Home > Covers, Pop, Rock > Crazy covers : Rachid Taha Rocks the casbah

Crazy covers : Rachid Taha Rocks the casbah

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Rachid Taha is a french algerian musician whose music is influenced by many different styles such as rock, techno and raï. He covered The Clash, on what might be one of my favorite cover ever : in Arabic, as “Rock El Casbah”. “Rock the Casbah” is a song by The Clash, released on their 1982 LP Combat Rock. One theory is that the song was inspired by the banning of rock music in Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini. The song gives an account of the ban being defied by the population, who proceed to “rock the casbah“. 

The song later became an unofficial anthem for U.S. forces during the first Gulf War largely on the basis of the line about dropping “bombs between the minarets”. It was the first song played by Armed Forces Radio at the start of the war. This is ironic given the band’s well established left-wing stance. In 2006, the conservative National review released their list of the top 50 “Conservative Rock Songs”, with “Rock the Casbah” at #20, noting its frequent requests during War in Iraq. Despite, or perhaps because of, its popularity with soldiers during the Gulf War, “Rock the Casbah” was one of the songs deemed inappropriate by Clear Channel following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Although it was previously covered by such luminaries as Smith & Mighty and Richard Cheese, this version of Rachid Taha has a tighter groove and much more upbeat tone. The Arabic bassline gives it a much warmer feeling and Taha’s voice is top notch. It’s even better than the original song in my opinion. That’s why it such as crazy cover!

Rachid Taha : Rock El Casbah [Barclay : 2004]

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