Saturday, June 5, 1982

The Clash “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” charted

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

The Clash

Writer(s): Topper Headon, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Joe Strummer (see lyrics here)

Released: May 1982

First Charted: June 5, 1982

Peak: 45 US, 63 CB, 13 AR, 1 CO, 12 UK, 40 CN, 37 AU, 5 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.6 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 127.35 video, 633.64 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Clash formed in London in 1976. They were one of the pillars of British punk rock, touted early on as “the most important rock group in Britain.” KL Their self-titled debut album hit #12 in the UK. 1978’s Give ‘Em Enough Rope hit #2, 1979’s London Calling hit #9, and the 1980 triple album Sandinista! reached #19. Their peak came in 1982 with Combat Rock. It got to #2 in the UK, but became the group’s only top-10 album in the United States, also reaching double platinum status.

Prior to Combat Rock, the Clash had racked up 13 chart hits in the UK, but their only success in the United States had been with 1980’s “Train in Vain,” a #23 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. “Know Your Rights,” the lead single from Combat Rock, was nother miss on the U.S. charts, but got to #43 in the UK. The second single, “Rock the Casbah,” proved to be the breakthrough for the Clash in the U.S., going all the way to #8. The follow-up, “Should I Stay Or Should I Go,” hit #45.

“Should I Stay” wasn’t done, though. Originally it peaked at #17 in the UK, but in 1991 the song saw a resurgence because of its appearance in a Levi jeans commercial. It was re-released and hit #1 in the UK. Not only was it their only chart-topper, but their only song to hit the top 10 in the UK.

When the song initially came out, some interpreted it as a sign that singer and guitarist Mick Jones was leaving the band. He was, in fact, fired in 1983. In 2009, Rolling Stone SF said it was about “the tempestuous personal relationship between Jones and American singer Ellen Foley,” WK who sang backing vocals on Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell. Jones said, “it wasn’t about anything specific and it wasn’t pre-empting my leaving The Clash. It was just a good rockin’ song, our attempt at writing a classic.” KL


  • AMG All Music Guide
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Pages 366-7.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 10/2/2022.

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