as ever.

The Clash - "Janie Jones" (from The Clash)

Babyshambles - "Janie Jones"(from Strummerville)
Janie Jones - "Witches Brew" (from "Witches Brew" 7")

After the jump, watch The Clash perform "Janie Jones" live in Manchester in 1977.

The Clash

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