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Bankrobber 7" single

UK Release Date: 8th August 1980

UK Catalogue Number: CBS 8323

UK Chart Position: 12

Side A

  1. Bankrobber

Side B

  1. Rockers Galore

Artist: The Clash

First Release: "Train In Vain" single (CBS Netherlands, June 1980)

Length: 4:33

Vocals: Joe Strummer


Additional Information:

  • original working title was Bank Robbing Song [1]
  • Mick Jones: "That was a song Joe wrote on his own." [2]
  • first live performances at the band's three X-mas London gigs in December 1979 [3]
  • Kris Needs: "Joe's original track followed his ska influences which had also underpinned such recent outings as Wrong 'Em Boyo and Rudie Can't Fail, but Mikey [Dread, producer] felt the song [...] should be planted against a heavy dub backdrop." [4]

Different Studio Versions / Mixes: four different mixes of the song exist:

  • "Bankrobber" (4:33) (single version with fade-out at the end)
  • "Bankrobber / Robber Dub" (6:16) (single version segued into second half "Robber dub") [5]
  • "Rockers Galore...UK Tour" (4:41) (dub mix of the single version, with Mikey Dread toasting over it) [6]
  • "Robber Dub" (4:42) ("Rockers Galore...UK Tour" instrumental version) [7]

  • studio version recorded at Pluto Recording Studios in Manchester (1-2/2/1980)[8]
  • Mick Jones (3/2/1980): "That new song you heard - recorded it last night, and yeah, it's definitely going to be our next single." [9]
  • Mick Jones (7/2/1980): "[Mikey Dread has] already done the next single, it's called "Bankrobber" [...] [The b-side will] probably be a dub version of "Bankrobber" with Mikey Dread toasting." [10]
  • Joe Strummer (23/5/1980): "[Mikey's toast version "Rockers Galore...UK Tour"] was intended to come directly after "Bankrobber" on a [12 inch single]. Originally we had thought to put a brand new song on the other side, but thanks to the hassles with CBS this will never happen." [11]

  • Kosmo Vinyl (Clash PR manager): "We decided to start recording a single a month [...] Don Letts shot the video at the same time we recorded it, so we would have everything to go. We delivered it to CBS, but nothing happened, they wouldn't release it [...] Eventually they put it out, but only after we had sneaked it out as a b-side in Holland." [12]


  1. handwritten set list by Joe Strummer, Chris Salewicz: "Redemption Song - The Ballad Of Joe Strummer" (p.261)
  2. Chris Salewicz: "Redemption Song - The Ballad Of Joe Strummer" (p.271)
  3. [1] Acklam Hall (25 and 26/12/1979) and [2] Hammersmith Odeon (27/12/1979)
  4. Kris Needs: "Joe Strummer and The Legend Of The Clash" (p.169)
  5. unique to Black Market Clash compilation (Epic Records USA, 22/10/1980)
  6. b-side to "Bankrobber" 7" single
  7. unique to Super Black Market Clash compilation (Columbia Records, 26/10/1993)
  8. Granby Row, Manchester M1
  9. [3] Mick Jones on stage at Apollo Theatre, Manchester (3/2/1980)
  10. [4] "Best" magazine (France, 4/1980), the interview took place at the gig in Coventry (7/2/1980)
  11. [5] "Funtime" fanzine (Sweden, Nr.13 mid-1980), the interview took place at the gig in Gothenburg (23/5/1980)
  12. Clash On Broadway booklet (p.54)

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