"White Riot" is a song by English punk rock band The Clash, released as the band's first single in 1977. The song is featured on their debut album. It exists in two versions: the original on the UK version of the album, and the second (re-recorded, with a different intro) on the "White Riot" single and US version of the album released in the States two years later in 1979. The UK album version is 1:56 in running time, while the single and US album version run in at 2:01.
The song is short and intense, drawing influence from the Ramones' style of three chords played very fast. Mick Jones counts off "1-2-3-4" at the start (In the re-recorded version, it instead begins with the sound of a police siren).
Lyrically, the song is about class economics and race and thus proved controversial: many people thought it was advocating a kind of race war. Rather, lyricist Joe Strummer was trying to appeal to white youths to find a worthy cause to riot, as he felt blacks in the UK already had. It contains a positive message in the lines "Are you taking over / Or are you taking orders? / Are you going backwards / Or are you going forwards?"
The song was written after Joe Strummer and bassist Paul...