This Week In 1983: February 5th
After slipping one spot to #2 last week, Men At Work reclaim the top spot with “Down Under”. This week’s biggest drop is by Don Henley and the song “Dirty Laundry”. It tumbles from #7 all the way to #32. This week’s biggest mover is from the band Styx as their single “Mr. Roboto” debuts on the countdown at #40. “Rock The Casbah” from the Clash is spending it’s fourth and final week at its peak position of #8.
Song Story: “Rock The Casbah” by The Clash
The music for “Rock The Casbah” was written by drummer, Topper Headon. It was based on a piano part that he had been toying with. Finding himself in the studio alone, Headon progressively taped the drum, piano and bass parts, recording the bulk of the song’s musical instrumentation himself. Lead singer, Joe Strummer, had been toying with the phrase “rock the casbah” prior to hearing Headon’s musical track. This phrase had originated during a jam session with Strummer’s violinist friend Tymon Dogg. Dogg began playing Eastern scales with his violin and Strummer started shouting “rock the casbah!” Dogg misheard him and thought that he was shouting at him to “stop, you cadger!”
The lyrics were inspired, in part, by the ban on Western music in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The song features an electronic sound effect beginning at the 1:52 minute point of the song. This noise is a monophonic version of the song “Dixie”. The sound effect source was generated by the alarm from a digital wristwatch that Mick Jones owned, and was intentionally added to the recording by Jones.