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"Should I Stay or Should I Go" is a song by the English punk rock band The Clash, from their album Combat Rock. It was written in 1981 and featured Mick Jones on lead vocals. It became the band's only number-one single on the UK Singles Chart, a decade after it was originally released.[1] In November 2004, it was ranked at 228 on Rolling Stone "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.[2] In 2009 it was ranked 42nd on VH1's program 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs.[3]

Many rumours have arisen about the song's content, such as Jones' impending dismissal from The Clash or the rocky personal relationship between Jones and singer Ellen Foley,[4] but Jones himself says:

It wasn't about anybody specific and it wasn't pre-empting my leaving The Clash. It was just a good rockin' song, our attempt at writing a classic... When we were just playing, that was the kind of thing we used to like to play. - Mick Jones, 1991[5]

The Spanish backing vocals were sung by Joe Strummer and Joe Ely:

On the spur of the moment I said 'I'm going to do the backing vocals in Spanish,' ... We needed a translator so Eddie Garcia, the tape operator, called his mother in Brooklyn Heights and read her the lyrics over the phone and she translated them. But Eddie and his mum are Ecuadorian, so it's Ecuadorian Spanish that me and Joe Ely are singing on the backing vocals. - Joe Strummer, 1991[6]

The song is featured in the trailer for You, Me and Dupree and Rugrats Go Wild, where it was featured on its soundtrack. The live version of the song was also featured in the opening credits for the film 28 Days. The song's opening guitar riff was used in One Direction's 2012 hit single, "Live While We're Young", which caused controversy.


 [hide*1 Releases


The single was reissued several times. It was first reissued in 1982, with a different cover as a double A-side with "Straight to Hell" and with "Cool Confusion" as its B-side. It was reissued again in 1983, with "First Night Back in London" on the side two, and then for a third time in 1991, with "Rush" by Mick Jones' group Big Audio Dynamite II as a double A-side, with a remix of "Rush" as its B-side (see the table below).[7]

Year B-side Format Label Country Note
1982 CBS logo etched into vinyl 45 rpm 7" vinyl Epic ENR-03571 USA One Sided Single - Epic's Get the Hit - Special Low Price
1982 "Cool Confusion" 45 rpm 12" vinyl Epic 07 5P-223 JP
1982 "Straight to Hell" (Edit) 45 rpm 12" vinyl CBS CBS A13 2646 UK
1982 "Straight to Hell" (Edit) 45 rpm 7" vinyl CBS CBS AII 2646 UK Picture disc
1982 "Inoculated City" 45 rpm 7" vinyl Epic 14-03006 USA 10 June 1982
1982 "First Night Back in London" 45 rpm 7" vinyl Epic 34-03061 USA Released on 20 July 1982
1982 "Straight to Hell" 45 rpm 7" vinyl CBS CBS A 2646 UK Released on 17 September 1982
1983 "Cool Confusion" 45 rpm 7" vinyl Epic 34-03547 USA Released on 27 January 1983
  1. "Rush (Dance Mix)" (Big Audio Dynamite II)
  2. "Protex Blue" (The Clash)
45 rpm 12" vinyl CBS / Sony UK A-side

  1. "Should I Stay or Should I Go" (The Clash)
  2. "Rush" (Big Audio Dynamite II)


"Should I Stay or Should I Go"[edit][]

"Inoculated City"[edit][]


Chart succession[edit][]

Preceded by

"Do the Bartman" by The Simpsons

UK number-one single

9 March 1991 – 16 March 1991 (2 weeks)

Succeeded by

"The Stonk" by Hale and Pace