#920: 1980, The Clash, The Call Up

by George_East on August 12, 2014

It is day 5 of our anti-war songs theme week.   Whereas all of the other songs chosen so far have been inspired by specific wars, today’s pick is one that has in its sights, war generally, capturing both the permanency of war and how it rests upon a willingness of a populace to fight for its governments and a misplaced pride that they do so:

All the young people down the ages

They gladly marched off to die

Proud city fathers used to watch them

Tears in their eyes

As ever with The Clash the power to change things is located firmly in our hands as the chorus makes clear:

It’s up to you not to heed the call-up

I don’t wanna die!

It’s up to you not to hear the call-up

I don’t wanna kill!”

The heightened tensions of the cold war caused by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the election of Ronald Reagan as President (which happened a few weeks before The Call Up was released as a single) brought the possibility of mass mobilisation of armies for the third time in 70 years.   The leaders of the world were not going to prevent it, but active resistance might.

At fifty five minutes past eleven…’

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