Songs about fighting and fights

28 March 2019, 16:48 | Updated: 28 March 2019, 16:56

Actors Carl Weathers and Sylvester Stallone on set of the United Artist movie Rocky II in 1979.
Actors Carl Weathers and Sylvester Stallone on set of the United Artist movie Rocky II in 1979. Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Radio X looks at (but does not condone in any way) pugilism (that's scrapping) in rock.

  1. The Clash - White Riot

    Joe Strummer wants a riot, a riot of his own. In the turbulent late 1970s when race riots were rife in the UK, the Clash frontman rails against the stodgy white middle classes. Flash forward 15 years and the white middle classes were setting fire to PC World and stealing mobile phones. What would Joe have thought?

  2. The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

    “I’m gonna fight 'em all / A seven nation army couldn't hold me back.” Jack White’s a big lad, too - so he definitely isn’t bluffing.

  3. Limp Bizkit - Break Stuff

    “Your best bet is to stay away motherf**ker / It's just one of those days!” Best steer clear of Fred Durst when he’s in one of these moods.

  4. The Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man

    "Summer's here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy." In the aftermath of the Paris student riots in May 1968, Mick Jagger pondered (much like Joe Strummer) on the fact that such rebellion didn't really gain a foothold in middle class English suburbia, berating "sleepy London town". Then someone was stabbed to death at a Stones concert and he soon backed away from such confrontational lyrics.

  5. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 1

    Science fiction fights - that's more like it. Away from gritty reality, Wayne Coyne paints a vivid picture of the heroine who's taking on the evil automata. "She's taking lots of vitamins," he notes.

  6. The Jam - Down In The Tube Station At Midnight

    Back in the real world, Paul Weller offers up a thumbnail sketch of a man who comes a cropper on the way back home when he's confronted by a group of thugs. "They smelt of pubs / And Wormwood Scrubs / And too many right-wing meetings." Bad news.

  7. Radiohead - A Punch Up At A Wedding

    A spiteful song from Thom Yorke, who claims: "You've come here just to start a fight / You had to piss on our parade / You had to shred our big day / You had to ruin it for all concerned." Ouch.

  8. Beastie Boys - (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)

    A metaphorical fight, of course. But a struggle, all the same. And nobody should stand in the way of a Beastie Boy and a par-tay.

  9. Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot

    Based on actual eye-witness testimony of an actual night out in Leeds. Actually, the song came from drummer Nick Hodgson's days as a DJ in the Yorkshire city, and the titles was uttered by a club bouncer when he saw how lairy the evening was getting.

  10. Elton John - Saturday’s Alright For Fighting

    Reg’s tribute to getting wrecked at the weekend and causing a bit of aggro: “I'm a juvenile product of the working class / Whose best friend floats at the bottom of a glass.”

  11. Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger

    “It's the eye of the tiger, it's the dream of the fight / Risin' up to the challenge of our rival.” Rousing, Rocky-soundtracking classic RAWK ideal for that training montage: hit that punchbag with every crashing chord in the intro!


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